Organizing the Kitchen Zone


October is the perfect time to organize your kitchen. The next few months will involve a lot of holiday cooking. Food drives begin to show up everywhere so it is a great opportunity to donate foods you have overstocked this past year. This opens up space for holiday cooking supplies.

My Kitchen Strategy:

  1. Look at my motivation. Why work on the kitchen now? Are my counter tops cluttered? Do I have trouble finding needed items in my pantry? Do I have items taking up space in my freezer that I can’t even identify? Yep, and I want it fixed before the holidays!
  2. Create my vision. 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 cookie or pie dough. I want all my basic stored foods and spices organized and fresh so I can easily put my hand on what I want without missing a beat. 
  3. Brainstorm. I list all the things I can think of that will make my kitchen match my vision. Some of the tasks are: clearing out items I no longer need or love, looking for new storage ideas, organizing items for more convenience, better defining my kitchen zones (food preparation, cooking, dishes, food storage, and food serving). 
  4. Write our my goals. Writing out my goals helps me focus. I make my goals specific and measurable. I print them out and post them on my refrigerator and cross them off when met.
  5. Develop a timeline. Here is where my calendar becomes my friend.  I look at all the available times I have to work on my goals. To make this doable, I plan for some unexpected things to come up and I break down bigger goals into smaller parts. Instead of booking a day of “organizing kitchen drawers”, I schedule “organizing the knife drawer” on Oct. 4 at 3:00.
  6. Follow the timeline. As best I can, I honor the times I have set aside to do the tasks. If something comes up and I can’t do the work at the scheduled time, I reschedule it. 
  7. Reward myself. When the kitchen zone is complete, I give myself a reward. It might be flowers on the table or a nice candlelit meal.
For more details of following this plan, visit my website www.timespaceorg.com and purchase my book, From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home, or sign up for my Zone Plan Teleclass program where I guide you through a new zone each month.  



Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

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

Minimalizing Kitchen “Stuff”

Every time I work in my kitchen zone I try to reduce the amount of cooking “stuff” I own. Everyone has certain gadgets that they love and use frequently but sometimes we just hold on to things because they were expensive, or we used them more frequently at one time in our lives, or just because we think we might want to use them one day.

Take my food processer – please! That food processer with its gadgets (several of which have never been used), takes up almost a whole shelf in one of my cupboards. I maybe use it once a year. It’s cumbersome to set up. The main container has a small crack. It’s hard to clean. A good knife works as well as anything for chopping. A good mixer or immersion blender will take care of about anything else I would want to do.

Many kitchen gadgets that promise to make food prep easier or more gourmet like just end up in the back of the kitchen drawer or back of the cupboard. I find it better to use basic tools that can do multiple things than to have multiple things that can only do one thing. Some good quality knives are important to me, but do I need a whole fancy set with matching handles? I tend to use 3 or 4 over and over while the others just get neglected.

My cast iron Dutch oven with lid and my cast iron skillets ( two sizes) get used weekly. I have a few other skillets that do get used fairly often. But I have way too many sauce pans. I have a huge mixing bowl that I used to use every year to make big batches of fruitcake. I have not made fruitcake for at least 10 years. I guess I have been holding on to it because I just “might make it again someday.” Who am I kidding?

As I organize my kitchen this year, I am seriously paying attention to how I am really cooking now and getting rid of some of this unneeded “stuff”. I feel that the open spaces will make finding what I do use easier to locate and that kitchen maintenance will be more streamlined.

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

Organzing Your Kitchen


I like to use a zone plan to organize my home. Each month I tackle a different area. October is a prime month for the kitchen. The holidays are right around the corner and the kitchen will become a very busy place. Seasons have changed so you are ready to put away the ice cream maker and pull out the crock pot. This is also the time of year that food drives kick into high gear. Take this time to clear out the food that has accumulated because of impulse buying or overbuying.

Before starting, take a long look at your current kitchen set up. What is bothering you? Are your counters crowded? Are your spices a jumble? Are some often used items hard to reach? Create a vision of how you would like your kitchen to look and feel by the end of this month. Make a brainstorm list of all that needs to happen to make this vision come true.

Some items on your list might include:

  • Declutter your surfaces – what items are not used daily?
  • Purge your cabinets – how many plastic containers or saucepans do you need?
  • Organize for convenience – are your often used items easy to reach?
  • Set up zones – do you have a clear food preparation zone, cooking zone, dish zone, storage zone and serving zone?

Now tackle the project. Divide your kitchen into 4 zones and tackle just one zone a week. This will keep the job from being overwhelming.

  • Week 1 – Cooking Zone – Clean the stove, oven, and microwave. Organize pots, pans, cooking utensils, and bake-ware. If your space is crowded, consider giving away pots that are rarely used. If you have special cookware that is used only for a specific holiday, store that ware with the holiday decorations.
  • Week 2 – Food Preparation Zone – Clean out the refrigerator as well as organize cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, spices, mixers, blenders, measuring cups and spoons. Get rid of duplicates. Toss foods and spices that are past their prime.
  • Week 3 – Dish Zone – Clean your sink area and dishwasher. Organize your dishware, mugs, glasses, and flatware. Discard items you don’t need or those that are broken.
  • Week 4 – Food Serving Zone and Food Storage Zone – Look over placemats, napkins, trivets, large serving pieces, and any groups of items you have not already organized. When you go through your pantry, pull out any cans that you have been holding on to and are reaching expiration. Donate these to a food pantry. When you replace the food in your pantry, group the foods by type – all soups together, all pasta, all fruits, etc.

By the end of the month you will love your organized kitchen space. You are ready for the holiday cooking!

For more details on organizing your kitchen visit my website www.timespaceorg.com and purchase my book From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer