Organizing your kitchen may seem like a daunting task, especially as you come face to face with towering dirty dishes, ragged dish towels, and stray cutlery that you find in random spots. However, keeping an organized kitchen space is essential for sanitary food preparations. Here's how you can organize your kitchen easily!
How to Organize a Kitchen
Clean the Sink Area
There is nothing that should be left in the sink by the end of the day. Always wash your cookware, plates, and cutlery at the end of the meal, and wash the walls of the sink with some dish soap to keep it clean. The sponge and other cleaning utensils should be kept elevated to allow excess moisture to drip and dry off.
Clear the Counter Space
First, clear your counter space of any stray utensils, dishes, and food remnants. Your kitchen countertop is where you prepare food, organize your kitchen items, and other activities. This functional space should be kept clear at all times.
- Remove any items from your countertop. Place all the dirty dishes in the sink, and store away any appliances or items that are no longer used. Throw away or recycle any empty food storage containers, and wipe away any food spills.
- Take your kitchen cleaning supplies: vinegar and water work well on most kitchen counter materials in removing stains, but should not be used on natural stone surfaces. Diluted dish soap works to remove dirt from kitchen counters.
- A few appliances can be placed on the countertop in an out-of-the-way area, such as toasters, coffee makers, and other useful appliances placed near sockets. Use sliding platforms to easily move the appliances without dragging them across the kitchen countertop.
Organize Your Cooking Utensils
Cooking utensils can be arranged in three ways: hung by hooks on the kitchen wall, kept in a convenient drawer, or placed upright in a utensil holder. Any of these arrangements work as long as they are convenient for you.
- Using a Hanging Rack: If using hanging hooks or racks, be sure these racks are securely fastened to an available wall space near your food preparation area. Ideal areas would be near the sink, and by the kitchen counter. Make sure there are enough hooks to hang all your kitchen utensils, and keep this area clean with a good wipe down weekly.
Refrain from placing sharp utensils, such as scissors and knives, on the hooks to prevent accidents. Avoid placing the rack above the stove as well, as the flames can heat up the utensils, and melt plastic handles.
- Inside Drawers: Drawer organizers prevent your utensils from thrashing around the drawers each time you open or close it. Place organizers in a convenient drawer, and arrange your kitchen utensils according to size, as well as frequency of use. Line the drawer with paper or foam liners to keep it clean and dry.
Kitchen scissors are best placed in drawers, as are cutting boards, wooden spoons, spatulas, and other wood materials. This is to prevent moisture from creating mold and mildew in wood fibers. Place silica gel packs around the inside of the drawers to absorb excess moisture.
- Placed Upright in a Holder: Many utensil holders have a drying feature where excess water drips from the utensil into a catch tray at the bottom, which you can then dump out. You can place your utensil holder by the sink for easy access and storage.
Knives are best placed in knife block holders as these holders shield the sharp end for safety. They are also easy to access, so you can grab a knife to cut fruits and vegetables conveniently. However, most knife blocks are made of wood, and should be kept dry.
Organize Your Baking Sheets, Pots and Pans
Your baking sheets, pots, pans, and other cookware should be kept in a cabinet close to the ground. This is to prevent accidents with heavy cookware, especially as the kitchen can be a particularly hazardous location in the home. Here's how to organize your cookware properly:
- Take out all your cookware from their current storage locations. You will need to assess your cookware, and identify which ones are most-frequently used. Avoid storing your cookware in the dishwasher as well, they may hinder the functionality of your appliances.
- Place a rack in your kitchen cabinet where you plan to store your cookware. Attach adhesive racks to the cabinet door as well to store pot and pan lids safely.
- Organize your cookware by frequency of use and by size. The least frequently-used items should stay at the back of the cabinet, arranged by size, and the most frequently-used items should be within arms reach of the cabinet, arranged in a similar way.
- Place the cookware lids behind the cabinet doors, secured by adhesive racks. This will maximize your cabinet space, and prevent an avalanche of cookware falling each time you open the cupboard doors.
Create an Accessible Storage Space
Got a junk drawer in your kitchen where you keep odd bits, receipts, and random utensils? Now is the time to keep an organized kitchen! Clear this drawer space of all the junk items, and instead create an accessible storage drawer for frequently-used items such as keeping plastic grocery bags, trash bags, rubber bands, cling film, aluminum foil , etc.
- Clear the junk from the drawer: Remove all the odd bits and pieces of items from the drawer, and identify whether to keep or toss the item away.
- Clean the drawer with a spray made from diluted vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with water. This will help remove odors from the drawer, and kill and mold hiding in the wood.
- Prepare your drawer organizers depending on the items you plan to keep inside. Tissue box holders help keep plastic bags together, while plastic food wrap dispensers help keep cling film and aluminum foil organized, and provide an easy-cut blade for convenience.
- Organize the drawer space according to the frequency of use of the items inside. Keep the most-used items upfront, while the items less used are placed towards the back of the drawer.
- You should now have an accessible space to keep useful kitchen items in, and you won't have to rummage through your kitchen looking for a rubber band or cling film! Clean the drawers once every two weeks by removing the items inside, and wiping the walls of the drawer with a cleaning solution to keep the area tidy.
Organize Your Dinnerware and Silverware
Like many households, you may have multiple sets of dinnerware and silverware in your kitchen cabinets that have jumbled together.
- Using cutlery storage racks will help keep your silverware organized, and prevent them from jumping around when opening or closing the cutlery drawer. Use these to store your silverware, and arrange the silverware by type.
- Dinnerware, such as plates, bowls, and more, can be stored in the overhead cupboard by type or by set. Organizing dinnerware by type will make it easy to grab a bowl or a small plate separately from the rest of the set, while organizing dinnerware by set makes setting the table much more convenient. Choose a method that works best for you.
- Before you store your items, it is a good idea to clean the drawers and cabinets. Clean these with vinegar, dish soap, or a commercial cleaning solution, and line the interiors with a paper or foam liner to keep them clean.
Organize Food Items
Got a walk-in pantry? Adopt the first in, first out method to prevent food wastage, and keep your pantry neat and tidy! The first in, first out method ensures that you use up your food items before they go bad, reducing wasted food, and updating your grocery list with accuracy. You'll know exactly when it is time to replenish your food stock!
- Check all the expiration dates of your food, and toss out any expired food. Only keep food that requires no refrigeration in your walk-in cupboard, such as cereals, packaged snacks, canned goods, unopened jams and milk, sauces, and more.
- Arrange the food items by expiry date, with the ones closest to the expiry date in front, and the ones with a far-off expiry date at the back. Using baskets will help you organize similar food items together for better organization.
- If transferring food from its original container to an airtight container, always take note of the expiry date and date of opening, and stick the dates on the container. This will remove the guesswork of whether the food in the container is still safe to eat or not.
- Finally, keep a checklist of all the items in your pantry, as well as the expiration dates, quantity, and other useful details. Check items off the list when you use them up. This will help create an accurate grocery list for your next shopping trip!
*Check out our guide to organizing your kitchen fridge.
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