Declutter Your Kitchen
Traditionally, the kitchen and food preparation used to be in a separate room, hidden in the back of the home or the basement and food was transported to the dining area. Today the kitchen is often the heart of the house, open to the dining room and living area.
The kitchen IS the source of total nourishment. We gather there, we cook and we eat there. Regardless of whether your style is ultra-modern or an old country kitchen, they still have the same needs for an uncluttered, clean space with adequate lighting and ease of movement.
The kitchen accumulates items that don’t belong there more than any other room in the house and when it’s messy, even if other rooms in the house are neat, the whole house still feels cluttered.
Food, storage methods and tools all contribute to your health and the health of your home. Many of us need fundamental and automatic organization to do our cooking and serving. Even if you have help at home, you still need to have the basics in place. An organized kitchen saves plenty of time whether you are the one doing the cooking or not.
Furniture that functions well is essential to an organized kitchen. You need cabinets in different sizes to accommodate and store different elements: china; cutlery; glassware; cookware; cooking ingredients; and cleaning products. Top shelves can hold special ingredients and equipment that you don’t use daily along with special china and glassware. Keep all your daily needs like cutlery, daily china, measuring cups, cookware and food preparation staples all within easy reach.
If you can, designate separate areas of your kitchen for different functions and store accordingly. So keep glassware, china, cutlery and placemats near your sink/dishwasher for easy clean up. Keep your cookware in the cabinets closest to your oven/stove along with all cooking utensils like measuring cups, plasticware, cooking spoons, knives, as well as food ingredients, spices, condiments, and oils. Bottom cabinets, especially underneath the sink can be used for towels, dishcloths and cleaning products.
One thing that I have done in my own kitchen when I remodelled was to install two sinks far away from each other–one to wash fresh produce (I simply fill it with water and apple cider vinegar and put all my fruits and veggies directly in it to soak) and a separate one for cleaning and washing dishes, pots and pans. That way you ensure that your fresh food never gets cross-contaminated with any type of bacteria and you save time by being able to prep and clean simultaneously instead of crowding one sink.
To de-clutter your kitchen begin by following these steps:
- Clear your counters
- Evaluate everything and if you do not use it daily (like a juicer, food processor, or blender), put it away. Keep as much clear space as possible.
- Mount your television set if you watch it. Put it in a different room if you do not.
- Empty a special drawer or get a special box for mail and school papers and establish a weekly ritual to sort and disburse.
- Make sure you wash your dishes immediately after eating and run your dishwasher nightly. Empty your dishwasher first thing in the morning before dirty dishes can stack up.
- Clean as you go while cooking.
- Place several garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can so you don’t have to search when you empty the garbage.
- Have twin trash cans for easy recycling.
- Hanging cookware on the wall can be attractive and save time.
- Add a shelf or designate a space on your counter for your favorite cookbooks.
- Fruit stands and cake stands are handy for storing fruit decoratively.
- Hang some decorations on the wall–I love adding our family photos.
- Don’t just throw things on top of your refrigerator, it is okay to put things there, but plan it so it looks nice, like baskets, flowers, boxes, something that looks good not simply a hodge podge of whatever you need to get off the counter tops.
- Store all your dry food in a food pantry or create combined space using 2 or 3 adjoining cabinets. Designate glass containers for dry cooking ingredients and store ingredients according to function and type. Ideally this should be close to your stove/oven.
- Write the purchase date on your herbs and spices.
BONUS: Get rid of processed foods! Yes, you heard me…everything with a list of ingredients on it–cereals, cookies, cakes, chocolates, candies; processed oils like corn, sunflower or canola oil; sugar; pre-packaged or canned food and soft drinks. This will get the most harmful clutter out of your kitchen. My ideal kitchen would also be without a microwave.
There are so many clever ways to add organization and storage to a kitchen. You are almost always rewarded with time saved and frustration avoided when you know where to find something and everything is in its place!