18 Mar 2013 Organizing your kitchen
by Ashley Carson
If your family is anything like mine, the kitchen is the hub of the house. Everyone always seems to gather in the kitchen and you spend a large portion of your day either planning or preparing meals there.
So how functional is your kitchen? Are you getting the most out of your space?
The size of your kitchen is not an excuse for being unorganized (whether big or small). Even a small cabinet can seem spacious when it’s neatly organized!
Cabinets and countertops
Begin by taking everything out of your cabinets and organize items into groups based on likeness and how often they are used. I know it’s scary, but you have to make a mess before you can make it better! This is also a great time to take note of multiples and get rid of items that you never use.
Once you have purged and sorted, it’s time to make the most of your cabinet space. Think logically as you put things back into your cabinet. Keep prep and cooking tools close to your stove and workspace. Your spatulas and mixing spoons will practically fly into your hand if they are in a cute container by the stove.
Items used for eating and drinking should be kept closer to the fridge, sink and dishwasher for convenience. Heavier and more frequently used items should be stored on mid-level shelves for easy access, while “special occasion” or breakable dishes should be kept on higher shelves or at the back of cabinets.
Inside your cabinets you can almost double your space by using freestanding shelving units (sold at most department and home stores). These units help to keep your stacks of plates or bowls from getting too tall and unmanageable.
Pots and pans always seem to be a source of chaos in a kitchen. If you have a deep drawer available, that is always better than a shelf. But whether in a drawer or on a shelf, stack your pots and pans in like groups with their lids close by.
Lastly, display your frequently used appliances on the counter. I always encourage a clutter-free counter so that you can take full advantage of your workspace. However, if you find yourself using the toaster three times a day, go ahead and leave it out. Your countertop appliances are a fun area to splurge on. If your toaster is out all the time, it can be cute as well as functional!
Even if you don’t have an entire area devoted for food storage, you can still apply a lot of these tips when storing your food. Cans should be kept on a lower shelf with the names facing out and grouped together by type. This also makes it easy when making your grocery list to know what you are almost out of or have way too much of.
Heavy items, like canisters of flour, should be kept at waist height, for ease. Lightweight items, such as cereal and chips, should be stored on higher shelves. Any leftover space in your pantry should be used to store rarely used dishes and appliances.
The pantry is another good place to store your brooms, mops and aprons, but if at all possible, keep them off the floor. Install hooks on the wall to keep items from falling over every time you open the door. If everything has a place, it will be easier to find things as well as maintain that order. Another key item to have in your pantry is a collapsible step stool for easy access to those higher shelves.
Just implementing a few of these suggestions can make your k
itchen more user-friendly. Start with one area at a time, and slowly the storage in your kitchen will seem to increase. With a place for everything and everything in its place, you’ll find it easier to prepare meals, and you’ll spend less time cleaning up!
A University of Central Arkansas graduate, Ashley Carson is a Conway native and owner of Anything & Everything Design.