Organizing Your Kitchen

Every October I declutter and reorganize my kitchen. I know that the next few months will involve a lot of holiday cooking and I want my kitchen to be at its best. There are a lot of food drives around this time of year and it gives me a chance to clear out any foods that I have overstocked or bought on a whim and not used. This opens up space for holiday supplies.

I like to work in my kitchen so I want it to be an inviting place that is uncluttered. I want open countertops that are ready for food prep or rolling out cookies or pie dough. I want all my basic stored foods and spices organized and fresh so that I can easily put my hand on what I want without missing a beat. I want to be happy in this warm space.

I look at my kitchen as it is now and see what I can streamline to open up more space. I only want on my counter tops the items I use daily and even some of them can be tucked away under the counter. For example, I use my coffee grinder once a day but it is light and easy to shift off the counter for more space.

Next I go to my cabinets. Am I really using all of the pots and pans stored there? Are some taking up space just because I once used them? And then all of those food storage containers – do they have matching lids? I like to use the glass containers but will put to the back of the cabinet some plastic ones that I can pull out to send home food with visitors. I will keep to the front the ones I use weekly.

In my food pantry I organize my foods by type. I have all my canned vegetables in one row, my soups in another, any canned meats or fruits in their rows. One shelf is for snack food and I like to put some of those in open containers that can be pulled out and then replaced. I also sore most of the cat food on a different shelf in the pantry along with some staples. As I am organizing I  am pulling out what to toss or donate.

I review my serving pieces to see if I am still using all of them. As I work I wipe out each shelf before putting back items.

During this month I also clean out my refrigerator/freezer, my oven, my stove, and my microwave. I make a list of all the tasks to complete for me to call the kitchen zone “done”. Then I divide the list into four weeks and post it on my fridge. I put times on my calendar to work on each task and then cross them off when they are complete.

By the end of the month my kitchen is ready for anything I want to tackle over the holidays and I’ll even have some room for a few holiday decorations.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing Your Kitchen – The Zone Plan

I use a Zone Plan to organize my home. Each month I focus on one area. During the month of October I focus on my kitchen. The holidays are coming up fast and my kitchen will become very active. This is also the time of year that food drives kick into high gear, so it only makes sense to clear out the pantry now.

I like my kitchen to look uncluttered yet warm. I want my countertops ready for action. I want to feel that I can work on food preparation without clearing a space first. I want my stored food and spices organized so that I can easily put my hand on what I want to use. I want to feel happy working in this warm space.

I make a brainstorm list of all I need to do to make this vision come true.

Some items on the list might include:

  • Remove any items that are not daily used or that are beginning to annoy you – for me that is getting rid of a toaster that isn’t working well and a second coffee maker
  • Purge the cabinets – are we really using all those pots and pans? Do all of the food storage containers have matching lids?
  • Organize for convenience – put rarely used items to the back and often used items to the front of shelves that are easy to reach
  • Set up zones within the kitchen – designate a food preparation zone, cooking zone, dish zone, storage zone, and serving zone

Now that the plan is made, it is time to work the plan. I divide the tasks into four weeks and work one set of tasks each week. I schedule a time on my calendar to achieve this.

Week 1 – Cooking Zone
Tasks might include: clean the oven, stove, and microwave and organize and purge pots, pans, cooking utensils, and bake ware. If you have special cookware that is only used for a specific holiday, store that ware with the holiday decorations.

Week 2 – Food Preparation Zone
Tasks might include: clean the refrigerator/freezer and organize and purge cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, spices, mixers, blenders, and measuring cups and spoons. Toss spices that are beyond their expiration date.

Week 3 – Dish Zone
Tasks might include: clean your sink area and dishwasher and organize and purge your dishware, mugs, glasses, and flatware. Toss chipped, cracked, broken items as well as excess dishware.

Week 4 – Food Serving and Storage Zone
Tasks might include: organizing and purging placemats, napkins, trivets, large serving pieces, and going through your pantry and organizing and discarding food that has expired. Excess food that has not expired but that you don’t expect to use soon can be donated. When you replace the food in the pantry, group the foods by type – all soups together, all pasta, fruit, etc.

By the end of the month, you will love working in your kitchen. You are ready for anything the holidays throw at you.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer