If you love to cook, your kitchen space is important. If you hate to cook, it’s even more important.
Those of us who love to cook and bake know the value of a tidy kitchen with every piece of equipment in it’s rightful place and easily reached. If you don’t love cooking, however, it’s even more important that it be as pleasant an experience as it can be. There’s nothing fun about rooting through a drawer to find the lemon zester or trying to put your big pot of chili into individual plastic containers only to find half of the lids have mysteriously disappeared.
Part of enjoying the space is knowing that all of your equipment, utensils and pantry items are properly stored and easy to reach, when you need them. Maximizing and improving your kitchen storage can help you kill the clutter and keep it that way going forward.
© kitchen storage image via Shutterstock
Countertops aren’t storage
The countertops are for prepping ingredients and cooking, not for storing every gadget that you’ve received as gifts in the last twenty years. That said, there are some pieces of equipment that are used so often that finding a way to store them off the counter is, not to put too fine a point on it: counter-productive!
For example, my coffee machine gets a daily workout. Some days, it gets a three or four times a day workout. Putting it away just doesn’t make sense since I’m going to be hauling it out too often to count.
The key is to prioritize: which pieces of equipment need to stay out and ready for use and which are used less often and can be put away when not needed? Are there some items that you never use and perhaps could donate or sell? Make a list and see what you can do to clear up the counter clutter.
Packaging takes up space
The pantry is usually out of sight and, as a result, it’s contents are often out of mind. You can free up a lot of storage space, however, by being mindful of what’s in your pantry before you bring more supplies in.
- Check your canned and jarred goods to see if they’ve expired and toss the ones that have.
- Combine half empty packages of the same things into one, eliminating one more space stealers.
- Put dates on jars that don’t have them, like herbs and spices, so you can be sure to keep track of their shelf life.
- Dump the store packaging and put your dry goods in mason jars or food-grade plastic containers, preferably of similar size or shape: you can see through them to know how much you have left and will save yourself space because the jars or containers will fit well together on the shelf, needing less space.
- Keep an inventory of what’s in your pantry so that you don’t buy ten more of something that you already have in abundance, even if that sale seems too good to miss.
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Make use of blank spaces
The back of the pantry door, the blank side or a wall space that isn’t doing much of anything else except holding up the house are good spots to add hooks and pegboards, to hang up utensils and kitchen tools that need an easy to access ‘home’ in your kitchen.
A plastic shoe organizer that hangs on the back of a door is an ideal place for spice, gelatine, cocoa or other small package foodstuffs. You can even reserve the lower rows for things the kids need access to so they can get their own snacks once in a while, saving you from the interminable: “Moooooom! We’re hungry!”
Keep your undersink space organized and you’ll find a lot of extra room there too!
Another underused ‘blank’ space is the top of cabinets. This is a great spot for those rarely used items, like Grandma Thora’s soup tureen and gravy boat set. You’ll need a stool to reach them for those few occasions when they are making an appearance but it’s worth the effort to free up precious cupboard space down below.
Learn to love a Lazy Susan
These deceptively simple devices make it possible for you to see what’s in the back of a cupboard with a simple twist of the wrist. Also, vertical shelf inserts (to position plates, cookie sheets and other items), shelf risers so that all your items are visible and used and drawer organizers. A magnetized spice rack so you can take all those tiny jars off the shelf and still have them in easy reach.
Take a trip to your local kitchen or storage gadget shop and have fun. Just make sure to bring the inside measurements of your cupboards and drawers or your fun could turn into a long wait in the return line.
Do you have any neat ways to get more storage in your kitchen?