Ah, the kitchen–the source of nourishment for our bodies, minds, and spirits! More than just a place to cook, it’s where we gather, start out our days, connect with each other over a meal or a cup of coffee, share our ups and downs, and celebrate together.
Regardless whether your style is ultra-modern or shabby chic, an uncluttered, clean space with adequate lighting and ease of movement is essential to make this area functional and livable. And, as I’ve said before, I believe an uncluttered environment leads to an uncluttered mind and spirit.
Modern home designs often place the kitchen in plain view as you enter the home, open to the main living area of the home. This is great for family togetherness, but it makes it even more important to keep the kitchen organized and beautiful.
The kitchen, more than any other room in your home, contributes to your family’s health and wellbeing. It also happens to be my favorite room to de-clutter, simply because I can get a huge feeling of accomplishment in a short amount of time. This room, more than any other, tends to accumulate things that don’t belong there.
I’ve found that having a clean, well-organized kitchen not only saves time but makes everyone in the family happier and more focused.
To help you get organized in the kitchen, here are 18 simple tips:
- Clear your counters – evaluate everything and if it’s something you don’t use daily, put it away. You may want to leave out the coffee pot, toaster, canisters, and salt and pepper shakers.
- Remove the food from your fridge, wipe down the shelves, bins, and doors with a warm soapy sponge, and check the expiration date for each item before you put it back in. Repeat this process with your freezer, pantry, and kitchen cabinets. This seemingly overwhelming task is often the most satisfying, and doesn’t really take very long.
- Designate a place for mail and school papers (perhaps a pretty tray or basket) and establish a weekly ritual to sort and handle each item.
- Wash your dishes immediately after eating. Load and run your dishwasher nightly, or at least every other day. I like to empty the dishwasher before I go to bed at night, which leaves one less thing to do in the morning.
- Use attractive storage containers. Cooking utensils, fruits, and vegetables can be placed in baskets and stored on the shelves of an island or bar cart.
- Clean as you go while cooking and baking.
- Place several garbage bags at the bottom of the trash can so you don’t have to search when you empty the garbage. And use twin trash cans for easier recycling.
- Hang your pretty cookware from a baker’s rack or on the wall.
- Add a bookcase or shelf to the kitchen for your favorite cookbooks.
- Fruit stands and cake stands are handy for storing fruit decoratively on the counter top.
- Hang some of your collections on the wall. Cookie cutters, platters, and cups can all double as display.
- Try not to use the top of your refrigerator as storage space unless you use decorative baskets or boxes to place things in.
- Walk-in pantries are wonderful, but unfortunately we don’t all have that kind of space. Consider converting a kitchen or laundry room closet into a pantry. Put a glazed glass door on the pantry to open up the space, or paint the door with chalkboard paint for lists and notes or allow your children or grandchildren to create art for you there.
- Furniture that functions well is essential to an organized kitchen. Dressers, armoires, and bar carts can add beauty and style while also providing surface and storage space. This added space is great for special glassware and tableware, towels, dishcloths, place mats, and tablecloths.
- If your kitchen table happens to have shelves, all the better. The table I have, shown above, is from Pottery Barn and is fitted with shelves and baskets in which I can store placemats, napkins, and serving ware.
- Step stools, especially original ones, like library ladders, are always nice to have in a kitchen. Plus, they allow easy access to items stored on the top shelves of your cabinets.
- Folding chairs can offer additional seating for guests and can be stored in a nearby closet, pantry, or garage by hanging them on the wall.
- Bonus Health Tip: While you’re clearing out your kitchen, use this time to get rid of processed foods. This means almost everything with a label on it. This simple act will remove the most harmful clutter from your kitchen. My ideal kitchen would be one without any BPAs, GMOs, hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, chemicals, or unpronounceable ingredients.