The most important room in the house: how to organise the kitchen.
Of all the places to be organised, the kitchen is the most important. It’s like following a recipe; when you do it right, everything turns out awesome. What does an organised kitchen look like? No clutter, no mess, no extras. Here is all the information you need to make your kitchen look gourmet even if most of your meals are English muffin pizzas or takeaway.
Start by knowing what you have and deciding what you need. Many of us have accumulated kitchen items from our parents, friends and even our first apartments. We have duplicates and triplicates of everything. In a small kitchen, this is an absolute no-no.
Unless you can see everything, you won’t know what you have. So, start by emptying your cabinets and drawers and sort by the categories below, and soon you will have all your kitchen items ready for purging.
Here’s what to ditch first:
- Duplicates – keep only the one that you use.
- Anything chipped, yellowed, cracking or stained.
- Anything you never use (no, you probably won’t need it one day).
- Scratched Teflon (plus, it’s not safe to use).
- Anything with burn marks.
- Random items (those promo mugs, water bottles, etc.).
Now it’s time to find a home for everything following my rule of “like things go together” which has never been more important.
Here’s where your categories should live (you will have to be a little creative to make this work in your kitchen but I have faith in you!):
Mixing Bowls, Strainers, Prep Bowls
Keep these items together because you use them all the time. A cabinet in your prep area is best. Of course, when space is limited nest these items together, so everything fits. “Like things together” makes it easier to grab what you need fast.
This should be the largest drawer (in some flats, it may be the only drawer!), ideally located in your prep area. Try to sort utensils by what they do. Does it cut or slice, is it for measuring, is it part of meat prep, veggie prep, or for juicing? Get drawer organisers and keep your categories together.
If you have an extra shallow drawer in your prep area, this is a great place to keep spices, alphabetically of course. Otherwise, an area in a cabinet near the stove or oven is good.
COOKING, BAKING & APPLIANCES
When you have limited space, a counter crock or caddy can be a lifesaver. It should be dedicated to the utensils you use all the time; slotted and wooden spoons, favourite spatulas, tongs, etc.
Pots & Pans
Use cabinets (ideally those with pull out drawers) near the stove.
Top drawer – frying pans, griddles, anything with a long handle.
Bottom drawer – pots of all sizes, nested.
Lids are tricky but try the warming drawer under the oven – it’s the perfect lid home. ! You can also put a metal file organiser in a deep drawer. If you are short on cabinet and drawer space, a pot rack is also a great option. The Sassy Mama senior editor took a rib rack, flipped it upside down and put all her lids neatly stacked in it.
Baking Pans, Cookie Sheets, Pyrex
Unless you bake every day, put baking items together somewhere that is not prime location.
If your kitchen has a slotted cabinet, use it for cookie sheets, platters and cutting boards.
These are tricky because they can be bulky with tons of extra parts. Keep only the appliances you use all the time. A cabinet with a Lazy Susan or a deep, wide cabinet will work. Some kitchens have storage on the other side of an island (dream home!) or counter that make a perfect home. Use shoeboxes to keep smaller appliance and their attachments together. Ziploc bags work well too.
SERVING & KITCHEN LINENS
Silverware & Knives
If you have the luxury of owning a dishwasher, keep your silverware in a nearby drawer. Get a drawer organiser with at least five slots for dinner forks, salad forks, soup spoons, teaspoons and knives, preferable an expandable bamboo one. If you have an odd size drawer, they make assorted bamboo inserts that you can mix and match. Plastic is also a good option.
Everyday Plates & Bowls
If you have upper cabinets or shelves above your silverware, this is the ideal spot for your everyday plates.
Glasses, Coffee Cups, Water Bottles, etc.
First things first. Are you a coffee drinker? If yes, those mugs should be above or near the coffee maker or tea kettle along with all your coffee and tea supplies. Also, the coffee maker should be near your sink for easy access to water. In addition, I like everyday glasses near the sink and close to the fridge. Easy access is the name of the game. Ideally the coffee cups and the everyday glasses will be in the same upper cabinet.
Dish towels live in a drawer not far from your sink and dishwasher. Hot mitts and trivets should be somewhere close to the stove/oven. Everyday linens such as cloth napkins, table runners and tablecloths can live in drawers or cabinets that aren’t in prime kitchen locations. Most times, there is just no room and these items will have to live with your other household linens.
Serving Bowls, Trays, etc.
Keep one or two serving bowls in an easy access spot, but most serving items can go in high cabinets or in a buffet or built-in storage cabinets outside the kitchen.
Tupperware & Pyrex
Tupperware and Pyrex don’t have to be in a prime location but they do all need to have matching lids – especially Tupperware since plastic wrap won’t stick to it. Tupperware without a lid can easily double as a drawer organiser (or you can donate it).
Foils, Wraps & Bags
I like a dedicated drawer for foil, wraps and plastic zip-lock storage bags. The drawer is also where you can house your chip clips, twist ties, etc.
So that’s it. Easy peasy. Hopefully you will be able to take some or all of these ideas and put them to work in your kitchen. You’ll be gourmet in no time!