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Decluttering Blueprint: 3 – Organizing Your Kitchen

If your kitchen isn’t living up to your expectations, give it a makeover for convenience and pizazz using the steps below.

1. Take stock of your kitchens purpose. Is it for cooking, baking, eating, and storing food? If so, move all the items that are unrelated to the purpose of your space (such as papers, magazines, tools, etc.) to other, more appropriate rooms of your home.

2. Identify the major categories of items to be kept in your kitchen. For example:

• Cookware – skillets, saucepans, stew pots, and lids.

• Bakeware – cookie sheets, pie pans, cake pans, and muffin pans.

• Appliances – coffee maker, toaster, food processor, bread machine, and mixer.

• Kitchen tools – vegetable peeler, egg slicer, thermometer, cork screw, manual can opener, box grater, cutting board, rolling pin, strainer, and sifter.

• Utensils – spoons, forks, spatulas, tongs, whisks, pastry brush, and grilling utensils.

• Dinnerware, glassware and flatware – plates, bowls, cups, glasses and silverware.

• Pantry items – spices, herbs, dry goods (flour, noodles, etc.), canned and bottled items (soups, Worcestershire sauce, etc.), and vinegar and oils.

• Refrigerator and freezer items.

• Cook books.

• Under the sink items – waste basket and cleaning products.

3. Sort everything in your kitchen into the piles that represent the major categories identified in step #2. Start with all surface items, and then move to the objects stored in drawers, cabinets, and your pantry. If you have an extraordinary amount of items to sort, you might want to get a large box for each category so your piles don’t get mixed up.

4. Weed out and organize each category. Be determined to eliminate everything but the items you love and use. Reduce multiples of any single item and dispose of old, seldom used and unwanted items by pitching them, giving them to someone else, selling, or donating them. Then put the remainder of items into sub categories, i.e. when organizing pantry items–put all spices together and all dry goods together, etc.

5. Decide where to store each category. Consider the size of each category, how frequently you will be accessing each category, and where in your kitchen you will be using each category. For example, put dinnerware close to your dishwasher and cookware close to your stove. Then, double check your plan – is there convenient and sufficient storage space available for each category?

6. Purchase containers, space saving fittings and accessories to make your kitchen as convenient and pleasing as possible. Many kitchens suffer from a shortage of space so using items such as the following will maximize your space and make it more functional.

• Pull out cabinet organizers make it easy to keep like things together and provide easy access to items in the back of your cupboard. (Available at many home improvement stores.)

• Steel expanding shelves double space in your shelf area. (Available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.)

• Wall rack systems free up counter space and make it easier to grab needed utensils when cooking. (Available at Stacks and Stacks, IKEA or home improvement stores.)

• Collapsible food containers save cabinet space. (Available at Target and grocery stores.)

7. Put all items into their new container and/or space. And, enjoy your reward…a kitchen that functions well day in and day out!

Please check back soon for the next installment of the Decluttering Blueprint.

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