Like most households, the kitchen is the heart of our home. Because we spend so much time in there, or near there in the connected family room, it's important that my kitchen be neat and organized. After all, it's really difficult to make dinner/breakfast/lunch for a family of four when the countertops are cluttered or I can't find the proper casserole dish. Of course, it's easy to let things get out of hand. One piece of mail left out on my countertop can lead to an entire room of clutter in less than 24 hours. I can only guess that it multiplies like mad in the wee hours of the morning. Crazy!
I have four guidelines that help keep my kitchen organized:
1. Place items where they are most used.
Here is the awesome TMI fridge. Because it dispenses water and ice, the glasses are located in the cabinet directly to the left. That makes sense, right?
2. Occasionally sort and purge to maintain kitchen efficiency.
The cabinet, however, had gotten a little out of control. There was simply too much in there. I did a quick assessment, and got rid of several things: expired drink mixes, thermos bottles, extra mugs, and empty storage containers.
After a quick sort and purge, things were much more manageable. There's no fear of anything falling out of the cabinet to knock me unconscious now! Woo hoo!
3. Get rid of any kitchen items or tools that aren't used.
Take a look at the bottom cabinet. This is where I store carafes, bar tools, pitchers, coffee grounds and more. There were several things in there that I just wasn't using and therefore just taking up space.
I got rid of two pitchers, an ice bucket, some expired lemonade mix and the bar tool caddies. Then I rearranged the cabinet to put the stuff I use least in the back, and the items used more often up front. Doing just these two things (purging and rearranging) gave me enough room to store the coffee machine in the cabinet, rather than keeping it on the counter. This makes perfect sense, since I only make coffee when we have company over--there's no need for the appliance to be taking up valuable counter space.
Doesn't that look so much better?
4. Stop clutter before it gets into the kitchen (mail, purse/briefcase, kids' bags and homework, etc.).
Truthfully, this is a good organizational tip. It's featured in every print and online article aimed at stopping clutter. It works for many, many people...just not me. In all honesty, we do have clutter in our kitchen. Mail, calenders, craft projects and more take up a lot of space on the island and about a third of our kitchen table. I come home from work, drop the mail, my purse and work bag on the kitchen table, and scoop up the kids. The items are abandoned for the time-being, and that's okay with me. Being clutter-free is important, but with two small kids, I'll settle for being clutter-controlled. As long as I can cook a meal unimpeded by stuff, then I'm fine with it.
Plus, I have a really great Plan B: INVITE PEOPLE OVER.
Nothing motivates me to tackle clutter like company on their way over. Works like a charm!