Holiday season is upon us and for many that means increased time in the kitchen. When things are organized, they just work better. Organization means functional, efficient use of space and things, with the added bonus of neatness. If your kitchen isn’t arranged just as you like it, and you are unsure of how to fix it, these tips will get your organized kitchen underway. Your newly organized kitchen will serve you well, so you can serve family and company throughout the holiday season and beyond.
1) To begin, put items nearest to where they are used, in zones. For instance, pots and pans are best stored near the stove. Plates go in cabinets nearest the dining table or eating area, cutting utensils are best stored near the cutting board/counter area, which should be near the sink.
2) Sort food items in areas according to similarity: spices in one cabinet or drawer, baking items together, canned goods on one shelf, pastas together, etc.
3) If you are short of space, nesting pots and pans (largest ones on bottom) lids separately, saves space. There are various types of lid holders available depending on the size and shape of space you have available.
4) Excess clutter causes difficulties locating things easily and affording room for the commonly used items. If you are short on kitchen space, seasonal items such as large serving platters and holiday dishes can be stored elsewhere in the house or garage while not in use.
5) It is common for many of my clients to own an abundance of glassware, taking up valuable cabinet space. A good rule of thumb is to keep only what you need between dishwashings. Donate the remainder or store the excess or specialty glasses, such as crystal in an area not in your prime everyday kitchen space.
6) How many cookbooks do you need? As with most organizing, you must choose between hanging onto things “just because,” or having more space. Keep only the most used cookbooks in the kitchen. Others can be stored with holiday items, on a bookshelf or given away. With the advent of the Internet, cookbooks could be obsolete. For a fresh repertoire of recipes, check out www.epicurious.com or www.recipes.com. You’ll find a huge variety of recipes, including reader comments. Resist the urge to cut out or print out recipes you may never make.
7) Many people complain about the lack of counter space in their kitchen. Keep only appliances on your counter that are used often. This also makes for simpler clean up.
8) Don’t neglect your drawer space. A wide selection of drawer organizers are available that improve accessibility to your often-needed cooking tools while also neatening the drawers. Resist the temptation to own more than one of every utensil, or conversely, to own every gadget ever invented. (Yes, some of my clients do that).
9) Maintaining an organized kitchen is as easy as going back through each shelf, cabinet and drawer periodically to make sure items are where they belong. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer weekly, on trash day. Get rid of what you aren’t using.
10) When you see an area getting crowded, tight or overflowing, use that as a visual cue that it is time to repeat tip number 9.
Why not let the upcoming holidays motivate you to get your kitchen more organized in the next few weeks? As with organizing any space, the time you spend organizing it, will save you time and stress in the future.
Interested in more tips? Check out www.ineedmoretime.com, www.flylady.com, and www.timesaversUSA.com. You can even sign up for our free monthly e-zine including tips on various organizing topics year round. In the meantime, Happy Organizing!
Diane Hatcher-CPO® owns Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She has been organizing paper and clutter in offices and homes since 1998. Diane can be reached at (954) 252-7511, or on the web at www.timesaversUSA.com.