Autumn is nearly upon us, and the focus will soon shift from outside to inside the house. If, like me, you’ve had a hectic summer, it’s time to settle in for the more meditative months. Part of that process is taking inventory. Decluttering and reorganizing might be in order, and with Thanksgiving and the Christmas season only a blink away, starting in the kitchen makes sense.
You want to get ready for the upcoming feasts, but when you are already moving fast, organizing your kitchen can seem overwhelming . I understand completely, which is why I suggest starting now, while there’s a window of time before the holidays hit.
It’s possible to do anything in just 15 minutes a day. In fact, the last time I decluttered and organized my kitchen, that’s the method I used, moving around the kitchen one shelf or drawer at a time. Consistency is the key when going that route. Otherwise, a marathon might be in order.
Either way, here are some ways to make the task less odious and more productive.
- Listen to a podcast, an audio book, or music while you work.
- Have a friend over to talk while you work, then return the favor.
- Delegate a portion of the job to other family members and pitch in together. Afterwards, reward yourself with pizza or take-out and a movie.
- If you plan to reorganize your kitchen, do it as you declutter by labeling each shelf and drawer with what you want it to include. Designate a spot on your counter for objects to wait temporarily until their new location is free. It helps to leave the labels on a little while so that your family can adjust to your new kitchen storage plan.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen
- Remove everything from the drawer or shelf you are working on. I like to gently dump contents onto an old towel on a tray. This keeps my counter from being scratched and prevents things from rolling off and crashing to the floor.
- Clean and dry the drawer or shelf.
- Put back only what you want to keep and will really use.
- Relocate objects belonging elsewhere.
- Discard throw-away items.
- Put things to be given away in a box for donation.
- Move to the next area or schedule another decluttering session for later.
How to Organize Your Kitchen Storage
Decide where things will go in a logical manner. For instance, you’ll want dishes to be available either near their point of use (the table), the dishwasher, or if possible, both. Consider including work stations for meal planning, cooking, food preparation, food storage, cleanup, baking, and food preservation.
Depending on the space limitations, you may have to combine functions. The food preparation and food storage stations could be combined, for example, and the baking and cooking stations might work well together.
Try to arrange your kitchen storage in a way the reduces the number of steps you’ll need to take in the triangle between the stove, sink, and refrigerator.
Keep your cookbooks, recipe binders, blank paper, computer, writing implements, and anything else you use for meal scheduling at your menu planning station.
The cooking station centers around the stove and oven(s). Here you would locate pots and pans, casserole dishes, pot holders, trivets, cooking utensils, and the like.
Locate knives, cutting boards, openers, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, and measuring cups in the food preparation station. The blender, mixer, and large spoons for stirring should be handy, also. It helps to have a free counter beside the refrigerator to act as a landing pad for things coming out of or going into the refrigerator.
The food storage station belongs nearest the refrigerator. This is where you would keep things like food storage containers, plastic wrap, and freezer storage bags.
The cleanup station should be around the kitchen sink and dishwasher. It provides storage for dishcloths, dishtowels, scrubbers, dishsoap, dishwashing detergent, etc.
Gather your cookie sheets, pie pans, rolling pins, cookie cutters, plus baking supplies like flour and baking powder in a baking station ideally close to the food preparation station. It helps to have everything you need to whip up the delectable blackberry cobbler recipe in one place for easy access.
If you can, freeze, or dry food, a food preservation station can save you a lot of time during the harvest season. Locate any canning, freezing, or food dehydrating supplies here.
Plan Purchases Ahead of Time
As you go through your kitchen, keep a running list of things to purchase. Do you need more pie plates, a nut cracker, candles, more serving dishes, or glassware? Put it on the list and start picking up the items before the holiday rush.
Planning ahead is one strategy in the quest for a better life. Take time now to put your kitchen in order and get the jump on the holiday time crunch. I’ll be doing the same in my own home and will report on my progress.
You’ll thank yourself.