The 7 Habits That Keep Your Kitchen Organized
Despite our best attempts at home organization, many of us practice habits that may inadvertently undo our efforts. Just ask my family’s indoor garage, which holds a growing pile of useless items my husband wants to hold on to recycle or repurpose someday. This is my ongoing battle at home; sometimes I feel as if “it’s me against the world” when it comes to spreading my good habits onto the rest of the family. The clutter hotspots may be different for each household, but there are some common ones, like the kitchen. The root of the problem is the bad habits we picked up along our lives. Long-term bad habits are tough to break since they form their own life inside of us. The first step to promote a change is to admit we have bad habits that need to be fixed, and then be willing to adopt a healthier lifestyle. In fact, there are seven simple habits you can add to your routine that will help you create a simple and effective kitchen organization system.
- Don’t Toss Mail on The Kitchen Counter. It will be easy for paper to pile up if you are in the habit of tossing mail on the counter or entryway to the kitchen. When we get home, the last thing we want to do is go through bills and attend to paperwork. So, I recommend having a designated cubby or bin next to the entryway for this purpose. Open mail as soon as you receive it, keep what you need, and immediately shred useless mail. Buy a paper shredder, or even better, try to go digital instead. Contacting companies to unsubscribe from their mailing list is also a great way to avoid mail overload at home.
- Avoid Throwing Everything Inside Your Cabinets Before Guests Come! Oh yes, I know this classic speed-cleaning trick, but I assure you it will backfire in the long run. This method won’t actually help you stay organized, on the contrary, it will promote clutter in your cabinets. Let’s say the problem begins because you don’t have a utility room. The solution is simple: you can hang floating shelves on the walls, get a rolling cart or even an over-the-door shoe rack to store bottles and miscellaneous items that are sitting idly around the house (instead of cluttering your kitchen cabinets with cleaning supplies).
- Prevent Letting The Kitchen Sink Drown in a Pile of Dirty Dishes. Especially if you have kids or a big family, you may be used to finding new dirty dishes piling up in your sink by the minute. Then, the pile becomes so unmanageable that you opt to wait until you have more spare time to wash them. I suggest you attack this monster ASAP and encourage your family to get in the habit of washing their own dishes after they’re done using them. In other words, “if you use it, you clean it!” This habit does not only bring a benefit to us as parents but also, it will teach our kids to be more considerate and become more involved with household chores.
- Don’t Use Your Kitchen Junk Drawer For Real Junk. The junk drawer in our kitchen is not intended to become a trash can. If you want to tackle this drawer and stop this bad habit for good, then opt to organize it using a system that you can maintain. Start by removing all the items, categorizing and separating likes with likes, tossing out broken or useless items, and donating items you haven’t used in a year. Then, consider investing in drawer dividers or small bins to neatly store each item according to its category. A great tip is you can always repurpose shoe boxes lying around. Remember to clean the area before you start organizing and consider adding a drawer liner.
- Avoid Bringing Home More Items than You Have Space For. Running out of room in your kitchen? In that case, it’s time to follow the golden rule of organizing. Set up a system and follow the “one-in-out” rule. If you are adding a new kitchen pot to your collection, donate or sell the one you no longer use. If you fell in love with the adorable 12-spoon set you just purchased at Williams Sonoma, then donate the spoon set you currently own. The list goes on-- this is a simple habit that will make sure you never exceed your home’s storage space.
- Store Those Kitchen Appliances Taking Over Your Countertop. You may curse your home builders every day for your poor kitchen design, but this is not an excuse to have all your kitchen appliances lying around, taking over your precious countertop space. Sometimes our shopping habits are bigger than our actual storage space. Oftentimes, we may feel sentimentally attached to those appliances gifted on our wedding day. Then we risk getting to the point where we own two coffee makers, two blenders, two hand mixers, and so on. The first step to eliminate the clutter from your countertop is to reduce the number of items to the bare minimum and try to store as much as you can inside cabinets. When decluttering, ask yourself: “Do I need it?” “How often do I use it?,” and “When was the last time I used it?” If the answers are: “No,” “almost never,” and “a year ago,” then it’s time to let go of that item.
- Keep Away From Having Random Utensils Together in the Same Drawer. One of the fundamental principles of organizing is storing similar items together. For instance, the pasta colander shouldn’t go in the same drawer with baking utensils, the spatula shouldn’t go inside the knife drawer, and I would always suggest keeping your silverware collection away from your pots and pans. Most families fall into this bad habit because they feel they lack the storage space they need. However, this is the reality we most commonly face: dealing with a cabinet design that’s not ideal for our storage needs every day. However, “it is what it is!” and we need to do the best we can with what we have. Most importantly, keep in mind these five tips before you start organizing your kitchen drawers: 1) toss out all broken items, 2) keep only what you absolutely need, 3) donate what you haven’t used in a year but is still in good shape, 4) group like items together, and 5) prevent having your utensils/ small items moving around inside your drawers by using small containers or adjustable drawer dividers.
Even if you’re not big on home cooking, the kitchen is one of the most important places in your home to keep organized, especially if there are other people in the house. The kitchen area is inevitably a hub of activity because our lives at home tend to revolve around eating. However, you don’t need to get hung up on getting your own space to look just like the ultra-minimalist photos you see on Pinterest. Instead, focus on finding an effective organizational system that works for you and your family. Consider adopting this fresh approach to organizing, one that enables you to enjoy a long-time residence without the pressures of perfection.
Achieving a perfectly organized kitchen isn't the aim; instead, it's about creating a system that suits your family's unique needs. This is where Little Lunches, the meal planning app, steps in as a valuable ally. With its weekly personalized meal plans, it not only sparks culinary creativity but also ensures your family's dietary needs are met. Little Lunches automated meal plans and grocery lists take the guesswork out of meal prepping and shopping, helping you buy only what you need and reducing food waste.
But Little Lunches doesn't stop there; it empowers you to make the most of ingredients you already have at home by seamlessly incorporating them into your meal plans. It encourages efficient meal preparation and cost-effective cooking by suggesting ways to reuse ingredients throughout the week.
Whether you're a seasoned home cook or just looking to simplify your kitchen routines, Little Lunches provides the tools to take charge of your kitchen organization. Remember, it's not about chasing perfection; it's about finding a practical system that works for you and your family. Little Lunches offers this fresh approach to organization, enabling you to enjoy a well-organized kitchen without the undue pressure of reaching unattainable ideals.
By: Tania Jaar, Professional Organizer, for Little Lunches