Organizing Summer Camp: The Kitchen

Posted By on July 1, 2011

This week’s Organizing Summer Camp is heading to the kitchen. Let’s see what’s cooking.

The kitchen is described as the hearth of the home, and it’s always interesting to see no matter how big or small a kitchen is, people always gather there.

I’ve had kitchens on the brain for the past year. I began renovating my kitchen in March 2010, and I was able to get it functional the day before Thanksgiving – just in time to cook dinner for my family. I still have to do the backsplash, lighting and a baseboard.

The old kitchen was not terribly functional, and most of my things didn’t fit in the cabinets and had to live on the countertop. So with the new kitchen, my goal was to make it uber-functional. But you don’t have to completely gut and remodel your kitchen to make it functional.

The Countertop. What can you take off the countertop? Limit what appliances and other items live on the countertop, especially in smaller kitchens. If you don’t use the blender very often, stash it away. Only keep items on the countertops that you use often, such as a knife block and electric can opener.

If mail lands on the countertop, create your command center there with a desktop sorter. You can find one that matches your kitchen décor. Have a slot for each member of the household.

Cabinet by Cabinet. Go shelf by shelf in your cabinets and see what you have. Eliminate duplicates and the things that have rusted or gotten cruddy. Be honest with yourself as you sort through each item. Have you used it? Will you use it? Do you cook?

Make sure what you are keeping can fit in the cabinets or drawers and that you can reach it easily. Items you use frequently should be stored within arm’s reach.

Clean Out the Frig. Clear the refrigerator and freezer of expired food.  Wipe down the shelves and drawers, and put everything back so you can see it and access it. For a list of how long to keep food in the freezer, check out the USDA’s site.

Recipes, Coupons and Other Things. Paper can become a problem in the kitchen although it’s not usually the biggest organizing issue.

  • Keep a grocery list either on paper or digitally. You can download a reusable grocery list at List PlanIt, and there are several grocery list apps available for your smartphone.
  • Only clip coupons if you’re going to use them.
  • Don’t clip coupons just because it’s a deal. If you don’t use it, it’s not a deal.
  • Put your coupons in an envelope or a holder and keep them where you will use them.
  • Use your coupons to plan meals for the week and to make your grocery list.
  • Keep your reusable grocery bags in the car.
  • If you have recipes cut out, tape them to a piece of paper, slip them into a plastic sheet and put them into a binder. Use tabs to create categories, and you have your own recipe book.
  • If creating your own recipe binder isn’t your thing, try Recipe Relish, a stylish box create to store your recipes.
  • Keep your favorite recipes on Allrecipe.com in their online “Recipe Box.”

Hope these ideas help you whip your kitchen into shape!

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