It’s a space most of us use every single day, but few of us take time out to make our kitchens the efficient, organized spaces they could be. By taking a few simple steps, we can create efficient areas for storage, food prep, and we can even save money in the process!
Edit it all. Kitchens have a tendency to become storage areas for the unused and the unwanted, which can end up taking up valuable storage and food prep space. Sometimes, it’s easier to simply push the things we don’t use to the back of the shelf, rather than decide that we don’t need them at all and then get rid of them. Because of this, it’s a smart idea to take a detailed pass through every cupboard, cabinet and shelf in your kitchen and make sure that you’re keeping only the things you need, use and eat. A few helpful questions to ask when editing through the items in your kitchen:
Have I used this tool/gizmo in the past 6 months to a year?
Is this food expired?
Did I (or someone else in my home) like this food the last time we ate it?
Does this food align with my current eating goals (lower cholesterol foods, healthy eating, etc.)?
Kitchen gizmos in particular have a tendency to accumulate, so take a realistic look at these items and make sure you have used them recently – or have even opened them in the first place!
Keep it close. Once you’ve edited through the food and food prep tools you’re currently storing in your kitchen, then it’s time to reorganize things a bit to make them easier to use. At this point, you’ll want to take everything out of your cabinets and start moving them to storage spaces that make more sense for how you’ll actually be using your stuff. One of the basic tenets of organizing is to keep things close to where you’ll be using them. In this case, you’ll want to keep the food prep items and food that you use all the time in areas that are nearby where you’re likely to use them – for instance, your frequently used pots, pans, and utensils should be close to the stove and oven, and the ones you use less frequently should be stored a little further away.
Eat it up. When I’ve helped clients organize their kitchens in the past, we are often surprised at how much unused and uneaten food is filling up their storage. When we buy food at the store and then put it away after we get home, it’s so easy to forget that we have it – the old “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome. Especially when we are in a hurry, it’s hard to remember that polenta that in the cupboard or the ground turkey in the back of the freezer – all of which we intended to eat, but simply just forgot about. Before you go shopping next time, take a pass through what you already have on the shelf – you may already have what you need, or you may just need to “fill in the blanks” with produce or other fresh items. You can also try rotating the food that’s in the back of your shelves and bring those items to the front of the shelves, making it easier to see what you have. Studies have shown that if we actually ate all the food that’s in our storage, the average home could save hundreds of dollars a month over going out to buy new food at the store. What a bonus for getting organized!