Organizing Your Kitchen Zone
October is the perfect time to organize your kitchen zone. The holiday season is rapidly approaching and at least in this house that means a lot of extra time in the kitchen doing special cooking and baking. It is also a time when food bins crop up for food donations. Take this opportunity to clear out your pantry of any foods that you aren’t planning on using to make room for the purchases you make for your special meals and treats.
Get a clear vision of how you want your kitchen to look and how you want to feel while you are working in your kitchen. I want my kitchen to look uncluttered yet welcoming and warm. I want my food items and spices organized so that I can easily grab what I need without having to search and move a bunch of stuff.
Once you know what you want, take time to brainstorm a list of what must happen to make your current kitchen match your vision. Some items on your, list might include:
· Clear the counters down to the items that you use daily. Do you use that standing mixer every week? Do you need two coffee makers out? What about that bread maker? This is the time you want space for making cookies or rolling out pie dough.
· Purge the pantry and cabinets. Are you really using all those pots and pans? Do all your food storage containers have matching lids? Are your spices still good?
· Organize for convenience. Put rarely used items to the back and often used items to the front. While brainstorming this time in my kitchen I realized that after 7 years of moaning and groaning each time I wanted to pull out a favorite casserole dish that required me getting down on my knees and pulling out items that were in front of it that I had another place I could store it where I could reach in and just pull it out. Duh!
· Wipe down and clean each zone. This is the time to do some deep cleaning. Really clean out that fridge and behind it as well. Clean the oven (I hate it when someone walks into my kitchen and says, “That smells good,” and I am only preheating the oven.) Wipe out the cabinets.
Once you have your plan it’s important to schedule time to get this done. I divide my month into 4 parts or weeks and each week work on one area. For me it might look like this:
· Week 1 – Clean the oven, stove, and microwave. Organize and purge pots, pans, cooking utensils and bake ware.
· Week 2 – Purge items in the refrigerator/freezer and then do a deep clean. Organize and purge cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, spices, mixers, blenders, and measuring cups and spoons. Toss any spices that are beyond use.
· Week 3 – Clean the sink area and dishwasher. Organize and purge your dishware, mugs, glasses, and flatware. Toss items badly chipped or ones that are no longer favored.
· Week 4 – Organize and purge dishcloths, towels, placemats, napkins, trivets, and serving pieces. Organize the pantry. Put food together in the panty by type – all soups, cans of fruit, pasta, etc. Organize and purge cookbooks. Our table for meals is in the kitchen so I also give it a better than average clean.
It doesn’t matter in what order you do your tasks. Make it work for you with your time available. One week you may have more time than average, and another week may be so tight you can’t do anything extra. The point is to look at your calendar for the month and see what is doable.
By the end of the month, you will fall in love with your kitchen again. You are ready for anything the holidays throw at you. Reward yourself with some flowers on the table or a nice candlelit meal.
If you want help or just some accountability in organizing a space in your home or working any other organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.