When we moved last year, we went from a huge kitchen with tons of storage…
…to a smaller kitchen with much less storage.
A smaller kitchen just means I have to be more deliberate and more efficient with storage and organization. So, for this Friday Five, I’m sharing my top five tips for organizing a kitchen. And the good news is that these principles apply in other areas of your home, too!
1. Get in the zone.
When I organize a space, I think in terms of zones. For example, in the kitchen, I have a baking/cooking zone, a coffee zone, a zone for glassware, etc. I try to think of how I’m using the space and the stuff in it and organize it accordingly, putting like things together and near where I would use them.
Here’s a picture of my kitchen now with each zone labeled:
I also did this when I organized my pantry in our old house:
How do you create zones? First, take everything out of the space you are organizing. That way, you can see what you have and what zones you need to create. Then…
2. Put like things together.
Note how, in each picture above, like items are together. This is important because (a) it makes the items easier to find and (b) it’s easier to tell when you’re out of something.
In the pantry, that meant I put the pasta together, the crackers and snack food together, the baking dishes together, etc.
In the kitchen, this means that all the pots and pans are in one cabinet, the spices are with the oils and vinegars and other things I use for cooking, the glasses are together on one shelf. This organization is helpful because, for example, I’m almost never going to dress a salad without salt, pepper, oil, and vinegar. All of those things are in one spot so that I don’t have to cross the kitchen four times to dress a salad!
Which leads me to my next tip…
3. Put things close to where you use them.
Continuing with my salad example, not only are the salad dressing fixins together, but they are located where I make salad (that counter area in the corner – see above picture).
So, once you’ve grouped like things together, try to locate those groups near where you use them. In our kitchen, the coffee container is right next to the coffeemaker, and the mugs are right above that…
The glasses are right by the refrigerator, which has ice and water on the door.
The utensils I use to cook and bake with are right by the stove. Having items right where you need them not only is efficient, but it makes cooking/baking much easier (which, in turn, might make you want to cook more!).
A related point to this tip is to put things where people who use them can reach them. In the pantry, I put the snack foods and cereal on the lower shelves so that my kids could reach them. And this leads nicely to my next point…
4. Put plates, bowls, and silverware near the dishwasher.
I actually learned this tip the hard way. Before I repainted our kitchen, I had put the dishes in the breakfast room – adjacent to the kitchen but still in another room – in this cabinet:
And while it was cute and functional (the dishes all fit there and the kids could reach them), it was far from the dishwasher. Not efficient and kind of annoying.
But once I redid the kitchen (read that post HERE), I lowered the shelves (to standard height – I explain in the kitchen post about how I hung them too high the first time) and the kids could reach them! I moved the dishes to the shelves above the dishwasher and everyone was happy – I, because it was much easier to unload the dishwasher, and the kids, because they could still get their cereal bowls or plates for snacks without bugging me (ok, I was happy about that, too!).
Our silverware drawers are located directly to the left of the dishwasher.
Not only does this organization make unloading the dishwasher much easier, it also makes setting the table for meals easier because everything needed is in one spot.
5. Do what works for you.
At the end of the day, do what works best for you. Open shelving isn’t for everyone, for example, so my kitchen set-up wouldn’t be ideal for someone who prefers cabinets. You might have a different cabinet, drawer, or overall kitchen configuration that doesn’t allow for keeping spices near the stove, for example.
Do what works for you. If you like your dishes near where you eat rather than near the dishwasher, then that’s where you should have them.
What kitchen organization tricks work for you?