Unless you design your kitchen and pantry from scratch, you will never have the exact storage you want and need. You can increase your storage and improve overall organization, though, in your existing setup. Simply follow these five easy steps.
1. Go through your kitchen from top to bottom.
Pull everything out of cabinets, drawers and the pantry. Set aside items you never use, such as that juicer you got as a wedding gift and any other dusty appliances, dishware or kitchen tools. These make excellent donations to your local charitable organization or in an upcoming garage sale; just store them elsewhere in the meantime.
2. Create zones.
Think about the location of every cabinet, drawer and shelf in the kitchen and pantry, then reorganize so that items get stored near where they get used. In the pantry, consider dividing shelves and other storage space into zones. This excellent article on the Better Homes and Gardens website offers a plan for doing exactly that. Zones for baking, quick breakfasts, to-go lunches and easy weeknight meals keep your food items organized and make meal prep much easier. Zones get labeled so that anyone in the family can help with unloading the groceries and other supplies.
3. Add shelves.
Now that you have only necessary items in your kitchen and pantry, decide whether or not certain spaces need to be and could be reshelved. A handy family member or professional could easily knock out existing shelves and install a different number and configuration. Many older homes simply don’t have a setup that suits today’s families, and pantries often get reworked to meet modern needs.
4. Buy and use bins.
Once you have a general layout in place, hit the organization store or aisle for bins and other containers for grouping items. Clear plastic and wire bins make excellent containers for organizing items by zone, as recommended in step 2, and for general tidiness. Grabbing a bin with everything you need takes much less time than standing in your pantry hunting for separate ingredients, and if you know all bags and foils are in one bin, you don’t waste time searching for leftover containers after a meal. Be sure to measure every space for which you need a bin or other container before going to the store.
5. Pick up and install other organization items.
While shopping the organization store or aisle, look for other items that can help you maintain a neat kitchen and pantry. Under-the-shelf wire containers hold smaller items, further increasing your shelf space, as can similar racks for the back of doors. Imagine having all of your spices easily accessible on the back of a cabinet or pantry door. Magnets and hooks also allow you to hang items for easy access outside of a shelf or drawer. You might want to also pick up a step stool if you don’t already have one to reach all of your newly organized areas.
If you need further inspiration and direction for optimizing the storage of your kitchen and pantry, check out these setups from a popular organization store. You can invest in such a system, or you can use the examples shown on the website to inspire a DIY version.
Once you have a place for everything and everything in its place, stress to your family members the importance of keeping the kitchen and pantry neat and tidy. If they don’t comply, you can simply hide their favorite food item to prove your point. Next time they put an item away, they might think twice about not placing it where it belongs.
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