Thinking about organizing your kitchen? Here are a few tips to help you create a long-lasting system that will keep the clutter at bay.
Decluttering - where to start?
Decluttering a kitchen can be overwhelming because there's so much stuff, so I always recommend starting with one category at a time.
For example, pull out all of your cooking utensils (spatulas, tongs, wooden spoons, etc.), lay them on the counter, and group them by like-item. Toss any that are broken or worn, donate duplicates (i.e., keep two spatulas versus seven), and keep the utensils you love and use all the time.
Then, move on to the next category until you have sifted through all your kitchen supplies.
A good second category to tackle might be your Tupperware! Pull out all your Tupperware and match lids with bases. Get rid of any lid or base that doesn't have a matching friend, toss any Tupperware that's overly used (has burn marks and stains), and keep the ones that are in good shape and cover a selection of sizes.
You might find that now is a good time to replace your Tupperware if most of it is in rough shape. I recommend buying a matching set of Tupperware, such as a Pyrex glass set, because they will nest within each other nicely for easier storage.
As you go through this process, make piles around your kitchen (on the counters or floor - wherever you have space) for each category. Bag up donations and trash.
Planning your cabinet and drawer organization
Now that you have all your like-items categorized in piles make a list of all your categories (silverware, glassware, cups/plates, pots & pans, small appliances, Tupperware, etc.), and then use Post-it notes to determine which category will live in each cabinet and drawer.
Organizing a kitchen is all about the process of elimination, as there are only a few places where certain items can physically fit and/or make sense from a functionality standpoint to create ease when cooking and unloading the dishwasher.
I always start with the everyday, regularly used items such as silverware, plates/bowls, and cups and identify where they should go in relation to the dishwasher for easy unloading.
From there, I focus on what will live in drawers because there are only so many items in your kitchen that are small enough to fit in drawers.
Then, I focus on the big items, like pots and pans. Again, we want to do our best to keep like-items together, so figure out 1) which cabinet or drawer (if you have deep drawers) your pots & pans will fit in, and then 2) the best place to store them from a functionality standpoint (closest to the stove, etc.).
Work through each category with your Post-it notes until everything has been given a home. Move the Post-it notes around until it feels right, THEN start moving everything into its respective drawer/cabinet. It's much easier to move Post-it notes around versus all of your plates and bowls four times.
The fun part - kitchen product ideas!
The products I use most in kitchens are silverware organizers, drawer dividers (great for utensils and Tupperware), drawer organizers (great for junk drawers and small gadgets), cabinet shelves (great for maximizing cabinet space in smaller kitchens), cookware racks, and my favorite fun bonus item is a water bottle organizer!
When choosing colors, I typically go with white, clear, or a color that matches the inside of the kitchen drawers and cabinets for a cohesive look. For example, the inside of this drawer was grey, so I went with a grey silverware organizer.
Be sure to measure your drawer before you buy any product. You want to find products that fit the space edge to edge to maximize your space as best as possible. Expandable products are always a winner!
If you're not an experienced organizer, I highly recommend buying your products AFTER you do most of the steps above to avoid buying the wrong products. You can always place your categories in their respective home (cabinet/drawer) until your products arrive to avoid leaving yourself with a mess and having to return products that don't work.
Tips for making the organizing process easy
The biggest mistake people make is not planning enough time. Don't organize your kitchen when you only have an hour in between a busy day. This is a sure way to create a whole lot of stress and mess! Make sure you plan a day to do this when you have the whole day. Find a rainy Sunday when you have nothing else going on to focus on it. Call upon a friend or family member to help you. Turn on some fun tunes and take it ONE step at a time :)
Tips for keeping your kitchen clutter-free
Once your organizing system is in place, it will be SO much easier to avoid clutter because every item now has a home, but it does take work to keep it that way!
First and foremost, make sure your family members, roommates, nannies, housekeepers, and anyone else who contributes to your household are on board with the new system. Show them where things are and implement labels if needed for extra guidance.
Make sure to put items away when you use them, keep things out of the kitchen that don't belong, and tidy up your kitchen every night before you go to bed so you wake up to a clean space.
If you find that something in your system isn't working or your habits change over time, make an adjustment! This is totally normal and a must for system longevity.
Lastly, as you get new, fun kitchen gadgets and supplies, practice the "one in, one out" rule to keep your drawers and cabinets from bursting at the seams.
Don't want to tackle this alone? Reach out! We can do it together.