In today’s busy lifestyle our kitchens have truly become the hub of the home. We ask one room to perform in so many different ways. Not only do we prepare meals in our kitchens but many pay bills, manage kids school papers, help with homework, entertain, etc. No wonder entering this room can make us feel overwhelmed. But there is HOPE!
With just a few “tweaks” here and there you too can have a kitchen that functions for the way your family lives.
Let’s start with the classic function of the kitchen – cooking. A great way to keep your pantry organized is to have a meal plan. Sound funny? Here is the reasoning. If you know what meals are planned you will know what ingredients you need on hand and will stock only these. This saves overloading your cupboards with a mish-mash of goods that don’t work to create a meal and saves your grocery bill because you won’t be buying items on a whim. You now have a plan and will buy only what is needed to make your meals. With this system you won’t find expired canned goods in the back of the pantry unused. Remember any wasted ingredient equals wasted money.
With your pantry cleared and stocked with only the ingredients you will use let’s talk about a few ways to keep it organized.
Keep like items together. Create zones for canned goods, dry goods, baking items, snacks, paper products, small appliances, recycling, etc.
Put items you use daily at eye level.
Create a lunch station. Use bins or baskets to organize all items used to prepare a sack lunch. With a quick visit to the lunch station your child can pack his/her own lunch.
Use every inch of possible storage space by using a turntable in a corner cupboard or adding an extra shelf or under shelf basket in a cupboard.
If your pantry has a door use an over the door rack to add even more storage.
Remove goods that come in a bag to a container with rigid sides. This allows you to store vertically and you won’t have items falling all over your shelves.
If you store crackers, pop tarts, granola bars, etc in their original box tear off the top flaps. No one ever closes the top anyway; this way you will create a more organized appearance.
If you want to go all the way label, label, label. This helps family members get things back to where they belong and won’t leave mom with all the responsibility.
Well we’ve tackled the pantry. How are your kitchen counters looking? They may need more TLC than the pantry. With the kitchen being the hub of the home our counters collect dishes, appliances, keys, paper work, backpacks, electronics and more.
Here are a few quick tips to keep your counters clear of clutter.
Choose only 1 or 2 appliances you use daily to keep on the counter. Store others in the pantry or appliance garage.
Load the dishwasher after each meal. Store everyday dishes near the dishwasher for easy unloading.
Have a basket for each family member and fill with belongings that found there way to the kitchen counter. Try this rule - by bedtime baskets must be emptied.
Install hooks for backpacks, coats and keys
Have a charging station for electronics; store bought or homemade is fine too.
Give that paper a home. Create a master binder. This binder will contain all things paper. From school hot lunch menus to party invitations, dance class schedule to book order forms. Use dividers to categorize for each child and or event and place all those important papers in one place. The next time you need to reference an important paper you’ll know right where to find it.
As you work to organize your multi-tasking kitchen remember that it is a process - but one with HOPE! Every step you take is moving you closer to conquering that clutter. Commit to one small step a day and watch the hope return. You can do it!