Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Monday, June 25, 2007

An Organizer's Place is in the Kitchen

This afternoon I re-organized parts of my kitchen. With the AC on and the kids occupied, it was a good time to do so. It probably doesn't surprise you that I love an organized, simple and labeled kitchen (see silverware drawer). But professional organizers change the organization of their spaces, too, and I just felt like some areas needed to be weeded through.

A 3-shelf upper cabinet had drinking glassware and cups, but after staring at the top shelf (martini glasses, champagne glasses, shot glasses, etc.) I said to myself, "Self. Get real. When's the last time you had a cocktail in one of those?" So I took it all down (kept only 4 pilsner glasses) and put the rest in the basement with the extra serveware. Then came the Tupperware/plastic containers -- yikes. I really am not fond of organizing those, but mine are all in a plastic slide-out bin so it doesn't look that bad. Some more weeding through, tossing, and I was ready to return the bin.

Set up zones to help things stay where they belong, such as a baking zone, cooking and spice zone, etc. Keeping all the "like" items together saves a lot of steps looking for things in the kitchen. You could have a baking area where you keep your flour, sugar, mixer and bowls, and utensils specific to baking. Put things near to where they are used. (I have my coffee cups, grinder, and French press all in the same cabinet, near the freezer where I store the beans). Cups, glasses, dishes, cutlery should be ideally located in the drawers and cupboards closest to the dishwasher. Pots and pans go beside the stove if possible. Gadgets go in the drawers right below the counter where prep work is done. Obviously it is not always possible to make these things happen based on space, kitchen configuration and storage, but it is worth examining.

What other changes should you try? Get rid of or move small kitchen appliances you rarely use; keep in storage with platters, holiday serving dishes, vases, etc. Save your counters for items you use daily. Install under-the-counter items such as a clock, TV, radio, can opener, a paper towel rack, spice rack, stemware rack, or coffeemaker. Under the sink, put hanging wire baskets/holders on the backs of cabinet doors to hold cleaning stuff, wrap, etc. For deep cabinets, buy the slide-out baskets or shelves that come on tracks that mount to the shelf. Consider buying cabinet pullouts, tiered racks, specialty holders, flatware trays, drawer organizers and other kitchen organizers to help maximize space. Choose containers that stack (preferably square or rectangular in shape as they are more space-efficient than round).

Take a look at your kitchen with a critical eye!