Sort Through Everything First
Whether you’re getting ready to move or need to make more space in your kitchen, it’s the perfect time to take stock of what you already have. Random gadgets you never use may have piled up over time, so consider getting rid of what you don’t need or use consistently. Apply the same approach for every category of item in your kitchen, from chipped bowls dating back to your college years to those expired cans of soup.
@iheartbins / via InstagramOrganize Your Pantry Items
Spices are often the culprit when it comes to chaotic cabinets and cooking challenges. How many times have you searched unsuccessfully for an essential spice while in the middle of trying a new recipe? Or wasted money buying more curry, only to find later that you really had two jars hidden behind the celery salt? One solution is to create a system by transferring your spices into a matching set of jars that will fit neatly into a spice organizer. Plus, you can control the labeling so they’re easy to identify. Another option is to clean out your junk drawer and store your spices there with an organizer designed for drawers like this one at Home Depot.
Take the same approach with your dry goods by putting cereal, grains, and baking essentials in matching sets of containers. Hard plastic or glass containers are ideal, since they’ll prevent weevils, ants, and other insects from getting into your food. If you see any webs or insect debris inside your cabinets while you’re cleaning stuff out, make sure to wipe them down with water and vinegar to get rid of potential infestations.
Consider Your Countertop Essentials
It’s tempting to have a million things out on your countertop so you can grab what you need at any moment. But countertop space is a valuable commodity that needs to be preserved to have a stress-free kitchen that functions well, especially if you’re working with a small space. Countertop items should be limited to things you use every day, like your coffee maker, blender, or toaster. Instead of a standard knife block, save counter space with a different option, like wall-mounted magnets or a wood drawer organizer.
Rearrange Based on Function
Organizing your kitchen often takes a bit of trial and error. Maybe after a year of living in your home you’ve realized it makes more sense for your utensil drawer to be closer to the serving ware than the dishwasher. Most of these decisions depend on the layout of your space and how you use it every day. If you entertain a lot of people regularly, your kitchen may be organized differently than a kitchen where you just cook the basics.
Add a Few Storage Hacks
There’s nothing worse than rummaging through a messy cabinet to find the right size lid for your pot of boiling soup. The good news is there are plenty of handy storage tools you can add to your existing cabinetry for an easy fix. Use a lid rack or inexpensive dish rack inside your cabinet to organize all the lids for your pots and pans; these racks store the lids vertically, saving lots of space. If you have a big cabinet without a shelf, consider installing an internal set of drawers so you can easily slide them out and find what you need. Instead of your wine bottles taking up counter space, install elegant display shelves made for holding bottles horizontally — it’s better for long-term storage and doubles as stylish wall decor.
Maximize Your Upper Shelf Storage
Don’t forget about all the wasted space above your cabinets or fridge, or at the very top shelf of your cabinets if they go to the ceiling. Invest in a solid step stool, then evaluate which items you only need for special occasions or rare situations. That heirloom gravy pitcher and carving knife for Thanksgiving? Store it up high so it doesn’t clutter your everyday essentials. Make sure the space above your cabinets still looks orderly with woven baskets or boxes to hold your less-used kitchen items. Opt for something with a lid so you don’t have to deal with dust.
The kitchen is a space that can easily devolve into chaos without the right storage in place. No matter how much cabinetry you’re working with, the best kitchen storage hacks and techniques will help your space work well for you. Evaluate what you truly need in your kitchen and how you use the space. Then you’ll be on your way to setting up a kitchen where you can focus on creating instead of finding.
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