Organizing Your Kitchen

Is your kitchen where people congregate when they visit?  We’ve probably all seen our fair share of TV shows and movies where people gather at the kitchen table and talk – hence the idea of the kitchen being the heart of a home.  Then there’s the other side where the kitchen is only peripheral to socializing.  Whatever the case may be for you, having an organized kitchen only makes life easier – simplifying preparing food, storing food, and cleaning up.

The idea of organizing your kitchen might be daunting; there are so many different aspects of it.  If (or hopefully when) you decide to organize your kitchen, here are some steps you can take to make it easier.  As you begin to sort through your kitchen items, think about the kitchen work triangle.

The kitchen work triangle typically focuses on the cleaning/preparation area, the cooking area, and the refrigerator, as the cold storage area.  These are the areas where you spend most of your time and if you can simplify the process of moving between these areas – the easier your time in the kitchen will become.  This may not be the time to actually rearrange things, but a good time to think about if there are better ways of placing things.

First, break it into distinct steps – don’t pull everything out all at once.  Depending on the size of your kitchen and the items you have, decide on pots and pans only.  Pull all of those out and see what you have.  In our small kitchen, we could pull all the dishes out and not be overwhelmed, but this will depend on your specific situation.  The idea is to break the groups into manageable sections – you need to decide that for yourself – and try to err on the side of too little, so you won’t become overwhelmed with all that you’ve pulled out in one fell swoop.

Some idea of distinct groups

  • dishes
  • glasses and mugs
  • pots and pans
  • baking pans
  • plastic containers
  • silverware
  • utensils

We often use only 20% of what we own and this applies to our kitchen things too.  As you look at the duplicates or close to duplicates, consider whether one thing actually functions for other items.  If you have 5 frying pans – all different sizes – are there two or three that use almost exclusively?  How many do you need – what’s the largest party you’ve had?  Going from there, you can potentially eliminate the rest of the dishes.

As is usual for me – I am not telling you that if you don’t use something all the time that you need to get rid of it.  It’s completely appropriate to keep things you only use once a year – for me that would be the cookie cutters!  There’s only your conscience to guide you as you evaluate your things.  If you recognize what you use infrequently, you can then find a place to store it that won’t take up valuable space.

The second step will depend on the time you have and the size of your kitchen and number of things, which is then to put them back into the cupboards and drawers.  It can feel counterintuitive to put things back in if you’re going to be rearranging some of the groups.  This is when you need to be realistic (this can be challenging) and avoid rushing or doing too much at once.  Even if you’re just putting them back in temporarily, it’ll be easier when you are more prepared to rearrange.  As you decide where the things are going, you want their placement to be easy to access for pulling them out as well as putting them away.

Corner cabinet shelf

Baskets for under the shelf










Under the cabinet cup storage - sliding or not

This is also the time to consider whether some cabinet accessories might help your organization. Ideally, you want to keep things simple, so don’t stack plates and pans too high.  In our kitchen, these tools don’t work since the height and depth are minimal.  Some items to consider are: shelving (like the corner shelf), under the shelf baskets, or cup storage.  Deciding on accessories will come preferably after you’ve sorted and purged what you want.

In an average to small kitchen, pulling out a different group one at a time can still be accomplished in a four-hour time frame.  It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, yet it’s still important to work with each group independently.  I believe that there’s always room for improvement – my husband and I have been talking about going through our kitchen and look for ways to improve the organization and work triangle.

Posted in Organizing and tagged , , , , .