The kitchen is the heart of any home — but does your home have heart disease? Are cooking and cleaning more of a chore than they need to be — because your cabinets and pantry are jumbled and disorganized? Try these tips for clearing the clutter and setting up an efficient and functional kitchen.
set up a “station” for each of the five basic kitchen activities
keep your equipment nearest the appropriate center
making it easier for you to perform kitchen duties
cleaning — sink, dishwasher, trashcan, soap, rags, sponges, etc.
cooking — stove, pots, pans, microwave, toaster, etc.
food prep — countertop, mixing bowls, blender, measuring cups, etc.
food storage — refrigerator, Tupperware, canned foods, etc.
serving — dishes, linens, candles, flatware, glasses, etc.
pay attention to your movement from one center to the next
you should be able to reach major appliances in only a few steps
set up your kitchen as a triangle
moving from stove to sink to refrigerator
keep these paths clear of obstacles — trash cans, dog dish, etc.
remember that even non-perishable foods go bad
go through your cabinets and clean out
get rid of anything rancid, old, stale, or hairy
follow some basic guidelines about how long food stays edible
canned foods — 2-5 years
cereal — 6 months
pasta — 1 year
spices — 6-12 months
flours — 3-6 months
grains and legumes — 1 year
dried herbs — 6 months
condiments — 1 year
do you buy in bulk?
what do you normally buy more of — boxed, frozen, or fresh foods?
do you eat in the kitchen or in the dining room?
is the kitchen a social and family center?
do you have need of a computer in the kitchen?
do you want a TV or CD player in the kitchen?
how many meals a day do you cook? how many people do you cook for?
do you do much large-scale entertaining?
do you prepare many elaborate or complicated meals?
do you want a “pass-through” to the dining room?
what items do you use most frequently in your kitchen?
how many recipe books do you have? how often do you use them?
do you have any physical limitations?
are you tall or short — requiring more high or low storage?
limit yourself to one category of paraphernalia per area — glasses on one shelf, dishes on another, etc.
avoid storing food and cookware together in the same cabinet
group foods in categories for easy access — canned vegetables, baking goods, breakfast foods, etc.
alphabetize spices in a rack to make them easier to locate
keep small packets of gravy, Jell-O, and sauces together in a basket
storage tools can do wonders with your current spaces
stepped shelving makes use of the back space in a deep cabinet
drawer dividers keep utensils under control
rectangular storage containers take less space than round ones
choose containers that stack
line up pot lids and flat cookware in a vertical rack
use overhead bins, cup hooks, and racks for hanging storage
use pullout racks and stacking bins to make use of dead space
save your counters for items you use dailyClick here for reuse options!
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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