Organizing a kitchen – 21 tricks organizers use to keep order

1. Empty Kitchen Cabinets And Drawers, One By One

‘A good cook will organize kitchen drawers and organize kitchen cabinets' contents rigidly, making sure everything is easy to see, at a glance, so that ingredients and equipment can be gathered quickly,’ says chef and author Peter Sidwell. Furthermore, a well-organized kitchen will make putting everything away again just as easy. It’s one thing to organize your kitchen with military precision, but quite another to keep it that way.

2. Clean And Deodorize Cabinets And Drawers

Organizing a kitchen goes hand in hand with cleaning a kitchen. Each time you empty a cabinet or drawer, give it a good clean. Shelves, especially open shelves, will be likely covered in a sticky dust, the result of cooking grease and household dust mingling; ensure when you clean kitchen cabinets that you tackle the top of them, too.

3. Declutter, Upcycle And Donate

Before you start, it's always best to start with a really good clear out to cut down unnecessary, out of date or unused items, and return any non-kitchen interlopers back to their proper homes.

4. Make A Plan That Suits How You Use Your Kitchen

No single kitchen should be organized in exactly the same way. Of course, there are basic ground rules that make sense, all of which we cover below, but you should always pick and choose what you prioritize amongst them in order to organize your kitchen in a way that suits you and your family.

5. Define Your Categories

What you need to organize in a kitchen fall into some broad categories. For example: – Dry foods, canned goods and spices – Pots, pans, dishes and other cookware – Baking essentials (for frequent bakers) – Flatware – Plates and bowls – Glasses – Special occasion china and other items used infrequently – Dishtowels and cloths – Kids’ plates, dishes and cups (if applicable) – Cleaning supplies (if these aren’t stored elsewhere in your home) To start your organization project, it’s worth writing a list of categories the contents of your kitchen fall into, using our list as a starting point and adding any others that apply to your room to help you find a place in your kitchen open shelving, cabinets and drawers for everything.

6. Create Storage Zones

To decide where to put things in your kitchen, mentally divide the room into zones. These will help you decide where the different categories of items should be located within which kitchen storage ideas.

7. Devote One Cabinet To Items You Access Daily

While grouping items is a winning strategy, however, consider also this kitchen cupboard storage idea from Richard Davonport, managing director of Davonport Kitchen & Home.

8. Organize Food First

Before you get into organizing the kitchen's functional elements, from china to pots and pans, consider where food that's not kept in the refrigerator will go, and how it's positioned. Ideally, you might be awash with pantry ideas you can take advantage of for this, whether in a separate room or within the kitchen itself. Or perhaps you are limited to a few cabinets and drawers for dried ingredients?

9. Organize Kitchen Shelves

When organizing a kitchen, start with what's on show organizing kitchen countertops  as well as the kitchen shelving that can introduce personality and design flair but can quickly descend into chaos. ‘When choosing items for kitchen shelves I tend to pick a color palette that complements either the backsplash or kitchen cabinets and use that color throughout styling the kitchen,’ says interior designer Enass Mahmoud.

10. Organize Kitchen Drawers

'In my experience, drawers are far more useful in kitchen base units than cabinets,' says Lucy Searle. 'Install drawers, particularly deep ones, and you can not only store just as much as you can in a cabinet, but you can pull them right out to see everything at a glance, reaching whatever you need quickly and effortlessly.

11. Organize Kitchen Cabinets

'Kitchen cabinets should be approached in the same way as drawers,' advises Lucy Searle. 'Inevitably, there are shelves within them that are easier to reach than others, so ensure what you use regularly is on shelves at eye-level, with those pieces you use less often consigned to base units first, then top shelves you might need a stool or ladder to access.

12. Include Vertical Storage

‘We love to provide vertical storage for oven trays and chopping boards. Storing these items vertically rather than horizontally makes them far easier to pull out and you can easily store nearly any size tray or board,’ advises Neil Matthews, director of Lewis Alderson.

13. Consider Ergonomic Efficiency

Follow the lead of chef's kitchens, where speed is everything, and arrange your cabinet contents in ‘families’ according to use. For example, locate glassware next to drinks, organize Tupperware used for storage near the refrigerator, crockery between the dining table and dishwasher, and organize pots and pans next to the oven.

14. Organize Your Spices

There are several ways of organizing spices to avoid scrabbling around in the back of cabinets, and frequently ending up with multiple purchases or out-of-date herbs. ‘One of the most popular methods is to add a spice rack or two to the back of larder doors, which means the jars sit at eye level with the labels facing out clearly visible,’ says kitchen designer Sam Hart, of Roundhouse.

15. Label Everything

The benefit of a walk-in pantry or larder cupboard is that everything is visible in one glance, and you don’t need to remember which drawer you left the rock salt in. The one negative of having bulk order foodstuffs on display is that not everything comes in beautiful eye-catching packaging.

16. Establish Your Intended Use – And Stick To It

Organizing a kitchen is about assigning use so that cabinets and drawers can realize their full potential and help keep the contents in order. Creating a linen closet in the kitchen is the next best thing to an actual laundry room. By really paying attention to how everything will fit in, you’ll be able to neatly stow away everything needed to keep your home spick-and-span.

17. Use Kitchen Doors

‘If you don’t have room for a large pantry, utilizing your cabinet doors can go a long way towards keeping essential ingredients organized,’ says kitchen designer Tom Howley.

18. Hang Your Stemware

If you love to entertain, you’ll almost certainly own an impressive collection of stemware. Hanging glasses from the ceiling, and pots and pans for that matter, is an effective way to corral them into order, while taking pressure off your cabinet space. Arrange by size and use to make it easy to cater for crowds.

19. Keep Kitchen Tech Tidy

Now we’re spending more time at home, kitchens have become truly multipurpose spaces where we work, relax and entertain. As such, it’s no longer just the kettle and toaster that are to blame for cluttering up countertops and adding visual ‘noise’ in the kitchen.

20. Schedule A Regular Clear Out

Even with the very best intentions, it’s all too easy for your precisely arranged cabinets and drawers to descend into chaos. We’re looking at you, Tupperware drawer! A regular decluttering will help restore order and, possibly, encourage other family members to be more mindful when tidying up.

21. Keep Wine Bottle In Optimum Condition

Traditionally, wine is stored in underground cellars, which naturally provide excellent conditions thanks to their constant temperature and humidity, and lack of natural light. Today, however, many of us want to display our wine with bottles ready for drinking near the dining table or kitchen island, so there are a variety of solutions, including temperature-controlled wine rooms and conditioning cabinets, to suit different needs.

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