Forget spring cleaning, I always get the itch to clean up and clear out in January. And my first place of attack is always the kitchen. If the kitchen is clean and organized, I feel like I can handle anything. If the kitchen is a mess, I feel out of sorts. Here are my best tips for a tidy kitchen and pantry. I hope you’ll share yours too.
Repeat in 3 or 4 months. It used to frustrate me when my January organization efforts seemed limp or dead by March or April, until I realized that organization is an ongoing process. I don’t organize once and then it’s done forever. I know that I’m going to have to “refresh” my organization again in a few months, and now I plan on it as part of the journey. The frustration is gone.
One drawer or cupboard at a time. I don’t know anybody who has the time to overhaul their entire kitchen all at once. I go after one drawer or cupboard at a time, sometimes using as little as 10 or 15 minutes. I empty it, wipe it down, examine the contents, discard anything I don’t need or use, and set everything back in an orderly manner. It’s amazing how good one completed drawer can make you feel, and you get an immediate sense of completion.
Keep necessities within reach. What is it they say about real estate? Location, location, location! I think about my drawers and cupboards as real estate, and only the most used, most important, most necessary items can afford to be within my busy reach. I should never have to grab a stool or walk across the kitchen to retrieve something I use on a daily or almost-daily basis.
Label spice tops. My spice rack is in a lower cupboard, so I have an aerial view of all the containers but not an easy view of their labels. My life changed when I took a few minutes to label the top of each container. I don’t have to guess which bottle is the nutmeg anymore! Yippee!
Rods for pan lids. I recently found these genius ideas for storing pan lids that I plan to implement right away. A simple towel rod on the back of a door, or a tension rod inside of a drawer keep lids stowed neatly!
Categorize food. I organize my pantry shelves as I would a grocery store, with food items grouped by category. And again, I pay attention to real estate. I make sure my most-used items are the most convenient to grab.
Use an over-the-door organizer. I maximize the space in my pantry by using a simple organizer, found at the hardware store, similar to this. It’s shocking how much it holds!
Display beautiful, beloved ingredients. I love the rich, earthy tones of my favorite baking ingredients, like brown sugar, oats, flour, and even chocolate chips. So why have them hiding in bags and containers in the cupboards? They look great in glass jars on the countertop, and they’re so easy to access when I’m ready to bake.
Those are some of my favorite tips for an organized kitchen. What are yours? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
And don’t forget—only a few more days to share your silliest skiing story and be entered to win gourmet prizes from Mrs. Fields! The stories have me in stitches! Contest ends Sunday, January 15.