As a neat freak I have a tendency to want to organize things. I really enjoy organizing things, a lot. Yea, I’m not sure if that’s weird or not, but whatever. When I started writing this post, my husband told me our kitchen is neat, but not organized. What?! Well, it seems this appears to be subjective. I can find everything very easily and he can’t find anything at all without asking me all the time where things are. Is that because I was the person who did the organizing? If you do the organizing, does that mean the layout only makes sense to you? In light of my husband’s opinions, I’ve tried to make my kitchen organizing tips generic. I’ll leave the details up to you.
Store an ingredient in a clear air tight container. This tip is helpful for me in many ways. The main reason why I bought containers was to help prevent unwanted rodents from stealing my food. (When are rodents wanted?) Air tight containers are not full proof, but I figure they will either minimize the chances or at least make me feel better that I will not likely open my cabinet to a scary visitor.
There are other benefits to using clear air-tight containers. They help your ingredients stay fresh for a longer period of time. The longer things last the less often you need to replace them and the more money you save. For ingredients that get used up very quickly, the clear plastic gives you a free status window. You can know you need to buy more without digging through the cabinet and opening things up.
My geeky boo has a label maker. (Could he really be considered a proper geek without one?) As it turns out, this is an awesome tool for us neat freaks and organizers too. For a lot of things labels are not strictly required, but if you have containers for things like baking powder, baking soda, and powdered sugar, it would be really nasty to mix those up.
I’ve fallen in love with the Sistema containers line. I like them because they are a BPA free material, durable, come in a variety of sizes, and several sizes are stackable. Besides that list of awesome, they are also easy to find in stores or online, are generally inexpensive and available in nifty combo packs so you can hook up a whole cabinet pretty easily.
Keep similar ingredients stored together. This will save you time when you’re grabbing your ingredients. For example, if you store all your various spices on the same shelf then you will know right where to look when something calls for a spice. If it’s not there then you don’t have it. No need to look in every nook and cranny of your cabinets.
Keep similar tools stored together. Just like the tip above, this will help save you time. For example, I keep all my glass blows neatly stacked together. In another drawer, I keep all of my baking pans together. In yet another all my measuring cups and spoons live together.
Store the tools that you use the most in the closest proximity to where you cook. Okay, I know everyone’s kitchen is different, but it’s still a practical tip no matter how small or big your kitchen is. For example, I keep all of my small baking tools in the drawer closest to where I bake. I keep all my pots and pans near the stove for cooking. When something is missing, the two likely reasons are that I don’t own it yet or it’s dirty in the sink. 😉
Grab all of the ingredients that you need when you are ready to bake. This tip is more of how you stay organized while your cooking rather than organization in the kitchen, but I thought it was handy nonetheless. To have all of your ingredients ready to go for the moment you need them is a time saver. I’m all about saving time and I’m betting most people are too.
Even more importantly, this tip also helps keep me on track with the recipe. I’m less likely to skip something or make an error if I have everything out in a pile ready to use. (Unfortunately I speak from experience here.) 😉
Clean up when you’re done. Seems simple right? Let’s face it, sometimes I feel more like a dishwasher than a baker, but it has to get done. My husband often says that all of his hobbies seem to involve doing dishes. I kind of feel like a mom right now. “Clean up when you’re done.” If you clean up right away then you’re kitchen is ready to go at a moment’s notice. For example, when your sister is having a baby and everyone is suddenly coming over to your house as a “most of the way there” point (true story!).
Store electronic gadgets that you don’t use often in cabinets or the basement. I like to work with as much counter space as possible when I’m cooking. Thus, I like to keep the devices and gadgets that have a permanent home on my counter to a minimum. For example, I don’t use my food processor often and I don’t want to waste space with it sitting on the counter so I store it in a cabinet. Obviously we don’t all have the same cabinet space available, but hopefully you get the idea. If you have things you really almost never use, like that apple peeler thingy that is only useful as you get closer to Thanksgiving, find a clean shelf in the basement to get it out of your hair. In general, place gadgets wherever you have space for them, but be smart about putting the most used ones in the easiest to get to spots. If you like baking while tripping over your slow cooker, then skip this tip. 😉
While I would enjoy taking a Sunday afternoon to organize my entire kitchen, I realize most of you would rather be doing something else (perhaps anything else to avoid this task). You certainly don’t have to go full ninja and do it all at once. 🙂