Welcome to part three of the Organizing My Apartment series. Today, I’m sharing six rules for keeping your kitchen organized. It always amazes me how messy the kitchen can get in just a couple days, even on days when we really haven’t done any cooking. One thing that does help keep the mess to a minimum is to have designated spaces for everything. Here are the six rules I follow to keep our kitchen organized:
Rule #1 Use clear containers for food storage and add labels. It helps my sanity to store our food in clear tubs and jars so I can see how much we have left of everything. It’s especially useful for baking supplies so I avoid half-opened bags of flour and sugar stuffed in the cupboard. Your cupboard shelves will look more put together and uniform with labeled containers. And you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy a bunch of new containers. I use old salsa and pasta sauce jars as well as lunch meat plastic containers.
Rule #2 Get rid of the boxes and packaging. Groceries rarely stay in their original packaging when we get home from the store. I used to feel like there were so many boxes in the cupboard with just one granola bar or pop tart (and I don’t even have kids), so I finally got rid of the boxes entirely and it makes a huge difference. I keep baskets in the cupboard for snacks that are easy to grab. I also added some small plastic drawers from the dollar store for tea, hot cocoa and other drink mixes. If you find packaging taking up space and fooling you into thinking you have more food left than you do, consider getting rid of them. This snack basket works really well because I can see how many pop tarts we have left at a glance.
Rule #3 Keep your counters clean. One of my main goals is to keep things off the counter. So I try to spend a few minutes each day putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher or washing a few pots and pans. If you clean as you go, the mess won’t get too out of control. But, if you’re like us, once a few dirty dishes sit out on the counter, we tend to just keep stacking more on top of the pile all week, making for a worse mess when you do get around to cleaning it up later. Counters will stay cleaner if you have a designated place for everything in your drawers and cupboards.
Rule #4 Store supplies within reach. When organizing your kitchen, consider where you use what. I keep spoons and spices right next to the stove since that’s where I primarily use them. The cupboards nearest the oven are filled with food items, while the cupboards farther away hold our dishes, tupperware and snacks. If you find yourself always walking over the the other side of the room for something, it may be time to rearrange your drawers or cupboards.
Rule #5 Plan your menu for the week and keep a grocery list. We always keep a running list of grocery needs right on the fridge so we remember what we need to pick up. To cut down on trips to the store, we have also started trying to plan a loose schedule of meals for the upcoming week. This has helped us buy groceries, and it also cuts down on buying food we don’t need.
Rule #6 Use the space above your cabinets. Decorating that awkward space above your cupboards definitely adds some character to what could otherwise be a very boring and standard apartment kitchen. I focused on adding color that coordinated with our orange and blue scheme. It’s a great place to display some of our colorful Fiesta ware. If you are short on storage space, I recommend finding a set of baskets or boxes that fit above the cupboards. It would be a great place to store extra paper towels, paper plates and cups, and whatever else you need to stash away.
I hope these six tips will help you keep your kitchen organized. What am I forgetting? Comment below! Also check out the other posts in this series on organizing your apartment’s bedroom and living room.