Organise your kitchen like a pro with these tips

Simple ways of making your kitchen a happier place!

by: Julie Donald
 
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Have you ever walked into the kitchen and thought it looked like a war zone? Keeping it clean is one thing, but what about all the THINGS that take up precious space?

Kitchen organisation requires a certain level of willpower but it can be done. Simply follow the steps below and you'll have a fully functional, aesthetically pleasing and homey kitchen in no time!

1. Edit!
It is great to own every kitchen gadget under the sun, but if you don’t have space to store them and you never use them, it is time to say goodbye. Bon voyage. Adios. In the infamous words of Elsa, “Let it go!”

2. Best before dates exist for a reason
Go through all the food on your shelf and toss anything that has expired. Especially in that spice drawer. Old spices lose their potency and lead to (horror!) bland food. Tinned and frozen food can be downright dangerous if kept too long. Ask the question, ‘would I eat this right now?’ if the answer is ‘no’ you are unlikely to want to eat it in 3 months’ time either.

3. FIFO (first in first out)
Make sure when you shop you put the new goodies at the back of the cupboard or the bottom of the pile. This means that the oldest items will be used first. Try to leave a bit of space in the cupboard so that you can reach to the back without having to repack the whole cupboard every time you shop.  

Lingo Tip: In some pro kitchens this stands for "fit in or f*ck off!"  This also applies in all cases.

4. Sharpen your knives
No great chef would be caught dead with a blunt knife. Proper storage can keep them sharper for longer. Get a knife sharpener or take them to a professional knife sharpener, then store them on a magnetic knife rack. Tossing them in a drawer is what blunts them.

5. Store items in the place that you use them
For example store your mugs, tea, coffee and teaspoons within easy reach of the kettle. This minimises the amount of walking around the kitchen you need to do to accomplish a task. You can create “mini-stations” for lunch-box -packing, baking, toast-making… you get the idea.

6. A place for everything and everything in its place!  
If it doesn’t have a place, get rid of it.  Counter real estate is what makes your kitchen feel spacious - so put stuff away to keep the decks clear.

7. Storage containers can be used to great advantage
Pack similar items together into a basket or plastic container, this can be very handy for smaller items but keep an eye on these storage containers, they can become a dumping ground for things that don’t have a proper home and start to attract clutter.

8. Go vertical
Use hanging space as storage, by hanging utensils on the wall or above your stove or pots on a pot hanger. But only store regularly used items in this way. If the items are seldom used then they will just collect dust, creating more work for you.

9. Easy labelling
If you transfer groceries into storage containers it is a good idea to label them (with the contents and the best before date). But beware of permanent labels or sticky labels that don’t wash off easily. These can be very limiting. Choose something with a mini-chalkboard finish, so it's no hassle to re-label the container for a different ingredient.

10. What do you use the most?
Often used items should be packed on the most accessible shelves and seldom used items should be packed on the bottom and top shelves, where they are out of the way.  

11. Non-kitchen items
These do not belong in the kitchen and only clutter up your kitchen! Purge all the toys, clothes, stationery and other junk that builds up in your cooking space.

12. Don't be scared to use adaptors
Get an electrical adaptor for each appliance, and leave it attached. That way you save time scratching around to find the correct adaptor.

13. Make use of fruit bowls
Fruit bowls are a not only an attractive way to store fruit, but actually increase the shelf life of the fruit.  Keeping fruits wrapped in plastic bags or shut in a cupboard results in them ripening very quickly and possibly rotting.  

14. Tupperware cupboards
There is no place as difficult to organise as a Tupperware cupboard. The dilemma of the Tupperware cupboard; if you store them with the lids on, they start to smell... if you store them with the lids off, you can never find the right lid.  My advice? Remind yourself that you don’t need to be perfect, and Tupperware is sent here to teach us that, on a daily basis.

15. Know how to use the magic triangle
The fabled magic triangle of a kitchen are the imaginary lines drawn between the fridge, the stove and the sink. The idea is that there should be enough space between them to comfortably move around the kitchen, but small enough that you don’t waste a lot of steps travelling between them. Unless you are planning a remodel, there isn’t much you can do about the placement of these corners, but you can make sure that there is a clear path between each point. Remember this if you are thinking of adding a table or island to your kitchen.

16. Display the items you love
Last but not least, choose the items that make you feel happy on the inside and make a big deal out of them. Get rid of the rubbish and clutter, so that when you enter your kitchen you just see all the beautiful things that make your kitchen feel welcoming.


Follow Julie Donald on Twitter @AskJulieDonald

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