Learn the five common features of a functional, organized kitchen and make your current kitchen less cluttered without remodeling.
When was the last time you walked into your kitchen and didn’t feel a bit of anxiety? You felt confident that opening a cabinet wouldn’t result in an avalanche of pots, pans, bowls, and baking sheets.
You knew exactly where everything was and could grab that item in seconds. Has it been a while? Have you ever even felt this way before? Chill out, my friend, there is actually a way you can love your kitchen again, and it doesn’t even involve moving or remodeling. You just need to do a little tweaking.
What Makes A Kitchen Well-Organized?
In order to make your own kitchen organized, you’ve got to have a general idea of how to do it first. There is no specific one-off way to set up a kitchen, because every family has different needs. But the following five characteristics of an orderly kitchen will give you a great jumping off point to get started.
It Has Defined Zones
By creating zones, you make meal prep super easy. It’s actually a really simple concept. You just have to put things near where you will use them.
Set up a baking zone near the oven and keep pots, pans, baking sheets, mixing bowls, cooking oils, dried spices, and cooking utensils there. Build a zone for dinner prep nearest your dining area with plates, flatware, and table linens.
Near your refrigerator, set up a drink station with all your glasses, straws, lids, coffee/tea supplies, and mugs.
You can even make a kid zone in a low cabinet with child-approved cups, plates, bowls, utensils, water bottles, and even some healthy snacks. Your kiddo will feel super empowered to be able to prepare his own snack and get out his own dishes for dinner.
It Uses Multipurpose Tools
Instead of having a sandwich maker, a panini press, a George Foreman grill, a stovetop grill, a waffle maker, an electric skillet, three slow cookers, a hand mixer, a large standing mixer, an immersion blender, a regular blender, a food processor, a handheld food chopper, and a thirty other random kitchen gadgets, why not take it back to the basics?
Remember the days when you were just starting out as an adult and you barely had anything at all in your kitchen?
All you had was a few pots, a couple of skillets, a couple of baking pans, a knife set, and some measuring utensils. And you know what? You got by. You didn’t chop tomatoes with a fancy tomato slicer, you chopped them with a knife, he same knife you chopped pecans with.
You didn’t use a food processor to do that. You used the same skillet to make grilled cheese sandwiches, sauteed veggies, seared steaks, and pancakes.
See what I’m getting at? All that junk in your kitchen is just that. Junk. If you removed all the specialty tools and appliances and went back to the time-trusted basic utensils, you’d have so much more space in your cabinets.
There Are No Duplicates
How many spatulas does one family need? And how many plastic tumblers? And my goodness, how many Tupperware containers with missing lids are you going to hang onto? There’s seriously no reason for the crazy amount of duplicate items we have in our kitchens.
One of the easiest things you can do, today, is get rid of the duplicates. Think hard about how many ice cream scoopers you need to keep on hand (spoiler alert, the answer is one) and choose your favorite. Then put the rest in a box to take to a donation center.
Read More: Why You Can’t Seem To Keep Your Home Organized
The Pantry Holds Simple Ingredients
There are a lot of really awesome recipes online. Enough recipes to keep your appetite satisfied for the rest of your life. But when it comes to your pantry, this isn’t the place to stock it full of random trendy items.
Instead of grabbing a ton of things at the grocery store that can only be used for one meal, opt to stock your pantry with simple ingredients your family loves and eats often.
For me, I always keep rice, beans, chickpea pasta, and veggie stock on hand and readily available. These can be added in to many of the meals I cook and they’re great sides for the recipes I get creative with from Pinterest.
By only keeping your pantry staples on hand, and only buying specialty ingredients for meals you plan to cook within the very near future, you’ll keep your pantry from getting clogged up with a bunch of stuff that ends up getting lost and goes out of date.
Update: We converted an old laundry closet into a new pantry. Tour it in this post.
There Is NO Junk Drawer
When you think of an unorganized kitchen, the first thing you think of is a junk drawer, right? Where did this even come from? Who started the whole ‘junk drawer’ thing? And why did they choose the kitchen, where we cook food, to store a bunch of crap in a drawer that has nothing to do with food?!
Look, the junk drawer fad has gone on way too long. I haven’t had a junk drawer for three years. And you know what? There is never a day when I walk into my kitchen and think “man, I sure do miss that drawer of random junk.”
If you’ve got one, go clean it out right now. Throw away those ketchup packets from McDonalds. You’re never going to use them.
Trash the wrapped up silverware packets and leftover chopsticks from the Chinese restaurant. You’re never going to use those either.
Put the batteries in a hanging door organizer in a closet or laundry room, along with any other homeless small items.
Read More: Why You Don’t Need A Junk Drawer
Ready To Start A Kitchen Revolution?
It’s time to go on a purging spree. Seriously, every day you procrastinate is another day a pan falls out of the cabinet and onto your foot. And it’s also another time you shout out the f-bomb and your three year old repeats it like a parrot.
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