5. Kitchen Pantry, Fridge & Freezer. Whether you are a top chef or burn microwave popcorn, your kitchen gets a lot of use. The hub of the home, this area is often used for so much more than cooking and eating. To maximize its use for the family, the kitchen must first function as a cooking workspace.
Kitchen: To begin, focus on the non-food items and remove every fork, pot and small appliance from its storage location. Determine if there are items for which you have duplicates or no longer use (perhaps even some for which you can’t identify the function) and donate, sell or discard. Items that will remain in the kitchen should be sorted by function.
Before you return items to shelves and drawers, think about how you use the space. For example, store pots and pans near the stove, and plates, glasses and silverware in proximity to the dishwasher. Every pot, plate and utensil should have a home that is easy to access and easy to return.
Once you have determined where items should be placed, MAXIMIZE the storage area. For example, vertical storage for baking pans and cutting boards or turning shelves for corner cabinets.
Refrigerator: Now that you have improved the function of the kitchen, you can turn your attention to the food storage. Although most of us find the cleaning and maintenance of the refrigerator to be a dreaded chore, it is important for space, health and safety to toss food that has spoiled. If you review the fridge once per week and freezer once per month, there won’t be nearly the gross factor. Keep a marker near your plastic wrap and write the date on food as you store it.
Once you have removed inedible items, ensure you MAXIMIZE the use of the area by adjusting shelf height and adding storage solutions such as drink shelves or extra bins. In the freezer, don’t forget to place items vertically to use all the cubic footage without losing items in piles.
Pantry: The final step is the pantry and by now you will be an expert is sorting and determining how to maximize space. REMOVE all items and place like items together. Remember to use all the vertical space available to you so add shelves if necessary. Take advantage of deep shelves with drawers that pull out to allow you to see what’s in the back. Maximize vertical space on each shelf with bins for items such as chips and snacks and stacking trays for items like cans.
Once your kitchen space is organized, you will find cooking and cleanup easier and more enjoyable.