Organizing the Kitchen

When smaller kitchens lack a pantry, it can be a pain trying to fit cooking utensils and food into the limited amount of cupboard space available. Organizing a small space like this is crucial to getting the most out of it.

To start the process, clear everything out of the cupboards. Any pot, pan, baking dish or container that hasn’t been used in the last month or longer should be put on a top shelf or somewhere not as easily accessible. Because they don’t get used as often, having them readily available is unnecessary.

Spices can sit unused and forgotten in the cupboard for years. If the last recipe that called for a certain spice was used more than a couple years ago, it’s probably safe to throw it out. Unused spices can make it a huge mess trying to dig through the cupboard and find the right one. Spice racks can help open up cupboard space as well if there is counter space to spare.

Consolidate grains, flours and sugars if there happen to be multiple bags of each sitting around. Some of these could be put into plastic or decorative containers. This makes them easier to stack in the cupboard or display as a decoration on the counter.

Coffee cups seem to accumulate and multiply more than any other dish. If they’ve taken over more than one shelf, it might be time to cut down on the collection. Hang some of the most-used favorites on hooks as a decorative element and also an easy access point.

Plastic to-go containers are often thrown into a cupboard without care. This can make it difficult to find the right lids when you need them. Match up the containers with their lids. If a lid or container is missing from a set, get rid of it.   Then stack them by size before putting them back into the cupboard.

Decide where to put everything in relation to how it will get used. Separate items into different zones of the kitchen. In the food preparation zone, put knives, cutting boards, mixers, blenders, etc. This should be next to an open counter space, where all of the mixing and chopping will occur. Keep pots and pans in the cooking zone, next to the oven. In the dish/dishwashing zone, everyday dishes and utensils should be stored. Everything used for eating meals on a regular basis like napkins, salt and pepper shakers, serving bowls should be stored in the eating zone closest to the kitchen table.

The main idea of organizing kitchen cabinets is to bring what is most used to the forefront for accessibility. Reorganizing the whole kitchen can seem like a daunting task, but taking it step by step and having a plan of attack can help.

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