Spring cleaning is my favorite to-do item. It's easy to just put everything "away." But "away" can be a scary place. Since guests don't have any reason to look in your spice cabinet or in the pots-and-pans drawer, you don't need to properly clean them, right? Except you curse yourself when you decide to make homemade pizzas with your new boyfriend one night, realize you have absolutely no idea where the pizza pans are, and have to empty out all your "away" spaces in front of him. It would probably be best just to dump him and spend the rest of the night eating gelato on your couch... Or you could roll up your sleeves, find the pizza pans, and actually organize the rest of your kitchen like a big girl. I find it all too easy to wash a dish and throw it in a cabinet where it fits, but that's not a practical or long-term way to live. I have four simple rules when it comes to organizing my kitchen.
1. Put things where they belong
Know where to properly store pots, pans, dishes, and Tupperware in your home. It seems so simple, but it really is the easiest way to keep your kichen organized. I stack anything and everything without leaving an avalanche in my wake. Tupperware? Stacked. Various size pots? Stacked. Even my plastic cups and highball glasses are stacked.
2. Organize your refrigerator
I share a kitchen with four other people, and we each get one (you heard me: ONE) shelf in the refrigerator. I stack my eggs and my yogurt, my butter and my almond milk. If a food item lasts longer than another, I move it to the back -- but I try not to put it completely out of sight so I don't forget it's there. If something spoils quickly, I move it to the front for easy access. If your refrigerator isn't organized properly (or at all...), you won't be inspired to organize the rest of your kitchen. If anything, do it for your hypothetical boyfriend who will inevitably open up your fridge at some point in your hypothetical relationship.
3. Know yourself
I grew up having a cup of tea every night with my mom. I knew I would want to do the same in my own home, so I organized a drawer with dozens of different tea bags and sugar. At the end of a long day, it's comforting to know that I don't have to search for a tea bag; I made it easy on myself by indulging in this comfort.
4. Tidiness saves time
I wake up every morning and have a cup of coffee. In the same way that I keep a tea drawer organized, I keep all of my coffee "products" organized and nearby. The meals I have at home are breakfast and dinner. I would rather clean my dishes and organize my kitchen at night after my day is over than wake up and have a dirty kitchen. Knowing my schedule and holding myself accountable when it comes to cleaning and organizing keeps my kitchen in check.
More tips for small spaces:
- If you're limited in pantry space, buy a shallow cabinet with shelves that can serve as additional pantry or dishware storage.
- If you use some food products frequently (such as sugar or flour for avid bakers), keep them in clear, sealable jars on your counter. It will clear up a lot of space in your cabinets for pots and pans.
- Always have a supply of clothespins or clips for bags that are not resealable.... Nobody likes stale pretzels.