I have been spending some time lately organizing my house, particularly my kitchen cabinets, pantry and closets. These places seem to be areas where we just shove things in without giving a lot of thought to how they are arranged or used. Spending a little time and thought reorganizing them has made a real difference for me. I have noticed that after the reorganization, spending time in my kitchen is more pleasant, and I am definitely using my equipment more.
Here are some things I’ve learned from this reorganizing project:
- Concentrate on one small area at a time. For instance, in the kitchen, choose a couple of cabinets or drawers to work on . Otherwise, the project can quickly become overwhelming.
- For each item, ask yourself when was the last time you used it. How often do you need it? Do you have more than one? If you haven’t touched the item in a year, consider throwing it out or donating it.
- Are some items not performing as well as they should? For instance, are pans warped on the bottom? Is the nonstick coating starting to scratch? These poor performers should be trashed. Before replacing them, consider living without them for a while to determine if you really need them.
- If there is a particular item that is only useful once or twice a year — at Thanksgiving, for instance — or that has sentimental value, try storing it in a less accessible cabinet, such as above the sink or in the dining room to make room for everyday items.
- Organize items in groups according to their use and also by their shapes and sizes. Similarly shaped items will fit well together. For example, put all the long casserole dishes together in the same cabinet.
- Look for baskets and trays to store oddly shaped items in, like loose batteries or bags of herbs. If you’re like me, you amass odd baskets, bowls and trays. Put them to good use.
- When putting items back into the cabinet, make sure you can easily see and reach everything inside. You won’t use something if you can’t see it or you have to dig it out from underneath a lot of stuff. It’s better to have empty space than to stuff a cabinet full of things that you won’t then make use of.
- Once the cabinets are reorganized, try to move as many things off counters and tabletops as possible. Once I had cleaned out a couple of cabinets, I was able to move all my cutting boards into them, which left my counters clean and made it easier for me to work.
- Make sure that everything has a designated home. When you are finished using something, return it to its home right away to keep clutter in check.
- It’s a good idea to stock up when things are on sale, but make sure you have the storage space for the extras before you buy them. Surplus items can get lost in the clutter and go unused, which is just a waste of money.
- Small appliances take up the most space. Consider what you might be able to do without. We got rid of our microwave a while back, freeing up a lot of counter space, and we haven’t missed it at all.
- While you’re reorganizing, keep a list of items that you need or should replace. Look for high-quality replacements that you will want to keep and use for a long time.
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