Regardless of the size of your kitchen or number of cabinets, you may sometimes have difficulty finding what you need. Organize your kitchen – it’s not the daunting task you may have imagined – and meal preparation will be so much easier.
Here are 9 tips to help you organize your kitchen like a pro:
1. Get rid of old food in your pantry.
Start by removing everything from your pantry or food cabinets. Go through every product and check to make sure the expiration date hasn’t passed.
While you might be able to still use a container of frosting that expired recently, you definitely don’t want to use pancake mix that has been open since 2015. For your health and that of everyone in your family, if in doubt, throw it out.
If you find you have too many cans of pumpkin or too much of another item that you’ll never use by their expiration dates, take them to your local food bank, rather than throwing them out. They will be happy to accept donations at any time of the year. What you donate could be the difference between a family going hungry or feeling nourished when they go to bed tonight.
2. Organize the food.
Separate items according to kind.
Gather all your canned goods together: soups, vegetables, sauces, fruits and others.
If you place each type of canned goods together, such as all fruit cocktail in one spot, you’ll be able to see at a glance whether you need to add an item to your grocery list.
Do the same thing with boxed or bagged foods like cereal, crackers, and dessert mixes.
3. Consolidate the items in your pantry.
If you have more than one box of mashed potatoes open, they may have the same directions. If so, you can mix them together in one box. This will help you maximize the space you have in your pantry.
4. Consolidate the food in your refrigerator/freezer.
Follow the same process as above for the refrigerator and freezer and do the following:
* Get rid of expired items.
* Toss anything that may not be good any longer.
* Store like items together.
5. Go through your dishes.
Do you have too many glasses, bowls, or plates? If you do, not only are they taking up cabinet space, but it also means more dishes to wash.
Pack away old dishes or serving items that you can’t bear to part with, like your grandmother’s old dishes, and any dishes that you don’t use regularly. Store them in an out of the way cabinet, you can always pull them back out if you end up hosting a dinner party and need them.
6. Match plastic containers with their lids.
If you can’t find the lid that goes with a particular bowl, remove it from your cabinet but don’t throw it out. You can still get use out of bowls without lids. Use them for mixing craft paints or for storing things that don’t need a lid.
7. Review your kitchen work flow.
Do you need to reorganize any of your kitchen space to make cooking easier? Dedicate an area of the kitchen for your essential cooking and baking tools. Keep spices near the stove within easy reach and your small baking utensils or trays in the same cabinet.
8. Store cookbooks in one place for easy access.
You may want to keep these cookbooks close to the baking center in your kitchen. Go through them and get rid of any that you don’t use. If they have sentimental value, store them in a bookcase outside the kitchen.
9. Look at your table and chairs with fresh eyes.
Are they adequate for your current needs? If you have a small kitchen consider replacing the chairs on one side with a bench that can be pushed under the table when you’re not using it. This will open up some floor space as well as provide more seating when you have extra people at your table.
If you think about how you use your kitchen and the atmosphere you’d like to convey, you can organize it so that you enjoy the time you spend there. It may take some effort, but when you have an organized kitchen ready for use, you’ll be so glad you made it work for you.