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How to Be Organized in the Kitchen

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How to Be Organized in the Kitchen: 15 Tips
Keri Russell's kitchen in Elle Decor Magazine

Keri Russell's kitchen in Elle Decor Magazine

Photo / Elle Decor

You have got to admit that even the most organized among (Brie Van de Camp, Martha Stewart) us could always use a tune up when it comes to kitchen organization. There's always a shelf or drawer to be decluttered or a meal planning technique that is lagging. In this guide, we'll go over some basic and not-so-basic ways to be be more organized in this often chaotic space.

How to Be Organized in the Kitchen

1. Organize your kitchen in zones.

Keeping in mind how you use your kitchen. If that means you do your chopping on the kitchen island instead of the kitchen counter, store your cutting boards and knives closer to the island.

2. Pare down appliances.

Because you really don't need a panini press and a grilled cheese maker. Choose one and use it for both jobs. Here's more on paring down kitchen appliances.

3. Declutter regularly.

In fact, make decluttering your kitchen a part of your weekly organizing routine.

4. Store rarely used appliance outside of the kitchen.

Set up an easy-to-reach area like a designated shelf in the basement or the attic. Things like popcorn and ice cream makers are large and clunky. They don't need to be crowding out the appliances you use more often. Think about organizing project bins so when it's time to, for instance, bake Christmas cookies, all of your supplies are in the same spot.

5. Move your most-used appliances.

The coffee maker and toaster oven should be on the counter so you can easily reach them when needed.

6. Utilize bowls and catch-alls.

I keep a bowl of apples on my kitchen counter in hopes I will reach for the Macintosh and not the crackers in the cupboard, and kitchen tools (spatulas, tongs, slotted spoons) so they can be stored neatly on your counter. Bowls and canisters are your friend. Just make sure you keep frequently used or eaten items in them. Too much on your counter tops is messy. Here are my picks for the 5 Best Clutter Busters.

7. Use a pot rack to free up space in your kitchen cabinets.

It really doesn't matter if you have All Clad and if some are mis-matched, having your pots hanging at eye level frees up so much space, it's worth it!

8. Install roll-out storage.

This way when you are searching for an item in your kitchen cabinet, kitchen pantry or the cupboard, you can pull out the drawer or shelf and see everything at once, meaning you don't have to touch everything in there to locate one item. Roll out storage for the win! Here are my picks for the 5 Best Kitchen Storage Solutions.

9. Organize your junk drawer.

A junk drawer may be small, but it is a very powerful tool in the war for kitchen organization. Inside your junk drawer you can store coupons, rubber bands, twist ties, batteries, coins, etc. Streamline this area by installing drawer dividers so everything is easier to sort and find. Read more in How to Organize a Junk Drawer.

10. A system for coupons.

Keeping coupons all in the same place is the most important organizing element, so you get in the habit of continually clipping them and then putting them in the same spot.

11. Organize your recipes.

Once and for all, organize your recipes in a way that makes sense for how you cook and meal plan. For instance, I use a limited amount of cookbooks over and over again, and I often print things off the Internet. I save them in a binder sorted by main ingredient. The cookbooks I use regularly and on a shelf in the kitchen. It's not how Martha would do it, but it works for me.

12. Set up a meal planning routine that works for you.

You can read more about meal planning and healthy meal planning in the Guide to Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping.

13. Master 4-5 recipes and techniques you can whip up quickly.

For instance:

  • A good salad dressing;
  • An all-purpose quiche or pasta recipe that you can whip up to use leftover veggies and meat;
  • A warming soup for when you're under the weather;
  • A sure-fire recipe for roasting chicken;
  • A technique for sauteing vegetables that you can apply across the board.

See: 10 Go-to Dinner Ideas and How to Meal Plan Healthfully.

14. Buy uniform, square storage containers.

Square just simply maximizes space more efficiently, and buying all the same size (or limiting storage containers to 2-3 sizes) makes them easier to nest together in your kitchen cabinet. See How to Store Everything in the Kitchen for ideas.

15. Stay on top of kitchen organization.

The more often your declutter your kitchen, the less clutter, and the more often you commit to re-organizing your kitchen, the easier it will be each time around. Commit to organizing your kitchen 2-3 times a year; here's the guide How to organize the Kitchen

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