Sort and toss. Do you pick through fondue forks and pastry bag nozzles when looking for a spatula each morning? Chances are, much of your clutter is composed of stuff that isn’t really essential to the day-to-day functioning of your kitchen. Start the cleaning process by purging your cabinets and drawers of gadgets you hardly ever use. Take a hard look at your kitchen gizmos. Hang on to the tools that do many things well, like your blender, and consider ditching the cumbersome one-trick ponies (like that regrettable hard-boiled egg cooker). Donate the things you don't need, and place rarely used items in storage.
Get closer. Once you've pared your inventory down to the essentials, put them in places that make the most sense. Keep glassware and cups near the refrigerator or sink; utensils, spices and plates near the cooking area; mugs near the coffeemaker. You’ll not only save space, you’ll save steps, and that saves time.
Practice counter intelligence. Consider freeing up precious counter space by installing an under-cabinet coffeemaker, or one that installs directly into your cabinetry. Other candidates for lift-off are microwaves, toaster ovens and can openers, all of which can be discreetly fitted underneath your kitchen cabinets.
Divide and conquer. Adding vertical dividers in cabinetry makes it easy to stack cookie sheets and cake pans. For lower cabinets, a simple spin of a lazy susan puts everything within reach. Small, inexpensive shelves can double your storage, allowing you to neatly organize the pantry. An under-the-sink caddy stores all your cleaning sprays and wipes.
Use “hidden” space. Free up valuable cabinet and drawer space by installing hooks for coffee mugs and utensils under cabinets. Hang pots from an attractive rack on the ceiling. Make use of blank wall space or a backsplash by adding a utensil rack. Nest and stack pots, bowls and pans to maximize your storage space.
Abolish the junk drawer. There's no need for a "miscellaneous" catch-all space if every item has a designated place. Use small dividers to stop pencils, coupons and gadgets from jumbling together. Keep plastic grocery bags tidy by stuffing them into a dispenser.
Paper trail. If you can’t seem to eliminate the piles of takeout menus, recipes torn out of magazines and other such paper clutter from your kitchen, at least contain them. Sort them into categories, put them into colorful file folders and stow them in magazine binders near your cookbooks.
Play favorites. Group items by how frequently you use them. Put your favorite cookware, dishes and glassware in the front of cabinets for easy access. Store specialty cookware and less-frequently used appliances and utensils like blenders, food processors and pastry bags tucked away but easy to find when you need them.
Smart appliances. If you're considering larger changes to your kitchen, such as buying new appliances or remodeling, a little foresight could save countless hours of clutter-busting down the line. Look for refrigerators that maximize interior space through strategically placed compartments; they'll make it easy to organize leftovers, large soda bottles and produce.
Incorporate accessories. A few key sink accessories can help reduce the need for extra "stuff " in the kitchen by incorporating functionality into the sink itself. Here are some items to consider:
- A faucet with a water filtration system eliminates the need for a filter attachment or a filtration pitcher in the fridge.
- Soap/lotion dispensers provide convenience while reducing the number of bottles littering your countertops and under-sink storage.
- An instant hot water dispenser eliminates the need for boiling, making your teakettle one more pot you can do without.
- Sinks with a lower middle divider let you keep soaking pots and pans inside and off the counter.
- A sink with a recessed wet surface and a secondary sink can create whole new food-prep stations for the kitchen and help keep you organized.
- Select faucets keep the back of the sink clutter-free and often include handy pullout or pull-down sprays and are touch activated or even touchless.
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