Kitchens tend to be clutter magnets. Because they see so much activity on a daily basis, keeping them clean and clutter-free can really be a complicated chore. Kitchen clutter isn’t just an eyesore, though. It really makes cooking healthy meals a pain in the neck and it increases the risk of cross-contact with food allergies.
So what do you do if your kitchen is prone to clutter?
Here’s a simple organizing checklist to help you keep kitchen clutter at bay:
1. Determine what activities you want to do in the kitchen. Try not to choose more than three or four, unless it is absolutely necessary (e.g. eat, prepare food/drinks, wash dishes, and handle the mail).
2. Decide what needs to stay in the kitchen in order to do those activities—everything else needs to be stored elsewhere.
3. Design your activity centers (beverage center, baking center, cleanup center, dining center, etc).
4. Frequently used items should be the most accessible. Occasionally used items should be reasonably accessible. Seasonal items can be stored in the recesses of the cabinets or elsewhere.
5. Clear the horizontal surfaces (like the countertops and table) first.
6. Make sure 2/3 of the counter space is clear (this gives you room to work).
7. Keep only appliances that are used every day on the counters.
8. Get rid of the excess. If you don’t use it donate it.
9. Use your vertical space to store things (cabinets, shelving, ceiling pot racks, hooks, etc).
10. Buy multi-functional furniture (they make the coolest tables with built-in storage these days).
Tackle the Refrigerator
1. Store like items together just like you would see at the grocery store, only without the junk.
2. Package leftovers in clear containers and store them in the front of the refrigerator so you don’t forget about them.
3. Do a quick clean out of refrigerator weekly. Wipe down the outside and any spills on a daily basis if needed. This will minimize the risk of cross-contact with foods if anyone in your house has dietary restrictions, but it also keeps dirt, mold, and bacteria from taking over.
Clear Out and Reorganize the Cabinets and Pantry
1. Again, set the pantry up like a grocery store.
2. Make sure the most frequently used items are accessible.
3. Clean out the pantry every six months.
1. Create an inbox for incoming mail and papers.
2. Clear table by dinner time (yes before dinner) each night.
3. Clear table immediately after dinner each night.
4. Create rules about what can be stored in the kitchen.
5. Wash and put away dishes daily.
6. Wipe counters nightly and as needed.
7. Sweep nightly.
8. Mop at least weekly
9. Limit gadget purchases (How many Salad-Shooter-type gizmos do you really need?). Keep it simple.
10. Work with you natural habits and needs to create routines.
I would love to hear how you keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free. Feel free to share you tips below. Or, if you’re struggling with clutter, feel free to share that, too.