Thursday, January 5, 2012

Organize Your Kitchen - Organize Your Life!

When was the last time you organized your kitchen? Probably the last time you moved. If you’ve moved in the past five years, you might be in pretty good shape—unless you’re like most people and just throw everything into cabinets to get the boxes off the floor. Well, it’s a new year and a great time to improve the organization in your kitchen!

Go ahead. Throw open those cabinet doors—yes, all at once—and take a good look at all that…stuff. I’ve moved nine times in the last twenty-eight years, and each time I’ve resolved to winnow out and pare down my stuff. I’ve thrown out or donated quite a bit over the years, but my cabinets are still full of things like the egg poacher I haven’t used in decades and an extensive collection of cheap florist’s vases.

When do I think I’m going to use these things? I keep them only because I have space. I need to remind myself space is a luxury to be enjoyed and preserved. We must resist the compulsion to fill it.
Now, back to your cabinets. Examine every item in your kitchen with a critical eye. If you’ve never made a chocolate soufflĂ©, are you likely to start now? Discard anything you can’t recall the last time you used. Be brutal; you’ll be glad later.

Once you’ve parted with extraneous equipment and knick knacks, it’s time to organize. First, think about function. Most people store dishes in one cabinet and put glasses together on a shelf near the sink. That’s pretty basic. But have you ever considered a baking center? The mother of one of my daughter’s friends gave me this tip years ago. I store mixing bowls, measuring cups, pie plates, cake pans, and the electric mixer in an upper cabinet with the rolling pin, measuring spoons, cookie cutters, etc. in the drawer beneath. When I’m baking, everything I need is in one place next to the refrigerator—even the cupcake liners and colored sugar sprinkles. It’s surprisingly efficient. Think about the other functions in your kitchen and try grouping the equipment you need for each one.

There are wonderful, inventive organization products available commercially, but even if your budget won’t allow new purchases (or you’ve taken my advice and sworn off acquiring more stuff) thoughtful creativity can add many square feet of usable space to any sized kitchen.

Do you have any tried and true kitchen tips you’d like to share?



Jannine Gallant said...

This is great stuff, Alison! You're motivating me to take my kitchen to the next level. I have two utensil drawers, one for baking, one for cooking. Problem is, no one but me realizes this. When I say, "It's in the baking drawer." I get a blank stare. We've lived in the same house for 15 years! Thankfully for my organizational system, no one but me believes in emptying the dishwasher! LOL

Jerri Hines said...

I need you to come to my house and organize my kitchen. I can never find anything! Thanks for the tips!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Alison,
You sound so organized. You can come to my kitchen anytime and organize it for me. We have recently moved house, I got rid of a lot of stuff, but still have far too much.



Barbara Edwards said...

My biggest effort was installing a spice rack to hold those tiny jars. On the back of the door on the wall cabinet next to the stove, I can reach what I need in seconds.

Vonnie Davis said...

I organized my kitchen. Several times. But, you see, I have a husband who likes to help so I can keep writing. He unloads the dishwasher and puts things away in the strangest places. When I go to cook, it's like a scavenger hunt. I organize my kitchen AGAIN. The next time he goes to unload the dishwasher , my tummy gets a little spastic and I tell him I'll do it. His lower lip comes out as he laments he only wants to help. I hate to hurt his feelings, so I kiss him and sweetly offer thanks. I write until he goes into his den and then I go back into the kitchen and put things to rights. And dare I tell you he's taken to running the vacuum so I can keep writing? I send him to the store for something so I can quickly revaccuum the carpets. I hope he soon starts another writing project...his helping is wearing me out!!!

Laura Breck said...

Alison, great tips. Are those picutes of your cabinets? Holy cow, they're gorgeous!

I'm with Vonnie - it's the hubby who dis-organizes my kitchen. But I'm not going to turn down his offer to empty the DW!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Argh! You put my kitchen to shame. Great tips.