I can’t believe it’s already October! I’m ready for fall and cooler weather, for sure, but I need to get my house ready for the holidays! I’m hosting both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year (!!), so I need to get organized, especially in my kitchen! An organized and efficient kitchen makes cooking, especially for a crowd, so much easier!
When we moved into the 1929 Bungalow, we went from a huge kitchen in our old house to the smaller kitchen pictured above. I love our kitchen – even if it is smaller – but having a smaller kitchen means I have to be more deliberate and more efficient with storage and organization. Today I’m sharing my secrets for how I organize my kitchen so that is efficient and easy to use!
And, if you’ve been a reader for a while, you know I use these organizing principles in other areas of my home as well – you can check out those organizing ideas and posts here!
Tips for an organized and efficient kitchen:
1. Be in the zone.
When I organize a space, I think in terms of zones. I think of how I’m using the space and the stuff in it and then 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:
…and in the pantry in the 1929 Bungalow.
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, and so on.
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 and 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, I lowered the shelves and the kids could reach them! I moved the dishes to the shelves above the dishwasher and everyone was happy – I was, because it was much easier to unload the dishwasher; and the kids were, 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 – in fact, you can read about how I feel about our open shelving in our kitchen one year later – 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 organization tricks work for you, in the kitchen or any other room? I’d love for you to share with us!