If you’ve been thinking about (read: putting off) reorganizing your kitchen, there’s no time like the present!
Ready to get started?
Here’s a seven-step plan to help you reclaim your kitchen, maximize efficiency, and reduce waste.
1. Rethink your produce storage
Whether you have your own garden blooming in the backyard or you signed up for a community garden, learn where to store your abundance of seasonal fruit and veggies to maximize their lifespan.
These produce items should always stay in the refrigerator:
- Bell peppers
These foods live happiest at room temperature:
- Unripe stone fruits
To save counter space, keep room-temperature produce in a tiered hanging basket (preferably in the shade, where it’s cooler).
2. Turn, turn, turntables
Keep your refrigerator roomy with this simple hack: add a turntable to one or more of the shelves.
Load each lazy Susan up by category:
Using turntables also makes it easier to reach things and to remember what you have on hand, reducing double purchases and accidental spoilage.
3. Stow out-of-season snacks out of sight
Hot chocolate has a time and place, but the beginning of fall isn’t it.
Keep any winter snacks safely packed away in the top shelf of the pantry, where they’ll be less visible.
Temporarily remove out-of-season snacks to make room for staples like sparkling water, iced tea, and lemons for freshly squeezed lemonade.
4. File under: useful
Use a vertical tray divider system — the kind you might see in an office — to keep various kitchen necessities accessible yet organized.
Pop your cutting boards on these trays and pull them out for impromptu kebab nights.
Sheet pans also fit well in filing trays.
Another tool to maximize your storage space is a shelf riser. These require zero installation and basically double the size of a typical cabinet.
Shelf risers are perfect for narrow spaces with plenty of height.
5. Give glass jars a new use
If you can’t handle the heat, they say, then get out of the kitchen.
Your food doesn’t really have that option, so keep it protected. High temps can damage plastic-wrapped foods and other materials, which could leave a bad taste or potentially leach chemicals like BPA into your staples.
Transfer any goods that came packed in plastic to prevent melting.
Choose reusable, air-tight containers to prevent your food from spoiling.
Glass jars are an excellent choice for storing foods like:
- Dry lentils
As a bonus, bulk goods look so streamlined and polished when displayed in uniform containers. This look makes a great aesthetic for open shelving in the kitchen.
6. Use adhesive hooks to stash items
Adhesive hooks are organizing godsends: They can prop up baskets full of stuff or hang a single item.
They’re strong and they’re easy to remove without damaging your walls, which makes them ideal for renters or those of us who are a little indecisive.
However you choose to use these hooks, they get clutter off surfaces, saving precious kitchen counter space.
Add some hooks wherever you need to make space. You can use the hooks to hang dish towels, measuring spoons and cups from the inside of a kitchen cabinet door.
Or hang a basket to store dishwashing detergent pods, dishwashing gloves, and extra sponges in the below-sink space.
7. Free up space in the freezer
Freeze liquids flat (lay them until frozen), so you can store them upright and pack more per square inch.
Labeling comes in handy here — use a permanent marker to identify resealable baggies for future reference.
Or go a step further and group frozen foods by categories. Store like with like in small plastic boxes: vegetables in one box, leftover soup in another, burgers and fish in another and, of course, a box for ice cream.
Heather Hyllested is an Atlanta-based real estate agent with Owners.com, where the process of buying and selling your home is made simple. Her favorite part of the job is seeing the joy her clients experience when she helps them find their dream home. Prior to launching her real estate career, Heather raised her two daughters, now 22 and 17.