So maybe your kitchen doesn’t look quite like that one. And that’s okay. Regardless of how ‘chic’ your kitchen is or is not, you can still organize it and make it more functional which will make it so much easier to love.
I’ve compiled a very generalized list of 10 things that you can do to regain control of your kitchen and start making it work for you.
1. Clear Your Counters
Don’t panic. This does not mean that nothing can be on your kitchen counters. Even as a practicing minimalist, I still have a select few items on my kitchen counters. The key, though, is figuring out which items are necessary and which items are just clutter. For me, things like a toaster and coffee maker are essentials. They stay out on my counters all day every day because we use them so frequently. If you don’t use them frequently, though, they do not need to live on the counter top. There is so much power in having clear counter space in your kitchen. If you don’t believe me, just try it. Clear anything that is not used on a daily basis from your counter tops and I guarantee that you will feel so amazing and accomplished. This seems so simple, but it was single handedly the most powerful thing that I ever did while organizing my home. It gives you a good starting point from which to expand your organizing and clear all of that clutter.
2. Clear Your Dining Table
Playing off of the clear counters = clear mind principle, the same can be said for your dining table. If you have one, clear it off. A centerpiece and placemats are about all that you should need on a dining table when it is not in use. For a great number of people, the dining table serves as a dining area, an office, and often times a place to store crap. Mounds of mail and paper junk can pile up on the dining table which can make it virtually impossible to eat at. Clear it off and go through whatever might be piled up on it. This will serve much the same purpose as clearing the counter tops and really help you see your space through a different light.
3. Reduce Your Number of Appliances
Chances are you have an abundance of small kitchen appliances lying around that you never really use. Go through them and think very critically as you do. Are there some that are so disgusting that you will never use them but you’re holding on to them because you don’t want to have wasted the money that you spent on them? Chunk them. Although you or a loved one might have spent money on them, they’re not adding value to you anymore. 6 months should really be the cutoff. If you haven’t used them in that amount of time, you probably aren’t going to. This may seem hard at first, but once you do it you will feel so free! When I began to get organized, I threw out or donated 7 small kitchen appliances from a waffle maker that I had NEVER used in the 5+ years that I had it, to a cake ball maker which was a thoughtful gift, but I don’t even like cake (I know I’m weird). You might be like me and be amazed at the number of unused appliances that you’re holding on to. Donating the ones that work is a great way to get over the guilt of getting rid of them because you will know that someone else, who might not have had the opportunity to buy them at retail prices, will get to enjoy them.
4. Reduce Your Cookware
This may seem like an impossible task. It’s not. You do not need the 4 sets of mix-matched cookware that you’ve had for the past 20 years. Get rid of it and get yourself a nice, new matching set. There is no need for multiple sets of cookware because realistically you will never use more than one set at a time. You may have to wash your dishes a little more frequently, but hey…if they’re all clean and put away they aren’t cluttering up your kitchen sink! Again, I know the struggle. I had 2 sets for no reason at all. Getting rid of one and keeping the nicer, newer one felt so right! And as a side note, storing them in my Lazy Susan was one of the best ideas ever! Even if you don’t have one of those, you can still free up a TON of cabinet space by downsizing your pot and pan collection.
5. Reduce Your Utensil Collection
Does your utensil drawer/holder look like that one?
If you answered yes, you have WAYYYY too many utensils. On average you will not cook more than 4 dishes at any given time. So reduce your utensils to a couple of spoons (think ladle, mixing spoon, and possible a slotted spoon) and a couple of spatulas. Then keep your things like the can opener, garlic press, whisk, and pizza cutter. If you limit what you have to just these few items, the drawer won’t ever have an opportunity to look like that one. A drawer organizer also wouldn’t be a bad idea. There are heaps of them for sale on Amazon (like this expandable one which I really like for cooking utensils or this matching one for flatware and cutlery). There are also tons of DIYs out there on how to make your own if you’re a little strapped for cash (I like this one from pinterest).
6. Reduce Those Dishes
This one is really two fold. Primarily, it will help you not have as much stuff which will, in turn, make it easier to be organized. The bonus to this one, though, is the fact that if you lower the number of dishes that you have on hand, you lower the number of dishes that you have to wash which is something that we can all love! A good rule is to have 2 of each dish for every one person living in the house. So, if you have a family of 4, you should have 8 plates, 8 cups, 8 bowls, etc. Now if that number scares you because you entertain all of the time or you live alone and you might want to be able to feed more then you and one other person, the number can be adjusted. Just try to limit the number that you have so that they are more easily stored and don’t take up as much space. Another pro-tip here is that a matching set looks aesthetically pleasing when you open the cabinet so maybe give that a try.
7. Clean Out Your Pantry
This may seem like a no brainer but you might just be surprised at what you find in your pantry. Expired food is the most common thing that I see when organizing a pantry. Go through what you have and if it is expired or it isn’t in an active food rotation (think what I’m going to cook this month and staple items) then it’s probably safe to let go of it. You can reorganize your pantry using all of those fancy canisters and bins that you see all over Pinterest or, if you’re trying to save every dollar that you can like me, try your local $1.00 Store to see if there are some bins that you can pick up for fairly cheap that will serve the same purpose. I did splurge on these canisters from Target, though and they were worth every penny.
8. Leave Shelves Open
There is nothing more satisfying than opening up a cabinet or pantry and having open and empty shelf space. I don’t know what it is about it that makes it so amazing, but trust me it is. The same is true for closets and dresser drawers, too, btw. When you clean out your pantry and your cupboards, think about leaving a shelf open or at least having room for your items to breathe. Leave space in between things so that it feels less cluttered when you look at it. This will cause your mind to feel more at ease when you go to grab that plate or that jar of nutmeg.
9. Clean Out Your Fridge
This is another one of those things that often gets overlooked when we are trying to organize our kitchens. The doors are closed after all, and we feel like we have a good grasp on what’s in our refrigerator anyway so it doesn’t seem like a space that we should “organize”. Nothing could be farther from the truth, though. We organize to add simplicity to our lives and to make the things that we have to routinely do more easy and more pleasant. How many times in a day do you go to your refrigerator? For a foodie like me it’s somewhere near 1,000. If we organize our fridge, it’s a lot easier to grab exactly what we need and it can make your mom happy — you won’t be standing there letting the ‘boxed air’ out while you look for this or that. Keep the fridge in mind when you’re organizing your kitchen and start by removing everything and checking dates. Dispose of what is expired or what you will never use. Clean the fridge and place things back in a way that makes sense for how frequently you use them. Those Dollar Store bins are also great in here because you can put ‘loose’ items in them and just pull them out like additional drawers when you need to grab something. I also keep my meats in one so that if there is a spill, it doesn’t ruin the whole interior of the refrigerator. Just that bin.
10. Clean Your Microwave
Okay so this one has NOTHING to do with organizing, but it does have a lot to do with regaining control of your kitchen and it is a pet peeve of mine. I implore you…clean out that microwave! If this isn’t part of your regular chores routine, it should be. Pinterest is full of wonderful tips and tricks to make cleaning the microwave a pleasure and not a chore. I like this method but do whatever works best for you. Just make sure you do something to get that nasty beast in line.
I hope that these tips will help you reclaim your kitchen and help you make it start working for you! If you found any of these useful, share this post!