Thinking Outside the Kitchen Cabinet

Spring has arrived and we’re all thinking about picnics and dinners outside in the fresh air, not to mention that Spring and Summer often bring about a different menu for the family. You can choose from more fresh fruits and vegetables as the main ingredients in your meals and that often means less cooking and therefore less need for large casseroles and heavy pots and pans. What a great time to organize your kitchen — especially if there’s no one around to bother you because hopefully the kids are outside more and your husband is either cutting the grass or coaching the kids at baseball.

The kitchen is all yours until, but where do you start??  Books upon books have been written about organizing your closets, decorating your living room or den, but how many have you read on just organizing your kitchen?

Here are a few hints that we think will make a huge difference:

Begin the process of emptying EVERYTHING out of your cabinets and cleaning them out with a hand vacuum, if you have one, to get rid of any crumbs or dust that accumulate over the winter. You may want to use a mild disinfectant to wash the cabinets and put down some shelf paper, although the shelf paper isn’t a necessity.

Like your clothing closet, the concept is that if you haven’t used a pot, pan, serving platter or kitchen utensil for at least a year, the probability that you’re going to use it in the near future is pretty slim. So put those items aside – for give-away, for storing elsewhere in the house, or if they’re too old to be useful, in the garbage.

Then start separating what you want and use often from what you no longer use or need. This is a good time to make a list of some items you would like to purchase and add to your kitchen wares.

The second thing that we remind people when organizing is the theory of “like-to-like”. Keep all items that match and belong with each other together, such as glasses, cutlery, pots and pans, gadgets, etc. That way when you need a particular item, you’ll always know where to find it. 

Now the planning starts…and yes, every task needs a plan when it comes to a functional kitchen. Here are some organizing ideas you can use:

  1. If your shelves are adjustable in height, move them as this can be a good way of finding more space for tall or stacked kitchen items
  2. Pull out shelves are also a good choice because you can easily get to all the items beyond what you see in the front row and there are pull-out shelves available today that fit most cabinets
  3. Consider buying some kitchen storage containers that you can get at stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond or Container Store which can be of great help in corralling smaller items that would otherwise get lost in the drawers or cabinets
  4. If you like to display your pots and pans there are vertical wall hanging units and overhead pot racks that keep everything in view
  5. Utilize a circular Lazy Susan (tier stand type) shelving for corner units which offers greater space in an otherwise cramped area
  6. Behind the pantry door-mounted storage shelving is also a great idea for storing smaller items like spices, vitamin bottles, snacks or can goods.
  7. Under the sink items that you use often such as cleaning supplies, can be kept in a caddie that you can take with you when you’re in a clean-up mood
  8. Clean off all the countertops by removing extra items that don’t need to be there and try to have only the necessary appliances such as your coffee maker and toaster/toaster-oven on view…giving the countertops a more open and sleek look and making them easier to clean
  9. When putting your kitchen “back together” remember to put the items that you use most often closer to your work area and the items that you rarely use further away…think time-saving, efficiency and convenience
  10. Most important of all – enjoy your kitchen. Like many of us this past year, you probably spend about 4-5 hours of each day in it, so make it your own and enjoy the uniqueness of your kitchen space

Remember, clutter is your enemy! Put aside a few hours in the next few weeks to plan and take action to organize your kitchen so it will be more functional, save you time and frustration, and have you looking forward to preparing wonderful meals for your friends and family all spring and summer long.

If your kitchen is older and not functioning to your liking any longer, why not give us a call to set up an appointment at 973-386-5500 and discuss the possibility of a remodel. At U S Kitchens & Baths we carry nine different manufacturers offering a vast selection of styles and colors, and in just about every price range. We look forward to serving you.