The start of a new year or season brings the inevitable desire to streamline, simplify and reorganize your life. Assuming you’re an avid cook (which we sincerely hope you are), the kitchen is an obvious place to start. If you’ve racked up a disturbing amount of artisanal hot sauces or mason jars over the last year, we’ve got six tips and hard truths to abide by when reorganizing your kitchen.
1. Don’t Get Sentimental
Yes, cooking is all about channeling your creativity, but that doesn’t mean keeping every single appliance or item you’ve accumulated. Sure, Grandma’s heirloom cookie cutters should stay, but that nearly empty Sriracha bottle you keep telling yourself you’ll finish someday? It’s gotta go. Kitchen space is precious, and just like cleaning out your closet, you should get rid of anything that might have spoiled.
2. Hanging Is Your Friend
No matter the size of your kitchen, it may seem like there’s never enough cabinet or drawer space. The solution? Hanging! Instead of stuffing aprons and dish towels in a drawer, hang them in your kitchen for a useful and attractive display. If you’re at a loss for pot or pan space, think of installing a pot rack, which will provide easy grabbing while cooking and help you maximize your kitchen storage. Got a pantry? Utilize the door space by hanging an over-the-door kitchen organizer for spices and pantry goods.
3. Be Utilitarian
While your antique tortilla maker may dazzle on the counter (and conjure up images of much-needed margaritas), it probably isn’t an item you use every day. Organize your kitchen according to your needs—if there’s a non-stick pan that is the best for your morning scrambled eggs, put it in an easy-to-reach location, perhaps blocking the griddle pan that comes out once a month. Pack your own lunch? Store items like Ziploc bags, Tupperware and near the refrigerator for easy assembly.
4. Store Like with Like
It seems like a no-brainer, but placing similar items together is important, and often ignored. Organize your pantry and cabinets in categories for easy grabbing. When baking, for example, it’ll be helpful to know that your Bundt tin and cookie sheets are all in the same place, near the cabinet with flour, sugar, and baking powder.
5. File Containers
Tupperware tops and saucepan lids can easily pile up and clutter drawers or cabinets. Consider purchasing shelf organizers and/or lid racks to prevent lost lids and noisy drawer openings.
6. Repurpose When Possible
With an ever-growing roster of kitchen items, we’ve found that repurposing is essential in the kitchen. Decorative mugs make excellent holders for wooden spoons and spatulas, and leftover jars are perfect containers for grains. Got an unused decanter? Try it as a vase for flowers. Be careful when repurposing, though, it can sometimes lead to violating Rule #1, and you’ll end up with far too much clutter.