We all know how hard it is to keep a kitchen area organized. It seems sometimes like things move about by themselves, and you can never find that recipe, spice, or utensil you know is there somewhere. These simple, easy to follow hints will give you the ideas you need to have a well-organized, harmonious kitchen.
The first part of any organization task is to be absolutely ruthless! When going through and organizing each part of your kitchen, throw away those things you know you haven’t used and will not be using. Things that you are only keeping because they were a gift and you wouldn’t want that person to know you didn’t like it, things that haven’t been used since being purchased and other such items can all be tossed. I know it can be difficult, but ask yourself the following questions to help you figure out what to save and what to toss.
– Is it of current or frequent use to me? – Do I find it beautiful or nice to look at?
– Does it serve a purpose in MY kitchen?
If you can honestly answer “yes” on any of those questions regarding a particular item, then keep it! If you can only answer no to all of the above, then it is time to do away with it.
Another golden rule I wish to remind you of is “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”. It is always helpful to have a designated place to put every item in, and that’s where we will go from here.
The first thing I think of when I think of a kitchen is cooking. Now whether you are a budding chef, or a fast-food junkie, one thing each of us has in our kitchen are recipes. They may be family heirlooms, or something that sounded so good you just had so save it. Whatever the case may be, the worst thing is to know you had a recipe, or to need a recipe, and not have it. Many of you may have printed recipes from the net, clipped them from magazines, or simply written them down. But the end result is a bunch of different sheets of paper. There are different ways to handle this. Many stores sell recipe organizer boxes, which you can write your recipes on 3X5 cards and place them in it. Another more crafty way is to take a simple box with a lid, and use fabric glue to glue fabric to cover all outside areas, and place your recipes in it. And for those of you who don’t have the time or artistic inclination, there are very simple “premade” recipe holders that are more like a binder, but can be very handy.
Another good idea would be to copy your recipes all to your computer hard drive in a recipe file. However, if you are like myself, this could be a lengthy and tedious process for so many recipes.
There are several ideas which you can incorporate into your kitchen for organizing spices. The first one that comes to mind is, when out of cupboard space, use wall space. A simple wall rack to place spices in would do the trick.
They sell them fairly cheap at Wal-mart or at home centers.
If your budget does not allow for that, use a medium sized box, or even better, a Rubbermaid storage container, to store your spices. To do this effectively, using small labels (the type you would use to price items at a yard sale), write the name of each spice on each label. Then place the labels on the tops of the lids of each respective spice jar. Next, place the labeled spices in alphabetical order in the box or storage container, and then you can place the container almost anywhere at all, and whenever
you need an herb or spice, just pull out the container, and read from the tops of the lids without having to pull each one out.
A way to organize pots, pans, cups, and large utensils such as spatulas is to place hanging hooks on your walls. You can buy the hook-shaped ones, and place them where you wish, or put up a piece of pegboard, and paint it an attractive color and use pegboard hooks, or you can simply use nails in the wall. I have seen many different attractive uses of this method, including displayed china collections, mugs, and cast iron cookware.
When going through the “junk drawer”, pay attention to the rules of tossing, but anything you must keep, place in a divided container. Containers for keeping thread in a sewing department, or tackle box inserts in the sporting goods department are ideal for this purpose.
Always place like-minded things together. Put all canned food in one cabinet, with soups all together, place all china in another cabinet, and cookware in another. Keeping things of the same theme together make them easier to locate and less likely to get lost. Another good thing for the kitchen area is to invest in Tupperware and also in masking tape. Instead of keeping leftovers on a plate or in our favorite casserole dish, store them in the fridge in a covered Tupperware dish, and always label the top of the lid by using a black marker to write what type of food is in the container and what date it was put in the fridge on the tape. This helps to know what it is at just one glance and to know if it is still fit to eat.