Fighting against clutter can seem like a losing battle. After one intense, multi-dish meal cooking session, the kitchen can look like a natural disaster struck. Even once the dishes and everything else are all put away, it may still feel like the kitchen is bursting at the seams, just waiting for everything to spill out and create an intolerable mess all over again.
The typical reason for this is simple: most things like spices and whisks don’t belong on the counter, but often the place where they do belong is a crowded mess. When it’s time to put everything away, if the place they are supposed to go away to is nigh uninhabitable, cleaning will always be a Herculean task.
Jammed, messy kitchen cabinets make picking up a kitchen unpleasant. Being reluctant to deal with the madhouse behind the closed doors will create mental resistance to cleaning at all.
The moral? Organize, consolidate, and re-arrange to free up space and give every utensil, pot, pan, and condiment its own home to go back to.
Brimming with Junk
Think of your kitchen cabinets as your last line of defense against entropy. They are what keeps everything from being in an abhorrent pile upon the floor. When this final bastion of cleanliness becomes compromised, items tend to become pushed back and find their way where they don’t belong, such as on top of the refrigerator or counters.
To re-calibrate your defenses, so to speak, the first step should
be an en masse exodus of every single item within the cabinets. Many people want to hear that their work will involve a mere bit of shuffling, but the truth is that lack of effort will lead to some odd organization choices, like a drawer full of clothes pins, twist ties, old batteries, coupons, etc.
Plus, many neglected kitchen cabinets can benefit from a solid cleaning. So, to reiterate, begin the process of reclaiming your habitat by ejecting every single belonging from your cabinets and drawers. You can choose to focus on one area at a time, or make a whole day project out of it by essentially “moving out” of your kitchen so you can “move back in” in a more deliberate and organized fashion.
Also, once you’ve pulled everything out of its hiding place, you may discover an embarrassing quantity of objects that simply don’t belong. Throw out any expired items, loose trash, useless trinkets like old beer caps, or anything else that doesn’t feel vital to daily kitchen activities. If you absolutely can’t part with an item despite knowing it will only be useful once in a blue moon, consider boxing it up and placing it in a storage space for later.
Return to Normalcy
Once the rabble has been thrown away, and the kitchen cabinets have been dusted and wiped out, you can begin replacing items one at a time. The key is to logically pair everything so that the cabinets can compartmentalize your kitchen activities. For example, saucepans and frying pans shouldn’t occupy the same space unless there’s a good reason. Likewise, with Tupperware and appliances like blenders.
Resist the temptation to haphazardly jam everything back in. The more thought you put in to your system, the more your brain will prevent you from reverting drawers and cabinets back to the chaos that they were before.
A great motivator for staying organized is to purchase items designed to maximize your space. Many cabinet shelves are simply spaced too far apart for the average kitchen, so consider buying smaller, stack-able shelves to tuck everything away nicely. A tiered spice rack is also an incredible investment, as are hanging caddy shelves that allow you to place cleaning supplies under the sink without packing them in. Other items to help you stay organized include, pullout storage shelves in your base cabinets or pantry, drawer inserts for spices and cutlery, tray dividers, and of course a Lazy Susan to mention a few.
For the more ambitious-minded, some kitchen cabinets can be converted into gliding drawers fairly easily without replacing too much hardware. That way, everything will be pulled out in plain view and into the direct light rather than hiding away in its cubby.
Custom cabinetry could also be the ticket to busting up clutter and giving yourself more breathing room within the kitchen. A good rule of thumb is that if the device will allow you to separate items and create more space, it will be a sound investment.
With these tips, and a healthy amount of elbow grease, you can reclaim your kitchen from disorganization over the course of a weekend or even a couple of hours.