No time like the present to clean, reorganize and reconfigure your kitchen cabinets and drawer. You’ll thank yourself when you can easily find that cake spatula or egg divider that you knew you always had but could never find.
If you shudder every time you open your cupboards read on and find out how easy it is to give your cabinets a quick pick-me-up.
Cleaning Up & Getting Rid of Clutter
Take this opportunity to weed out old, broken and unused items. Vacuum out crumbs and dust before thoroughly scrubbing out every nook and cranny. Get rid of old splashes of ketchup, oil spills and gobs of petrified peanut butter. There are plenty of eco-friendly cleaning supplies, but a dash of white vinegar in water will get those cupboards just as clean. Baking soda works well to scrub out gucky messes.
When clean and dry, line the cabinets with shelf paper. They come in a variety of colours and patterns and can do wonders for containing the spills that will, inevitably, occur. Now, you’re ready to tackle organizing.
It’s not as daunting a task as you might think. Here are a few ways to organize everyday items.
Pots and Pans
They may be stainless steel, cast iron, copper or non-stick but you can be sure all pots and pans are heavy. Designate one large pull-out drawer or a lower shelf for these hefty essentials. Pots and pans that are used infrequently can be stacked toward the back of a lower cupboard or on the tops of cabinets.
Well-shined copper pots look handsome hanging from a pot rack on the ceiling, but getting them down could pose a problem.
Utensil and Kitchen Essentials
Flatware trays are inexpensive and come in different varieties: steel mesh, bamboo, cork, solid plastic and meshed plastic. Keeping those forks, spoons, knives and teaspoons away from each other becomes a snap.
Choose an expandable utensil tray for storing kitchen implements like tongs, wooden spoons, spatulas, potato peelers and can openers. Separating them will help you to find them more easily. Invest in a countertop knife block to keep your sharpened knives in a safe and handy spot.
Designate one pull-out drawer for aluminum foil, plastic wrap, freezer bags, sandwich bags and waxed paper.
Dishes and Glassware
Stack every day dishes in a handy cabinet over the counter so they are easy to reach. Since dinner plates, salad plates and cereal bowls are probably used the most each day group them together. Glasses and coffee cups and mugs should also be stowed in an over-the-counter cabinet so they are easily accessible. Stemware can be placed on a higher shelf since it is not used daily.
If you have glass-faced cabinets, consider showing off some of your more interesting looking dishes.
Allot one or two shelves in a dark cupboard (no glass doors, please) for storing precious spices. Choose a cabinet close to, but not above, your stove so that you will be able to grab what you need with ease. Stow rarely used spices at the back, but stash frequently used bottles up front so you can get to them easily.
Alternatively, a pull-out drawer works well so long as the spices are marked clearly on the top of the bottle.
This is a must. Every family collects junk—whether it be rubber bands, pens, pencils or scotch tape. Designating one small drawer for junk can save your sanity and help you find those recipe cards or stapler you just knew you had.
This is another must. Fill up a lower drawer with all your Tupperware or Rubbermaid items. Stow lids together and nest the containers to save space. You’ll be glad you did when you make that extra large pot of spaghetti sauce and are looking for containers to freeze the leftovers.
Now that you’ve got the essentials down, what are you waiting for? Head to the kitchen and organize. You’ll be glad you did.
By Beverley Burgess Bell