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In the past few weeks several people have asked me for organizational advice. My super-organized mother instilled it in my upbringing, making it almost second nature to me. But one of my friends complained that she hadn’t been trained as I had, and needed to know how I did it, step by step. Over the next few weeks (or possibly longer), I will lay out how I organize various areas in my house to be effective and efficient.
This week I’m tackling the kitchen (non-food items), because this tends to be an area that is disorganized and inconvenient.
Step 1: Know What You Have
You will need an empty space to do this. Clear off your kitchen table and all counter space you can. Wipe it down and make it clean. Next, empty all your cupboards and drawers of non-food items.
Step 2: Purge
As you are pulling things out, purge. Get rid of what you don’t use. Don’t keep something because you might use it someday. If you haven’t used it in a year, out it goes. Get rid of duplicates.
When I did this exercise, I found three egg separators my mother had given me. Yes, THREE. This from the woman who taught me to separate eggs with a shell and my fingers. Another big clutter area will contain your plastic containers. How do those lids reproduce?
Step 3: Sort It All Out
Sort the items together so you can see what you have. You are going to go for groupings of items according to use. Silverware should be separate from cooking tools. Serving utensils and dishes should be in a different area from your plates and bowls. Little used glasses or specialty glasses should be kept apart from your everyday drinking glasses.
Step 4: Clean Your Spaces
Take a warm soapy cloth and start wiping out the shelves and drawers. Use a vacuum cleaner if you have to to get rid of crumbs in corners.
Step 5: Plan Your Space
It is best to put things back in logical groupings based on where you use them. Cooking utensils, pots and pans should be kept near the stove. Pads for handling hot pots and trivets should likewise be by the stove.
Everyday utensils should be stored near where you use them and wash them. My glasses are stored right above the dishwasher, and the silverware in the drawer on the other side of the sink. This is away from the dining area, but takes into account the usage for stirring and food preparation.
Little-used items should be stored out of the way.
Try and plan out areas of usage where things are not obvious. For example, if you bake frequently, store your measuring cups and mixer accessories together.
Step 6: Put It Back
Once you know the general grouping, put things away. You can make things easier by investing in some inexpensive turntables to hold mugs and glasses, and plate racks to expand your cupboard spaces.
By following these steps, you should have an organized kitchen. The best part: once organized, you can keep it that way with very little effort. Put things away when you are done and regularly purge.
Photo by Average Jane