By Carmen Coker
As the saying goes, the kitchen is the heart of the home. But your kitchen can also be the heap of the home if you let clutter pile up! If you want to know how to organize your kitchen now, then here are five easy, low-cost ways to do just that:
1) Edit your counter space.
It's so easy to put most of your appliances on the countertop. Doing this is totally understandable - you get quick access whenever you need something.
The problem? Most of us are true conformists to the 80/20 rule; 80% of what we keep, we never use. That includes 80% of the items in your kitchen! So look at what's on top of your counters and ask yourself ... does this really need to be there?
2) Out with the old and unnecessary.
You wouldn't really eat stale crackers, would you? Then why are they in your kitchen? Get them - and all other old or expired foods - out of your cabinets, pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Of course, food isn't the only thing that might have worn out its welcome. Donate any cookbooks or kitchen gadgets that haven't been used in a year or more. Scrutinize any freebies you've nabbed recently, like sports squeeze bottles, beer koozies, and magnets. Truth be told, you likely didn't need them in the first place, and you likely don't need them now.
3) Let the W's guide you.
Think about how you use your kitchen when you're making dinner - more specifically, what do you use, and where or when do you use it during the cooking process. Separate your kitchen into distinct quadrants based on your kitchen habits (i.e. cooking, preparing, cleaning, storing) and then organize utensils and supplies accordingly.
4) Think outside-the-box ... or in this case, outside the kitchen.
The kitchen is a high-traffic area, and often times, stuff from around the house will find its way in and start to pile up. Designate a bag, bin or basket for items that should not be in the kitchen. At the end of each day, have an assigned family member fill the container with non-kitchen items and carry them back to the room where they belong.
In addition, bulk foods purchases and items like fine china - which are used sparingly or only a few times a year - can be stored elsewhere in your home to free up more space in the kitchen.
5) Deal with paper before it becomes a problem.
Mail, bills, and other papers can easily clutter your countertop or table. One solution: hang large envelopes and label one per family member. Use these containers to distribute papers, mail, messages, etc. Another idea? Store take-out menus in a file folder and tuck the folder away in a drawer near the phone or inside the phone book.
Thanks for the great advice Carmen!
Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super OrganizedTM.