How To Organize Your Kitchen Cupboards

Having trouble finding things in the kitchen? Try these tips for organizing cupboard space to help you locate and use things efficiently.

If you are lucky enough to have a large kitchen with plentiful cupboard space, you may not be concerned with how to stock and organize shelves and storage areas. But if your kitchen is small or you have just a few cupboards, here are some tips to help you maximize usage and minimize that cramped, crowded feeling:

1. Take stock of everything that is stored in your kitchen at present. Pull unneeded items or those not related to cooking or eating out of their hiding places and move to another location. These might include light bulbs, bill receipts, phone books, decorator items, cleaning supplies, and holiday dishes. Most people keep things like these in the kitchen without realizing how valuable their storage space may be. Eliminating these items will free up more room for the things you use everyday.

2. Think about the things you reach for frequently throughout the day. Silverware, pot holders, dish cloths, and soap wands may be what you need most often. Store those at waist level in the drawers below the kitchen counter. Using the kitchen sink as the center point, since most of us use water for washing hands, food, and dishes often at meal time, place the most commonly used items in the drawers closest to the sink, with the others in descending order of importance in more distant drawers.



3. Place everyday dishes on shelves immediately above or just below the counter and sink levels. This location provides easy and fast accessibility, especially helpful if you lift several plates or bowls at one time. Set the frequent-use items in front, closest to the cupboard doors (if any), with lesser-used items behind those if there is room.

4. Choose a cupboard or shelf area near the stove for pots and pans with their lids. You may be able to store some of these in the oven or broiler, but remember to remove them before heating these utensils for cooking.

5. Store occasional cooking items like crackpots, baking dishes, and roaster in adjacent storage areas or over the refrigerator. Be sure you won't accidentally hurt yourself or drop them if they set high above you. This might be a good area for cookbooks and other occasionally needed items.

6. Holiday dishes or china can be kept in the china cupboard or dining room sideboard if you have one. Otherwise, the basement, laundry room, or a utility closet will keep them safe from breakage until needed. In the same location add extra or special silverware, goblets, etc. Remember to wash them before using next time. This is a good area for kitchen utensils like a blender, juicer, etc.

If there is leftover space, stock popular food supplies like cereal, ready-to-eat or canned foods, and snacks. Other food items can be kept in a pantry, a utility cabinet, or nearby cupboards. For tight areas that lack storage space, purchase an inexpensive utility cart or cabinet for a corner or nearby room.

Keep things out of sight, and if necessary, post a printed list of items inside each cupboard door for ready information. That way you won't need to dig trough layers of dishes or stored items to find something that may not be there. The overall effect should create a sense of order and neatness so that the cook will not be intimidated each time he or she enters this vital part of the home!

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