Thinking about reorganizing your kitchen? *Here are two stats that should make you pause:
- National Association of Professional Organizers found that we spend more than a year of our lives (on average) looking for missing items around the home
- According to the National Soap & Detergent Association, removing clutter from your home reduces up to 40% of average housework
Wow. That’s a whole lot of wasted time. Kind of upsetting, no?
Luckily, you’ve got the experts on your side. At ShelfGenie, we’ve helped thousands of people reclaim their living space through the astonishing power of organization and storage. Now we’re sharing everything we know in this 3-part series on how to reorganize your home—starting today with the kitchen.
Imagine what we could all get done with so much more free time on our hands!
Reorganizing Your Kitchen—It’s All About Your Priorities
As our good people at ShelfGenie of Seattle put it, “Priorities will determine everything you do”.
Before you dive into any ambitious reorganization, it’s worth asking yourself: what do you look for in a dream kitchen?
For some, the ideal looks like something out of Iron Chef—with the full kit of professional-grade pans and knives, oils, and spices, all laid out with industrial efficiency wherever there is space to be made. For others, it’s all about minimalism, and the simple joy of a clear countertop.
Most of us fall somewhere in between. This is why it’s so important to run through a typical day in your life and rank your own priorities. Here’s a good way to do that:
- List everything you’d like to be able to do in your kitchen (think entertaining, or baking a cake, for example)
- Assign each item on your list a number 1-5: items with a number 1 are essential to you…items with a number 5 are less important.
- Now, imagine if you could only have the things you ranked from 1-3. Would that be enough? Do you need to rethink your kitchen priorities?
Here are some tips for reorganizing your kitchen:
1. Take stock and PURGE
No matter how careful we are, how attentively we work to keep things neat and tidy, it can be easy to build up a collection of superfluous items in the kitchen. Maybe you’re a keen chef who likes your specialized tools (think about that little-used mandolin…), maybe you just find it easier to stack things on the counter…no matter what the reason, we all do it.
Unfortunately, the result is a kitchen that can feel crowded and cluttered, rather than spacious and relaxing. This is why, as we often tell new clients, the first step in any good kitchen reorganization is to carefully review the items you’ll need to rearrange—from top to bottom.
Now, I’m not saying this is always easy. Naturally, we all have a tendency to get attached to the things around us. And it can be straight-up tiring to go through everything you have sitting around the kitchen. But then again, that’s exactly the point! Our goal is to eliminate those items that are simply adding to the mess—rather than aiding us in the quest for a kitchen that, as Mari Kondo puts it, sparks joy.
It’s important to be somewhat tough on yourself here. When some instinctive part of your lizard brain says you simply have to keep that lemon juicer, ask yourself if you’ve even used it in the last 3 months, 6 months, year…
If you’re still struggling, play a game: pretend you’ve got a new house and you’ll need to transport everything you keep. Are the things you’re keeping worth the effort it would take to package them up and lug them across town to a brand new home? If not, it’s likely a sign that they’re more clutter than beloved.
Of course, not everything you choose not to keep has to go in the trash. Think about donating to a local thrift store, or reaching out to anyone you may know who could be in need. Young people especially tend to be extremely thankful whenever they’re able to save a few dollars—particularly on kitchen items they haven’t had a lifetime to collect.
And finally, if you really don’t want to give something away, there’s always storage…or maybe an attic. That way you can pull them out when the time comes—and then put them right back again. As the saying goes, it doesn’t have to go…but it can’t stay here.
2. Consider Custom Pull-Out or Glide-Out Cabinets in Reorganizing Your Kitchen
Custom pull out shelving is a secret weapon in the arsenal of a master organizer.
Why? Because they’re the most efficient possible use of space. The custom fit ensures not only that there is no wasted space, but also that you are granted easy and convenient access to anything you choose to tuck away.
Sick of digging through the back shelves for all the odds and ends you have tucked away? Pull out shelving can be the answer. And when it comes to reorganizing your kitchen as a whole, finding a convenient yet concealed spot for some of the bulkier items is an absolute game-changer.
3. Be Prepared
Reorganizing your kitchen shouldn’t be done all in one go…as cathartic as that might be. Rather, it’s important to plan carefully in the days leading up to your big changes. Try to take measurements of your available space, and collect all the small containers, storage bins, boxes, etc that you’ll need to keep all your things in place. Measure these as well, and ensure before you start putting things away that it’s all going to fit nicely.
This is a crucial step. Nothing wastes space like throwing things ‘wily-nily’ into free cabinets. Not only that, but it’s a recipe for disjointed cooking later on when you’re struggling to find all the things you moved around. To avoid that, consider organizing your stuff by usage or type, to help you consider the zones where everything will live in your finished kitchen.
4. Think About Usage in Reorganizing Your Kitchen
It’s essential that your kitchen storage plan actually match the way you use your kitchen.
For example, think about how you clean. If you’re like most people, a full kitchen cleaning isn’t necessarily your favorite activity…and you’ll be unlikely to do so if you’re cleaning materials are all hidden deep away behind layers of other miscellaneous items. Instead, it makes sense to see if you can keep those items front and center, to make what would otherwise be a terrible task into something a little less annoying.
That kind of thinking can yield great results in all aspects of reorganizing your kitchen. Great kitchens feature zones that correspond to common activities, like cooking, cleaning, food preparation, making lunches, baking, etc…
Reflect and Check
Once you’ve completed your initial reorganization, you’ll no doubt feel a huge weight off your shoulders…but it’s important not to let things slip entirely.
After a month of your big lift, pause for a day, and analyze how your decisions have played out. Recheck your priorities and ask yourself: does the new layout of your kitchen truly suit your needs? Perhaps as importantly, as your daily routine played out the way you imagined?
As always, there is no need to settle for anything less than joy.
Need a kitchen boost? Check out ShelGenie Solutions and be sure to schedule a free, no-obligation custom design consultation.