In 2015, Americans spent over $67 billion on products alone for their kitchen, according to research by the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Yet, cooking has become highly mediated and removed from daily life. The percent of individuals eating out continues to rise regardless of how expensive it can be.
Now it’s easier than ever not to cook. Why stay at home and cook when all your friends are going out? Why make your lunch when you can run out to the corner deli? Why cook dinner when you can order off Seamless?
It’s easy to choose any of these options — especially when the task of cooking can feel overwhelming when your kitchen is cluttered and disorganized. In many ways the kitchen has become an accumulation of all our stuff.
Kitchen gadgets that we’ve bought and never use fill our drawers. Appliances that are only used during the holidays collect dust in the back of cabinets and fine china that only sees the light of day on special occasions is stored in valuable spaces we could be using.
After agreeing to host Thanksgiving this year for my family, I began decluttering my kitchen with the help of Meryl Starr, Professional Organizer in New York City. The goal: optimizing the little space I had and organizing the kitchen in a way that made sense.
“One of the most common mistakes people make when organizing their kitchen is organizing it in a way that doesn’t makes sense so they end up running from one end of the room to the other just to cook a simple meal,” says Starr.
Her lesson is making do with the space you have and creating an environment that encourages people to be in the kitchen and enjoy cooking. Here are some of her strategies.
Start Small And Declutter First
Kitchens tend to be very overwhelming. Start with a small drawer or cabinet, or try organizing the spice cabinet first. Once you’ve done that, begin decluttering before you buy any organization products or supplies. This makes it easier to see clearly what you might need before buying more stuff.
Look For Wasted Space
Pile food storage containers by size from large to small inside one another and toss any containers that don’t have a matching lid or base. If limited on cabinet space use a wall mounted sheet of pegboard with hooks to hold pots, pans and utensils.
Sort And Discard
One of the biggest causes of clutter in the kitchen is having too much stuff in it. Clean out the refrigerator at least once a week, the freezer every month. Do the same for the pantry too, about every month or two.
If the pantry is in disarray, arrange by category. Place all canned goods, all condiments and all cereals together. If necessary, break a group into separate categories, such as cereals into hot and cold.
If limited on space, decide what you don’t use on a daily basis and place those items into storage. Fine china, large appliances and kitchen linens are a good place to start. Companies like Stashable will store these items and deliver them when you need them. Freeing up tons of valuable space in the kitchen.
Always put things back where they belong and label the contents of shelves so other members of the household can get used to putting things back in their correct places.
If you have the space, reserve a lower cabinet for children’s bowls, plates and cups. They will appreciate being able to get their own things and they may even get in the habit of putting everything away.
Lastly, go through the pantry every month or two to remind yourself what you have.
Turn Furniture Into Storage
Install a permanent bench under a window or in a corner. You can consider an enclosed bench whose seat or front opens to provide storage for items like cookbooks, paper towels, fruit baskets, cutting boards and candles.
If you need more storage for your kitchen visit Stashable.com. We’ll pick up, store and deliver your items back whenever you need them — giving you more space to cook in your kitchen.