All it takes is a broken appliance to make you realize that when things aren’t running smoothly in the kitchen, they aren’t running smoothly throughout the house. Kate here, and that appliance story comes right from my home (it was a broken dishwasher), as do many of the tips that follow. When the kitchen is well organized, meal preparation is easier, it’s a true joy to entertain, and somehow the rest of the house seems cleaner as well. Here are 10 helpful tips that will beautify your culinary space, and make it a more functional, enjoyable place to be…
Keep Countertops Clean
Let’s start with the countertops, because this is where the meal preparation happens! Avoid the temptation to put items on display in your culinary workspace if they’re “just for show”. If you’re short on space and you must use the counter for storage on some level, be selective about what you leave out, opting for frequently used items that are helpful to have within arm’s reach. In other words, maybe there’s a better place for that wooden rooster, like on top of the fridge! [from Ptacek Home]
Maximize your storage space by celebrating the art of compartmentalizing. If custom-designed drawers are out of the question, opt for store-bought trays and drawer dividers to craft nooks and crannies for items such as utensils and muffin tins. [kitchen below designed by Karen Swanson of New England Design Works, from Pennville Custom Cabinetry]
Store Items in Clear Containers
There’s nothing worse than purchasing opaque canisters and having to open each one because you can’t remember what’s inside. Make it easy and opt for clear containers, such as these Weck Glass Jars from West Elm. If you prefer metal or ceramic containers, make sure you label them to take the guesswork out of locating important ingredients. And speaking of labeling…
Use Labels to Your Advantage
Even when containers are clear, it can be helpful to label the ingredients they hold. As someone who “just knew” she’d remember exactly which herbs and spices were in the unlabeled canisters (and later had to taste each item to figure it out), trust me when I say that labeling is important. How fabulous is this paint pen kitchen organization idea from A Beautiful Mess?! Paint pens and stylish writing get the job done:
Make Regular Clean-Up Easy
Getting in the habit of cleaning up on a regular basis is the key to maintaining a tidy kitchen. A drying rack is a step in the right direction, even if you have a dishwasher. After all, some items are too delicate to run through the regular cycle, while others are too large to fit in the dishwasher. Don’t let these items accumulate in the sink. By having a drying rack nearby, you can keep the dishes under control by getting in the habit of washing as you go. [Wire Kitchen Foldable Dish Rack below from West Elm]
Keep Well-Used Items Accessible
While a clean counter is helpful in any kitchen, it can also be helpful to have a couple of items out in the open, especially if these items are tools that are used often. This Marble Kitchen Utensil Holder from West Elm makes it easy to grab your favorite spoon or spatula. The marble adds a sleek touch to the kitchen, while the ability to have cooking essentials within arm’s reach prevents frantic rummaging through drawers during the cooking hour!
Group “Like” Items
Whether you’re organizing items on open shelving or coming up with a storage plan for your kitchen cabinets, it’s always helpful to group “like” items. Not only does this strategy create a clean, tidy appearance, it makes it possible to locate key items at a moment’s notice! [photo by Meikel Reece for Alice Lane Home Collection]
Make the Most of Your Space
By maximizing the space in your kitchen, you’re paving the way for an organized room. If your kitchen is on the small size, utilize the vertical space with wall-mounted shelving and hanging baskets that hold items such as produce. Why clutter the counter with a fruit bowl when this 2-Tier Copper Basket from CB2 can keep food safely stashed (and suspended)?!
Display Useful Items
One helpful rule of thumb when it comes to displaying items in the kitchen: don’t leave it out if it’s purely decorative. No, this isn’t a rigid rule… If you love that vase of flowers, display it with pride! But instead of setting out your entire vase collection, leave room for other interesting finds, such as a marble cutting board and a large pitcher. These are useful items that would end up in the cabinet if they weren’t on the counter. But since they are on the counter, you can enjoy looking at them and be content with the knowledge that you now have more space in the cabinet! [from R.Z. Owens Constructions]
Invest in Dual-Purpose Kitchen Supplies
Too much clutter creates the opposite of an organized kitchen. Cut down on “stuff” by taking the time to find dual-purpose pieces, such as a cutting board that can be flipped over and used as a serving tray. Below we see the Grid Cutting Board from CB2:
By taking the time to organize your kitchen, you can enjoy a culinary space where cooking endeavors run smoothly and everything is just where it should be. Bon appetit!