10 Steps to an Orderly Kitchen

An organizing expert offers expertise for kitchen organization and storage solutions.

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Kitchen Organizing Tip #6: Make use of Vertical Space
Place hooks underneath cabinets to hold mugs above the countertop, or hang a stemware rack in the same spot for wine glasses. This will free up considerable cabinet space. You could also hang adhesive hooks on the inside of cabinet doors or pantry doors to hold tools such as measuring cups, oven mitts or other kitchen gadgets. Consider using wall space or a ceiling rack to hang pots and pans. Keep in mind that any space you can use to hang something will free up flat space inside a cabinet.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #7: Use Lazy Susans
Rotating trays can be used to hold things such as oils, vinegars and other cooking ingredients, as well as spices, vitamins or medications. You can also use a few lazy Susans in your refrigerator — one for beverages, so nothing ever hides in the back to spoil or freeze, and another for leftovers or small jars of pickles, olives or other small food items.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #8: Use Drawer Dividers
Drawer dividers are great for cooking utensil drawers and your junk drawers. Everyone needs a place to keep those little miscellaneous things, but they don't have to be overflowing and junky. Drawer dividers will allow you to assign a little spot for each thing, and you'll be able to find things when you need them.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #9: Sort Papers
Get a magnetic sorter box to hang on the side of the refrigerator for coupons, takeout menus, a notepad and pen or other papers that tend to accumulate on the countertops. Each type of paper should have its own section in the sorter.

Kitchen Organizing Tip #10: Clean Out the Refrigerator
Keep trash bags near the trash can, and throw a stack of loose bags into the bottom of the can. That way, when you pull out one bag, there is already another one right below it waiting to be used. If you put your trash out at the curb one night a week, use that time to clean out your refrigerator each week too. See what food needs to be pitched and immediately throw it out, and take the trash out to the curb right then. Your refrigerator will house only current items and will be less cluttered — and it only takes a few minutes.

Your personal work style will determine where you store and use the items in your kitchen, but the goal is to get that room and its contents to serve your needs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If you invest the time and energy into decluttering and organizing your kitchen, it is an investment that will pay off in happiness for years to come.

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