Cleaning out and finding space in your kitchen cabinets can be a hard, trying experience. There seems to be so many items, and just no where left to put them!
There are several methods you can incorporate into your kitchen to save shelf space, store items easier, and save time searching for the right thing. And there are also a few basic pointers I will give you along the way.
The first thing is to group like mined items together. Be sure all your spices and herbs are in the same location, and also that your pans are together, ect. Unfortunately, the kitchen is the one area of the household where the use it or lose it rule doesn’t always apply. Meaning, in most other areas of the house, if you don’t use something frequently, or have a purpose for it even if that purpose is aesthetic, you need to throw it away or donate it. However, in the kitchen there are a whole lot of things you may not use frequently but will need to save, such as herbs, spices, specialty pans, canned items, and more.
So now that you have clustered items together, now what? Well, you figure out which “groups” will need the most space. Start by placing the largest groups in the largest available spaces, and working your way down. At this time you may need to incorporate several space saving techniques.
The first technique is what I call the Martha Stewart technique. This is where if you have the money and resources, you go out at this time and buy all those specialty gadgets for saving space, such as lazy suzans, expandable drawer inserts and shelf racks, wall hooks, and such. This can be a very attractive and simple way to achieve organization…but I am assuming you are reading this because you know how to buy space, you just don’t know how to do it with what you have, right?
So the next technique is what I call the easy-find box method. This method works particularly well with spices, herbs, flavorings, and small jars. Find a box that will hold the group of items you need to store. Shoeboxes and gift boxes work well for this purpose. Take all the items in a group, and label each one on the lid using small yard sale type sticker labels stating what they are. Place all the items in the group in the box selected in alphabetical order. Then store the box, and the next time you need to get something from it you will be able to just take the lid off and quickly locate an item. If you have more than a few of these boxes, I recommend labeling them with magic marker on the side or top to be able to locate certain groups quickly. You can expand upon this idea by decorating the boxes by gluing fabric to them, wrapping them in countertop sticky paper, or whatever else suits your fancy. This method works well for storing any number of things including canned goods and pastas.
The other method we will list is the painting method. This is a great method to use if you are a creative type, and also if you have children who have difficulty putting things where they should. Simply acquire several different colors of paint ( the surface depends upon what type paint. Please use your best judgment), and a paintbrush. After grouping your items, look at and evaluate your space available. Make out a map of sorts, and be sure to leave room for future accommodations. Once you have decided in your mind or on a sheet of paper where everything will go you can do one of the two following things. First you can simply paint lines around the areas where certain groups will sit. For instance, draw a square line in the corner of the cabinet exactly where your spices will be. You can ,make the lines straight, wavy, dotted, curly…whatever your imagination desires! Then after letting the paint dry, place the items in their designated areas. The other way of doing this is to paint the entire area in instead of just drawing lines. This can be a lot more challenging, but also a lot prettier. Imagine for a moment, opening a pretty white cabinet with brass handles, and finding the inside painted with four different pastel colors, each having its own group of like minded items. Very pretty indeed! In fact, if you are an artist, you can paint any type of motif or design for a specific category.
Now, while you are doing this there are several things to keep in mind. First, remember to clean out the shelves while you have everything out. Secondly, there will be several things you find that you know won’t be used…get rid of them. Thirdly, you probably will find several items that just won’t have a category of their own. For this you can make a “misc” box or section, or else place it in a different room or area.
I hope these ideas will help you to create the kitchen of your dreams, and to find things easier in the meantime. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.