How Do You Organize the Kitchen?

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organize the kitchen

When it comes to organizing the house, one of the toughest challenges is when we have to organize the kitchen, I think. There is just so much that goes in this room that it can be overwhelming, especially if you have a bunch of stuff in there you hardly, if ever, touch. There are the items you received when you got married or moved into your very first place. There’s the stuff you’ve gotten as gifts through the years, hand-me-downs that friends and relatives just KNEW you could use, even though they never touched it, things you use only once or twice a year, not to mention all the gadgets and dishes and such that you bought without thinking it through. Given all the various ways you’ve acquired things over the years, no wonder your cupboards and drawers are stuffed to the gills!

Organizing the Kitchen the Easy Way

I have any easy solution for you; toss everything out! Of course I’m kidding (sort of), but you know some of it has got to go if you’re ever going to organize the kitchen. The rest has to be arranged, or re-arranged as the case may be, and put back. I’ve planned out my kitchen in a few different ways over the years, but the one that I like best is structuring everything into zones. I’ll explain that in Part 2, but the first step to organizing the kitchen is weeding through the crap and narrowing your stuff down to the gems. By gems, I mean the things you actually love & use. And by use, I mean items you’ve utilized within the last 6 months.

There are certain steps you should follow when organizing a room and the kitchen is no exception. Ordinarily, I would say to make up four bins; one for stuff you’re keeping, one for stuff that goes someplace else, one for things you will donate/give away and one for trash, but the kitchen is a little different. Because this room is usually so big, and so stuffed, there’s not usually time to get it all done in one go. Therefore, you will not need a bin for stuff you are keeping; we’ll just use the counter instead. If your counters are chocked full, either temporarily relocate some items or set up a card table or something so you have room to work. Then begin:

First Steps to Organize the Kitchen

1. Starting on one side of the room or the other, working clockwise around the room, attack each cupboard, drawer and shelf one at a time, saving the countertops for last. Take each item out (or off) and set it on the counter.

2. Next, wipe down the area you just emptied so it’s ready to have things put back.

3. Quickly scan the items on the counter. I think you’ll be able to tell right away if it goes in one of your bins. If it’s trash, toss it. If it belongs in a different room, put it in your bin to put away after. If you’re sure you’re not going to use something that’s in good condition still, put it in your donation/giveaway box. For all the other items, continue on.

4. Pick up each item that’s left and ask yourself, “Do I use this?” “Do I love this?” “Have I used this within the last 6 months?” If the answer to each of those questions is yes, this item is a keeper for the kitchen. If the answer to the first two questions is yes, but the answer to the last one no, you have some more questions to ponder. How often do you really use this item? Could this item be stored someplace else? Could you get rid of it and borrow it from somewhere else the one or two times you may need it? The goal is to keep only in the kitchen, those items you use all the time, so if the item doesn’t get a “yes” answer to each of the 1st three questions, out it goes one way or the other.

5. Once you have all your keepers, put the items back where they were and move on to the next cupboard, shelf or drawer, repeating steps 1 through 5, until you are finished.

As you may have guessed, the above steps are only Part 1 of organizing the kitchen. This is such a big undertaking, and since most of us don’t have time to tackle it all in one day, you can take each cupboard, drawer and shelf one at a time, as you have the time. Sometimes it might just happen that you have an unorganized mess in the kitchen due to lack of space to store them in. As you go along, you may feel the need for extra pantry space/cupboards to be installed, so that could also come in the list of organizing. The best part is, you can get custom sized cupboards and kitchen doors made to measure, so you use up the exact amount of space you require. Keep your bins handy and do as much as you can at each session, but make sure to only do one drawer or cupboard at a time. The last thing you want to do is empty a bunch of cupboards and run out of time, having to leave a bunch of stuff lying around. Talk about a mess!

Hopefully by the next post on how to organize the kitchen, you’ll be done with Part 1 and ready to proceed with Part 2; how to organize the kitchen into zones. After completing this first part, you’ll be starting to love your re-vamped kitchen and be super excited to put it all together. I hope!

Until next time, Organize Happy ~ Michele

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