A Year of De-cluttering - in the kitchen!

One of the top ten reasons people say they love becoming organized and living without clutter is they can find what they need when they need it.  Could this be any more true when you're standing in the kitchen, racing against the clock with kids at your heels while you're preparing a meal?

The key to an organized kitchen is to group like items together and create zones of function for ease of use.

To begin our project this week make sure you have plenty of receptacles for donate, recycle, and trash.  We will focus on the kitchen today, the pantry next week.

The first thing you can do is quickly look in every cabinet and drawer and take action on items you don't like, don't use, have never used, and get in the way.  Be ruthless!  Don't keep something because you or someone else paid good money for it.  Your ability to daily find what you need is more valuable!

Next step back and think.  Zone the kitchen mentally by pre-planning how the kitchen will function upon completion.  When Janet and I help transferees unpack their kitchen we ask them to visualize themselves working in this space and ask where they see themselves making coffee, grabbing for pans, towels etc.  Mentally, divide your kitchen into zones such as food prep, cooking, dish storage, kids dinnerware, utility, etc.

You already did an initial quick purge.  Now we need to spend more time in each drawer and cabinet sorting what you have.  Be realistic about how many coffee cups you use, how many cheese graters you need, etc.  Keep only the ones you like and use.

Take the time to make sure all pots and storage containers have corresponding lids.  Your older child can even help out with this one.  Pick the best of what you have and donate the rest.  Toss chipped bowls and rusted anything.  You don't need a bazillion rags.  Chances are you'll find a t-shirt with a hole in it next week, and a sock.  Wouldn't you rather have the space you need than hold onto trash?

After this purge you will now only be housing items you actually use and love.  Based on your pre-planned zones begin putting items away.

  • Place heavier items in lower cabinets.
  • Group glassware by size.  Instead of taller glasses in the back and shorter in the front, group them in columns.  So when you take one of the tall red glass, the next one behind it is the same.  
  • Use the least desirable locations for seasonal items and seldom used items like platters for entertaining etc.
  • Place items used frequently in the most convenient of places.  My dishes are above my food serving area and above my dishwasher.  
  • Store your pan lids near your pans.
Again the key here is to store like items together and to create zones.  Keep that as your focus as you finish up your area.  

Inevitably you can't place something in its perfect spot because it's not a perfect world.  Find the next best spot.  And most people have a junk drawer.  Even I do.  It doesn't have to be a drawer of mess.  Here's my friend's:

Once you are finished I know you will be tired and overjoyed at the same time.  You should consider taking it a step further and labeling the shelves so everyone in the family knows where to retrieve and return.
Want more?  Clean out your fridge and freezer.  Toss food that is expired, including condiments.  

Enjoy finding what you need when you need it as you serve up your best Food Network meal!

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