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You’ve rummaged your cabinets, scrubbed the counters, and finished washing the overflowing pile of dishes that has been haunting you for days (weeks, months….) and your kitchen is finally squeaky clean! Congratulations! Now comes for the real challenge: how to actually keep it that way. Here are five one-time tasks to keep your kitchen organized for good:
1-) Show off your cookware
Property Brothers is one of my favorite shows. Jonathon and Drew have great advice and are so fun to watch together. I disagree, however, with one opinion that Drew once gave. He said that a pots-and-pans rack is a sign that a kitchen doesn’t have enough storage. I see the point, but I personally believe that a good set of pots and pans is an investment to be shown off! Plus it’s always easier to grab a pot off a rack than to rummage through a cabinet even if you have sufficient kitchen space!
The trick here is to create a system that looks as classy as it is functional. We used a little wall in our kitchen and hung our pans on inexpensive IKEA Fintorp rails with the 4″ hooks (note: if you do not live near an IKEA, you can find the 22.5” rails and 31” rails on Amazon. Amazon also sells both the small and large rails with the 3″ hooks, but I have not seen the 4″ hooks we used. ) . If you have zero wall space or live in an apartment where drilling holes in the walls is not feasible, you can buy a vertical floor rack that you can just pop in an unused corner. As a last resort, you can buy organization systems for inside the cabinets to help you fit more pans in neatly.
2-) Switch to glass
You know those pesky tupperware containers that always seem to lose their lids and end up all over your cabinet, no matter how many times you reorganize them? Ditch ’em. Not only do plastics leach harmful chemicals over time, but Pyrex (or other glass) stacks much more neatly. Invest in just a few different sizes (our favorite size is the 3-cup) and your cabinet will be instantly transformed!
Side note: If you’re not feeling motivated it’s a good idea to at least get rid of plastic containers that have a scratched appearance. The “scratches” are from the plastic leaching! And don’t forget, many plastic containers are recyclable!
3-) Stop buying canned goods
Once upon a time, my husband and I needed red wine vinegar for our green bean salad while we were cooking New Year’s Eve dinner at my mommom’s (my grandmother). We opened up her lazy suzan cabinet only to find a maze of canned goods, vinegars, oils, and olives. It took all of our strength to rotate the lazy susan, but eventually we found three bottles of red wine vinegar. Two expired 3 years earlier.
I know I’m not alone in this experience (ok, maybe finding two bottles of expired VINEGAR is a little over the top). People like to stock up on canned goods because they’re cheap and have a good shelf life. But canned goods take up a ton of space! In addition, they can still be more expensive than the alternatives and tend to be lined with toxic BPA.
The solution? Donate the canned goods you have and buy or cook alternatives instead. Buy dried beans, make a big batch of soup and freeze the extra, and use fresh tomatoes in place of chopped canned tomatoes. It’s a great opportunity to get creative, too!
4-) Move mail out of the kitchen
I have a superstition that kitchen counters and dining room tables are magnets for mail. All the pre-approved credit card offers, store circulars, and catalogs just sneak their way right there. It’s therefore crucial to develop a system for organizing mail that is nowhere near the kitchen or dining room. You can even make a house rule that mail isn’t allowed in the kitchen!
In our home, Ted always retrieves the mail and we go through it immediately after he gets home from work. Normally about a third to a half of it is junk and goes straight into recycling. I also keep a small wooden crate for my catalogs and a wire rack for anything that needs attending to. This way the paper clutter is dealt with every night and kept at a minimum.
5-) Declutter the counters
I’ve saved the best for last. It’s a common piece of advice but it’s worth repeating: cluttered counters make the whole kitchen look disorganized and make cooking and cleaning a nightmare. Fortunately, if you take advantage of some of the advice above first you will have made some room in your cabinets to place items that are hogging up your counter space. Just avoid of getting into the habit of putting items back onto the counter if you don’t use them frequently. Otherwise decluttering the counters will be more of a daily battle than a one-time task…
OK folks, those are my tips for today. What other one-time tasks to keep your kitchen organized have you done? Let us know in the comments!
Want more organizing help? Head over to my top organizing post, How to Get Organized: 9 Attitudes You Have to Change.