Kitchen Organization

Kitchen organization starts from the moment a kitchen is designed. Unfortunately, for most of us, we don’t get to design our kitchens… they come with the house we buy or the apartment we rent. Hopefully whoever designed it used some common sense.

In design school, they teach about the functional kitchen work triangle. That’s an imaginary triangle drawn between your sink, stove and refrigerator. Those three major items should be close enough together to form a nice triangle making it most efficient for you to gather food, clean it and cook it. They should not all be along one long wall or across the room making for extra foot traffic just to get things out of the fridge, etc.

The rules of a good work triangle are:1) that no one side of the triangle should be shorter than four feet or longer than nine feet 2) the three sides totaled should be no more than 26 feet and no less than 12 feet3) there should be no cabinets or other obstructions in the way of the triangle.

For most of us, we get what we get and we can’t change it unless we have plenty of money to move or remodel our kitchens. So let’s talk about what kitchen organization we CAN do without spending a fortune!

How to Organize a Kitchen

Where to Put Things

Put items close to where they will be used. Find a drawer or cabinet next to certain areas and fill them with items you would normally use in that area. Some examples would be:

Next to your stove and microwave:

  • Potholders and trivets
  • Pots and pans
  • Baking trays
  • Mixing spoons
  • Temperature fork
  • Spice rack
  • Storage containers (for leftovers)

Near the dishwasher and sink (these items make it easy to put the majority of items away once they’ve been cleaned):

  • Glasses, bowls, plates
  • Silverware
  • Cleaning supplies

Near your coffee maker:

  • Coffee, sugar, creamer
  • Filters
  • Measuring scoop
  • Coffee cups

Near your trash can:

  • Garbage bags

Food Preparation Area:

  • Cutting boards
  • Knives
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring cups

So, to optimize your kitchen organization, take a moment to think about how you use your kitchen and the areas within it. Then put items close to where you use them to the best of your ability. This will make things more efficient. I don’t think there is such thing as a perfect kitchen unless you get to build it from scratch. So most likely there will be some things you wish could be different, but you can make the most of what you have with a little thought.

Make Counter Space

There are a lot of nifty counter appliances these days, but not necessarily a lot of counter space! We even expanded some of our counter space during a remodel and it still isn’t enough! I don’t think there is such a thing.

Of the many appliances we own, only the ones that get used regularly deserve a spot on the counter top. In my house, that’s the coffee maker, the toaster oven and the margarita maker. The crockpot, food processor and other appliances live in a cabinet where I can easily get to them if I need them. It might take an extra minute to get them out, but that’s much better than fighting for counter space around them for the majority of the time.

To opitimize the counter space in your kitchen organization, put what you can into drawers and cabinets leaving you counter space clear for room to work.

If you need to store items on your counter, try to use organizers that are stackable or vertical in some nature (tall jars vs. wide short bowls, unless they’re stackable!). Organize vertically, not horizontally.

It makes sense for cookbooks to be in the kitchen, but try to only keep what you use regularly on your counters. Put the rest in a bookshelf for when you need them. Follow this link to read more about how to organize recipes and cookbooks.

Make Drawer Space

To help save on drawer space you should get yourself some drawer organizers. Try to make sure you get some that fit well and give you the best use of space. Drawer organizers don’t only help save space, they help to protect your drawers from damage as well as keep things together and not sliding around the drawer. They also help to keep things more vertical, giving you more space in your drawers.

Toss or give away any cooking gadgets or tools that you don’t use. They only take up valuable space. Also, if you keep a junk drawer in your kitchen, you'll want to read up on how to make it functional again.

Make Cabinet Space

There are many ideas to help make cabinet space. One of the biggest things you can do is to clean out your cabinets and purge what is old and expired or never used and not likely to be used. Click here for a detailed discussion about organizing kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen Organizing Products

There are a great many kitchen organizing products available to help with your kitchen organization. Read more about some of the various types of products on the market today.

Other Kitchen Related Areas

Here are some suggestions for organizing other areas in or related to the kitchen. Let's face it, the kitchen is a very busy place!

Organize Your Refrigerator

Organize Your Spices

Organize Coupons

Meal Planning

Grocery Shopping Tips

I hope you’re able to take some of these kitchen organization ideas and go forth to get your kitchen better organized. You don’t need to tackle the whole kitchen in one day. Do it in sections as time permits. Once you purge all your unused gadgets and expired food, you may find you have more room than you thought. And then you can place items in your kitchen that make the most sense to you and make things most efficient.

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