People say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. If this is true, then you want to make sure that your kitchen has a healthy heart! How do you make this happen?
You need to organize it.
Organizing your kitchen may seen like an overwhelming task, which is understandable. Making an organized kitchen out of a messy one is a work of art, so it makes sense that it makes us feel overwhelmed.
There are several variables to identify (size and uses being the most important) but over the years we went from having a very large eat-in kitchen to more of a galley style so storage became an issue. We also have our washer and dryer there so not only do I have to keep food and kitchen “stuff” in our kitchen but laundry things as well. This took some creative planning on my part, but now I can honestly say that our kitchen works and is in perfect health!
No matter how big your kitchen is, there are several steps to making it more functional. So, without further ado, here is how to go about a kitchen reorganization!
1. Make sure you have allotted enough time to complete the project.
Kitchens can take anywhere from 6-18 hours, depending on the size of your kitchen and how many gadgets you have. Most people can’t devote 18 hours in a row to their kitchen, so, if it’s large or overstuffed, carve out a weekend for this. Also, it’s great to have help. Coerce friends, relatives, kids, spouses or parents to help. (I would also consider offering large bribes at this point!)
2. I know this is painful, but EVERYTHING must come out of the cabinets, drawers, pantry, etc. if this is to work.
If you don’t have an adjoining dining room or large island to use for “staging” then do this by areas. First clean out your pantry and put it back together for example. But the point is that you don’t know what all you have unless it all comes out into the daylight!
3. The next step is to sort by categories.
All your small appliances go together, all your Tupperware, all your canned goods, all your pieces for entertaining, etc.
4. Once you have everything sorted, you need to purge.
Sometimes this is easy. That pancake mix from 2001 is a no-brainer. Same with the spices you received as a shower gift when Reagan was President! You should also be able to part with the extra pizza cutters, ice cream scoops, spatulas and the like.
I don’t know why this phase is so difficult for some people but often they have, say, six identical mixing bowls and don’t want to part with any of them.
“I might use them all at Thanksgiving,” they say.
Then I kindly ask them when they last hosted a Thanksgiving and find out it was in the 1990s!
Anyway, you see my point. Keep out and close the things you use, and the rest can go on shelving in the garage or a cupboard above the refrigerator or possibly can be donated.
5. Once you have kept handy just the kitchen essentials you need and use, it’s time to put them away.
For this step it’s helpful to thing about how a pre-school classroom is set up. When my kids were in pre-school there were stations and certain activities happened at certain stations. There was a painting station and a station with play dough and one for coloring. You get the idea. You want to set up your kitchen the same way. There’s an area (near the dishwasher or sink) for plates, cups, bowls and silverware. If you bake, you have a baking station with everything you need to whip up delicious treats. If you drink coffee, make a coffee station with everything close at hand. Keep pots and pans near the stove and whatever you don’t use very often (good china or platters) put up higher and out of the way. You should have a good sense of where everything lives at the end of this step.
6. Now comes the fun part. You make a list of things you need to finish the job properly.
Most people like to shop on the front end of an organization project but, the fact is, you won’t know what you need until you see what you have kept and where it will go.
Now is the time to buy a spice rack or drawer or whatever to make your spices work where you want them. Maybe you will need a small lazy Susan for baking goods or a larger one for vinegars. Pinterest has a million ideas of how to use your space well and if you have an area that just isn’t working properly, take a picture of it and go into The Container Store. I can almost guarantee they can help.
7. Do something awesome for yourself!
This was a big project and you deserve a treat…or a shopping spree …or both!