Please welcome my girl Kelsey of Get Clarity Out of Chaos... She helped me organize my kitchen, though this picture above is my handy work... she helped me get rid of so much shit I just didn't need and may have seen my cry over parting with pint glassses... Here are some tips from Kelsey.
What skeletons do you have in your kitchen cabinets? A shot glass collection? Maybe you went on a "tea kick" once and have 40 different types of (unopened) teas to prove it. Or is it possible that you, GASP, haven't checked the expiration dates on your condiments since you moved into your house and have mustard that is older than some of the summer interns at your office? I used to work at an advertising agency that only had book publishing clients. Which means I have more cookbooks than anyone could ever possible need, ever. But books are my vice and everyone has a vice. Whatever you are hiding away in your cabinets, a little de-cluttering can make it feel like you have a brand new kitchen. You'd be surprised by how amazing it feels to get rid of those skeletons.
I recently had the pleasure of working with Sophia to help her get her kitchen in optimal condition for all the magical creations she makes for this blog. She is my favorite person in the whole wide world for letting me into her home to test out my organizing skills so of course I also agreed to write a guest post for her blog. You can read the full adventures of Sophia's kitchen revamp on my blog but I wanted to share a few key tips that will help you declutter your kitchen and maximize every inch of space.
Take it All Out
It is difficult to truly gauge what you have and how much you have until you can see everything at once. This requires you to remove ALL the items from your cabinets and search for kitchen items that have wondered to other parts of the house. You will be shocked by the number of duplicates and the quantity of items you have once it is all out in the open. This also help you complete the task of organizing your kitchen. If everything is out of the cabinets, you will be forced to finish the job since you can't go about your day with your kitchen floor covered in plates and spices. Remember that it first takes a little chaos to gain clarity.
Your kitchen should organized or 'zoned' based on what you need easy access to when cooking, prepping food, putting away dishes, etc. For example, store all of your pots and pans near your stove so you don't have to walk across the kitchen each time you need one. Store all of your everyday dishes next to your dishwasher so you can put them away quickly. Store your food close to the area you use to prep food so it is just an arm's length away from being added to your dish. Take a few minutes to think about how you use your kitchen and if you are taking unnecessary time traveling to all corners of your kitchen for improperly zoned items.
Group Items Together
Sometimes the most basic things that help make your kitchen look orderly are the ones that slip your mind when you in a hurry to get your kitchen cleaned up. Try to group all dishes, cooking and eating, by shape. All the square dishes together, circles, rectangles, etc. Remember the saying, you can't fit a square peg into a round hole? You will take up more space in the cabinets by trying to stack a square into a circle than if you stacked similar shapes together. It is okay if they don't match.
Store by Usage
The more often you use an item, no matter the size, the more accessible it should be in your kitchen. If you are tight on space, try to locate anything that is only used for holidays or special occasions and store them either up high (make sure your shelves can hold the weight!) or in your pantry, basement, attic, etc. The general rule is that the harder something is to get out, the less likely you are to use it. If you want that fancy juicer to be worth the money you spent on it, make sure it isn't stored too high up that the process of getting it out to use it is not worth the manual labor.
Use Clear Containers
The day I discovered clear containers for food storage, is the day my life changed forever. Okay, a little dramatic but it is such a no-brainer! You can't know how much you have of something if you can't see it. Clear containers look great in your kitchen and also help you avoid needing to make an emergency trip to the store when you suddenly realize you are out of flour or goldfish crackers (the horror!!). You can use them for baking ingredients, pastas, rices and all different kinds of snacks. You can even use them for small sized toys like legos or crayons. My two favorite brands are Oxo Good Grips and Flip-Tite, though I've often seen Oxo Good Grips at Home Goods for a good price.
Getting your kitchen in order is no easy task but planning ahead and taking the time to make sure you have your kitchen set up properly is just as important as fancy organizing tips. And if Sophia and I learned anything from our kitchen adventures it was that having someone, whether it is a friend or a professional organizer, to be your sounding board will help you to final get those kitchen cabinets clutter and skeleton free. Happy Organizing!