Howdy folks! How’s the kitchen organization coming along? Last week in part 1 we talked about the first task in organizing your kitchen: decluttering. It’s understandably a massive undertaking for most of us but a necessary one before you even start looking at kitchen storage. To be honest, we ourselves haven’t been able to set aside a big enough block of time to completely declutter our kitchen yet either. The truth is, we haven’t had the chance to ship the kids off to their grandparents.
What we have been doing is decluttering for 15 minutes every day–a tip you might know from our article on beating back-to-school clutter. It’s been pretty successful so far and we love how we’re finally able to use a cutting board on the countertop without relocating half the kitchen.
Give these timed sessions a try if you find yourselves short on time or babysitters. It’ll allow you to start putting some of these kitchen storage tips to use even if you haven’t completed decluttering yet.
Kitchen Storage Tips
So, let’s be optimistic and assume that you’ve purged as much as you can. Your kitchen may look worse than when you started, with the contents of your cabinets scattered on chairs, tables and counters. It’s time to get methodical and start making some sense out of what’s left. Personal preference plays a big part in choosing kitchen storage options, so have a look through the tips below and use them in your own kitchen if they make sense for you and your family.
It should go without saying that you should store similar items together, like spices and sauces, regardless of your choice of kitchen storage. The problem with most kitchen cabinets is that the items at the back are always hard to access. This is especially true with deeper cupboards like the ones under your counters.
It’s a shame, then, that some variation of these commercially available sliding organizers aren’t standard for kitchen cabinets, because they’re so cool! Have a look around the internet or your local housewares supply store for the various types that are available. Lazy Susans designed for cabinets are also great for spices and other items that typically get buried in the back of your cupboard because of their size.
More economical, do-it-yourself alternatives to sliding organizers are baskets (wicker, plastic, etc) or even rectangular cake pans from your local dollar store. Sliding these in and out of your cupboard still allows for easy access to items stored at the back.
For cabinets that have inefficient use of vertical space rather than horizontal space, try using wire or plastic racks that that either sit on a shelf or hang underneath it. Essentially these add another shelf between your shelves. Instead of stacking your various sized cups, plates and bowls on top of each other, these racks make it easier to both store and use them.
We have some of these in our own cabinets for dishes and bowls and they work well, but I have to admit that we need more for our cups too. So much so that I make it a point to empty the dishwasher only after a big cup of coffee. I’m not very talented at Jenga, especially when the pieces are mugs and my hands are entwined by the cobwebs of sleep. I know you’re picturing that right now, but better that you don’t. Do as I say and not as I do and get yourself some of these racks.
If you’re short on cabinet space, don’t forget that there’s room on the inside of your cabinet doors for storage. Pre-made solutions are available, but a great DIY solution for adding storage to your cupboards is to mount old magazine racks on to the doors to hold plastic wrap, foil and wax paper boxes. You can also use them to store smaller cutting boards.
Another storage solution we’ve found useful in rooms other than the kitchen are those inexpensive over-the-door shoe organizers. If you’re lucky enough to have a pantry with a full size door, hang a shoe organizer on the inside of it. And for the rest of your kitchen cabinet doors, all you need to do is cut them down to fit. Mount adhesive hooks on the inside of the doors to hang them from and you’re done. One of these shoe organizers should be good for at least 2 cabinet doors.
We haven’t used them in our kitchen yet, but we do have one on our foyer’s closet door to hold essential knick-knacks like small umbrellas and gloves. Without it, these items would be buried in the corner of the closet or worse, lost somewhere else. Note that they will not prevent you from losing the same side of your gloves every year, although your mileage may vary.
Most people have trays or dividers for their cutlery drawers, but why stop there? Larger dividers can be used in the drawer that holds cooking utensils, and smaller ones can be used for your junk drawer. If your junk drawer also contains small items like elastic bands and twist ties, use sealable containers to keep these organized. Containers will also prevent these choking hazards from getting into the wrong tiny little hands or worse, tiny little mouths.
Let’s face it. Most of the clutter that bothers you is probably living on your countertops. Many of these items are there because they’re used too often to be put away. One trick to reduce the appearance of clutter is to group often used, like items together. Put your salt, pepper, butter and oil on a cake stand or a tray so they not only have a home, but are also condensed into a smaller space.
A more complex option would be to move items up above the countertop, onto the walls above. This can be tricky depending on whether you have backsplash and the type you have, but it’s worth a look.
One of the many manufacturers who make kitchen storage products to help with this is family favourite IKEA. Their Fintorp series of products are made specifically for above-counter storage. If the style is appropriate for your kitchen, you can even get rid of that unwieldy knife block on your countertop by installing their magnetic knife rack above it.
We’ve saved the best for last. Labels and label makers are the organizer’s best friend. They’re even the would-be organizer’s best friend. We should know; we own two label makers!
In all seriousness though, even if you don’t have a label maker, adding any type of label on kitchen storage items like containers or shelves will help items find their way home. One of the best ways to stay organized is to return items to where they belong consistently. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “A place for everything, everything in its place.”
Keep in mind that unless you’re going for a Labels-R-Us theme for your kitchen décor, an abundance of labels in plain sight can add to the appearance of clutter. It’s probably best to restrict your labeling frenzy to containers and shelves hidden from casual viewing.
Your Kitchen Storage Ideas