The Zone Plan: Kitchen
I use a Zone Plan to keep my home organized and clean. I divide my home into 10 zones and work on one zone each month – skipping July and December.
I choose to work in my kitchen zone in October because I want my kitchen ready for all of the holiday cooking and baking. October is also a month when bins crop up for food donations at the local grocery stores. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity and clear out your pantry of any foods you aren’t planning on using to make room for upcoming purchases for holiday baking.
The very first thing before digging in and organizing this zone is to 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. Notice any area that is no longer working for you. For example, it has become more difficult for me to reach into one cabinet under the counter and pull out my glass refrigerator dishes. In the past few months, I have dropped two and broken them. As part of my organizing, I need to relocate these dishes to a place that is easy for me to access.
Once you know what you want to do in your kitchen, take time to brainstorm and make a list of all that has to happen to make your kitchen match your vision.
This 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.
The kitchen is one of the more time-consuming zones to tackle so it is important to schedule every task.
I first make an overall plan by the week. Then on the Sunday before each week, I go into my calendar and schedule exact times I plan on working on every task.
My weekly plan:
· 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 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.