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I’ve come to realize that being organized really pays off; it saves you time and money in the long run. I wasn’t always an organized person (just ask my mom, trying to get me to clean my room!) After several PCS moves, the constant taking apart and putting together of our home has taught me a few things. One area that seems to be in constant disarray is the kitchen. I’ve always thought of the kitchen as the heart of the home. It’s a place to gather, share a meal, or bake to your hearts content. My current kitchen is on the small side, so organization is key to keep things running smoothly.
First, know what you have in your cabinets! Look in each cabinet and drawer, decide what you can give away or donate. If you can’t remember the last time you used it, consider donating it. If it’s something you just can’t part with, store it on an upper shelf. The same goes for any seldom used item, such as special serving dishes, on a top shelf out of the way. Toss out any worn Tupperware, any bowls without lids (and vice versa) Store the lids in a bin and stack the Tupperware.
Everything should have a dedicated place, and kept near where it’s used most often. For example, I chose my pantry to be right where I do most of my food prep. I can just grab ingredients as I need them, as well as keeping my measuring cups and spoons within reach. Do you have a coffee pot on your counter? Use a nearby cabinet to store your mugs, coffee, teas, and supplies. In my kitchen, I created a coffee station-an inexpensive microwave stand with all the fixins for coffee and tea. It’s a great way to clear up some cabinet space. Store pots, pans, and bakeware together, and corral lids with a lid rack. Keep cooking utensils near the stove. I keep my favorite utensils in a canister, right on the counter within reach. Place all of your small appliances you don’t use regularly together in one cabinet instead of on your countertop. Baking supplies (sifter, rolling pin, cookie cutters, cupcake liners, and other small baking items) should be stored together.
In the pantry, take stock of what you have. Get rid of any expired goods. Start grouping like items together, such as canned soups, canned fruits and veggies, baking ingredients, spices, and so on. You might be surprised by how many multiples you have! Restock everything in those groups, and use lazy susans or risers so everything is easily visible and accessible. To take things a step further, I purchased inexpensive clear Tupperware type containers for all of my dry goods. They are easy to stack, label, and you can see what dry goods need to be replenished at a glance. Plus, your ingredients stay fresher and pest free. I’ve done the same with spices, I transferred some my spices into glass jars, labelled each, and keep them in a plastic bin. I can pull the bin out and have all my spices at my fingertips.
I think the key to staying organized is to know what you have, and purge what you don’t need on a regular basis. This mentality can be used in all areas of your home, not just the kitchen. It may seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get rolling you will see that it’s really quite easy to do.
Stacy is a military spouse and Chicago-land native (Go Bears!). She is an avid crafter, organizational guru, and loves to cook. Stacy and her husband recently PCS’d from Japan and are currently stationed in California. Visit Stacy and check out some of her awesome creations at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HanaGarden
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