The kitchen should be the heart of the home, but it takes a little organization to be up to the task! You don’t need fancy cabinets or expensive organization systems to have an efficient kitchen. I have found plenty of simple and affordable ways to get and stay organized. Here are five of my own favorite tips for kitchen organization:
1. Create a Snack Basket.
To make it easy for the kids to find snacks and lunch options in the pantry, I set up a special wire basket for snacks. The kids have no trouble finding what they need and nothing gets hidden or lost in the back of a dark cabinet. I also put a small plastic basket in the fridge for cold lunch items, snacks, drinks and fruit.
2. Think Creative Organization.
If your kitchen is small or lacking in storage, creative free-standing furniture and storage containers will make the most of your available space. My free-standing island serves as both a meal prep area and a place to store extra pans and bakeware. I also store things out in the open with glass jars that are both pretty and functional to hold everything from dried beans and grains to coffee beans.
I have attractive baskets and lidded boxes in the kitchen, pantry and adjoining rooms to hold baking items, seasonal decorations and even wine glasses. I also have an old bedroom dresser in the family room that now holds linens and extra serving dishes, and a free-standing glass door cabinet in the kitchen for holding extra dishes.
3. Organize by Task.
No matter what size kitchen you have, it is helpful to organize your kitchen by task. Having a variety of unrelated things mixed together in every cupboard or drawer just isn’t very efficient. I have designated a few specific task zones for my kitchen: a baking zone, a cooking zone, a food storage zone and a dishes zone so I know exactly where to look for what I need, and it’s easy for guests to help in the kitchen. My priority is to organize by task zone. Even if my kitchen itself doesn’t offer the space I need for every zone, I would rather set up creative organization nearby or in an adjoining space (see tip #2) than to have to jumble too much together in the kitchen.
4. Free Up Drawer Space.
If you feel like you don’t have enough drawer or cabinet space, one trick I use is to create attractive storage options on counters or open shelves. For instance, instead of using an entire drawer for towels, I use an attractive wire basket next to the sink. I toss out all my ugly old towels and find affordable attractive ones for the counter. I love the simple affordable white dishtowels from IKEA (mine have a blue stripe)! I also have a simple white crock near the stove to hold my wooden and metal cooking utensils.
I use open shelves for my prettiest dishes and serving pieces. The key to open storage is to only keep out what is attractive and used regularly so it stays clean. Pretty everyday dishes (I find most of my white or colored dishes at discount stores), color-coordinated hand towels and wood and metal utensils can all look attractive enough to be kept out in the open, freeing up drawer space.
5. Use a Refrigerator Message Board.
How many times have leftovers or food items gone to waste in your fridge because they got shoved to the back and you forgot about them? Even food in the fridge can benefit from a little bit of organization!
One way I keep the refrigerator organized and avoid wasting food is with a handy refrigerator chalkboard. I made the chalkboard myself with peel-and-stick chalkboard paper, a picture frame and command strips to hold it to the refrigerator. When I add a ready-made meal, some leftovers or even certain ingredients to the fridge, I simply jot a note down on the chalkboard. Now I am less likely to forget to use up what I buy and can remember to serve the leftovers before they go bad!
I hope these simple tips will inspire you to have a more organized kitchen! You can see some photos of my own systems in this post on my kitchen.