In the last few days, I’ve been reading a lot about organizing kitchens and how kitchen organization relates to saving money. The three common themes I found are listed below:
1. Create “centers” in your kitchen around common activities. Common activities include: food storage, cooking and serving, cleanup, planning/messages, and eating. The idea of centers is that you group all the items that will be used on a task close to each other. For instance silverware, plates, and glasses, are stored close to the dishwasher or drying area so you can just stand and put them away rather than carrying them across the room. Baking ingredients including flour, sugar, leavening, and baking tools are grouped together in another location for a baking center.
I thought I was doing pretty well creating “centers” but I made a couple of changes that I think will help my organization. I moved my rolls of foil, plastic wrap, and plastic bags directly across from the refrigerator so I can easily prepare foods for the refrigerator or freezer. I included marking pens to write what is in them plus the date (so as not to have more UFO-unidentified food objects).
I moved my colander and cutting boards under the sink. To make room for them, I moved the vases and plant care items that I won’t use until spring to a box in the garage.
2. Get rid of items you are not using. The old rule about getting rid of clothes you haven’t worn also applies to serving dishes, utensils, and small appliances: If you haven’t used it in a year you probably don’t need it. I was ashamed of my cooking utensil drawer so I decided to do what all the experts say: lay everything out, clean, remove duplicates, remove items you do not use, and remove items that belong somewhere else. I like the results of my work and I think I can keep it in order now that the drawer isn’t so full.
3. Store the items you use the most between your shoulders and knees and in the front where they will be visible. This way, it is easy to find what you are looking for and quick to put items away. I moved my flour and sugar canisters to the bottom cupboard instead of using prime space in my top cupboard because I don’t bake every day. In their place, I put the coffee filters, tea bags, and travel cups that I use often.
I am happy with the changes I made. I think it will make food preparation and clean up faster and less stressful. The key, of course, will be if I can follow through and put things back where they belong.
If you would like to read more on this subject, here are 2 great resources:
Essential Kitchen Tool kit This kit from the Canned Food Alliance has great tips on kitchen organization.
Dealing with Clutter in the Kitchen This page is part of a website that includes ideas for clutter reduction all over the house
Next week: How to organize your pantry and how to tell if food is still good.