Proper Kitchen Organization
Will Make Your Kitchen a
Pleasure to Use

Kitchen organization is the art of storing everything in your kitchen within easy proximity to tasks to best utilize the space available for maximize efficiency. After all, you can't have a glorious kitchen if things are disorganized and hard to find! One of the main reasons people give for remodeling their kitchen is to increase the functionality and storage space; and that is a perfect opportunity to improve kitchen organization as well.

If you have a small kitchen, it is especially important to plan to maximize every bit of available space. But even if you have a large kitchen, it will not work without careful thought into "what goes where." There is a lot of equipment to be stored and you should organize your kitchen storage around your equipment and locate items near where they will be used.

Kitchens are organized into work centers or stations centered around one of the primary appliances in the kitchen. These are some of the items commonly stored in each center.

Clean Up Center (Sink Centered)

  • Silverware
  • Glasses, mugs, cups
  • Everyday plates Trash container or trash compactor
  • Cleaning supplies (but consider another area if small children are around)
  • Dishrags, dish towels, sponges
  • Food storage containers
  • Aluminum foil, trash bags, waxed paper, plastic wrap
  • Paper towels
  • Hand towels
  • Napkins, placemats

Food Preparation and Mixing Center (Centered Around Prep Sink and/or Generous Counter Space)

  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Cake pans, pie plates, cookie sheets, baking pans
  • Rolling pin
  • Casseroles
  • Souffle and quiche dishes, ramekins
  • Serving platters and bowls
  • Cruets
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Cutting boards
  • Colanders
  • Trays
  • Knives
  • Small baking utensils such as spoons, scrapers, whisks, graters, cookie cutters, etc.
  • Food containers w/lids
  • Electric mixer
  • Blender
  • Food processor
  • Toaster, toaster oven
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee grinder
  • Trash container
  • Spices, flavorings
  • Flours, sugars, etc.

Cooking Center (Centered Around Cooktop or Range)

  • Saucepans, frying pans, lids
  • Dutch ovens
  • Grill pans
  • Stock pots
  • Tea kettle
  • Casseroles
  • Pot holders and oven mitts
  • Knives
  • Cooking utensils--spoons, spatulas, whisks, strainers, etc.
  • Salt and pepper shakers and grinders
  • Spices, oils, vinegars
  • Specialty appliances--woks, electric griddles, crepe pans
  • Microwave

Food Storage and Refrigeration Center (Centered Around Refrigerator)

  • Refrigerator
  • Pantry storage for canned, boxed and packaged foods
  • Wine Storage
  • Pet food
  • Bottled drinks
  • Bulk items

Here are some commonly available kitchen organization options to consider when in the planning stage with your designer.

  • Drawers--Drawers are very efficient means of kitchen organization merely due to the fact that there is less motion necessary to pull out a drawer, than to open a door and either hunt inside or pull out an interior drawer. It is easier to see the items in a drawer than behind a door--and there is less bending. The standard kitchen does not have enough drawers, partly due to the fact that they are more expensive. You want to have drawers near your sink for silverware, near your cooktop or range for pots and pans and utensils, and near any work station for small items and containers. And don't forgot to plan for the all important "junk" drawer!
  • Drawer accessories--Cutlery and utensil inserts, whether single or double-tiered, are handy for keeping silverware and small utensils organized. Other possibilities for drawer accessories include bread boards, knife inserts, spice racks, bottle dividers and plate organizers.
  • Lazy Susans--The revolving shelves of lazy Susans make finding things very easy, and are very helpful for kitchen organization. They work well for deep corner cabinets. Look for ones with rails or built-up edges that keep things from falling off. The only drawback is that they create wasted corners in the cabinets.
  • "Magic corners"--Have you ever had a blind corner in your kitchen? You know what I mean, a corner cabinet that you have to bend down and dig through to get to the back to find that item that you don't use very much but you need now? How about a device that fits in that corner base unit and swings out when you pull the door open and brings everything with it to your fingertips? A magic kitchen storage solution indeed!
  • Pullouts--Pullouts are very helpful for specific functions. Spice or knife pullouts are handy near the range or cooktop. Having a pullout for the trash receptacle is a must. Pantries pullouts are great. I like pullouts in narrow pantry units because they are accessible from both sides.
  • Rollout shelves--These stalwarts of kitchen organization make it easy to group like items together--whether spices or storage containers. What is the difference between a pullout and a rollout? A pullout is attached to the door and comes out when the door is opened. A rollout is not attached to the door--the door must be opened before the rollout can be pulled forward. Rollout shelves can be installed in base cabinets to make items accessible without so much bending. They can be made of wood or vinyl and depending on the guides used can be full extension and/or self-closing.
  • Sink base accessories--The false front can be made to tilt-out and fitted with a plastic tray to hold sponges, etc. Consider installing a wire rack underneath to hold cleaning supplies, or bins for storing vegetables such as potatoes and onions. A towel bar is a very useful accessory under a sink base. Do consider the depth of the sink and the space requirements for a garbage disposer before ordering additional accessories.
  • Trash management--A cabinet dedicated to a trash pullout is one of the most useful accessories you can have in the kitchen. Depending on the width of the cabinet, you can have one or two containers. One can be used for recyclables. If you have a separate prep sink in the kitchen, consider installing a second trash pullout nearby to keep fruit and vegetable trimmings for the compost pile. There will usually be a drawer in the cabinet--a handy place to store extra plastic liners.
  • Tray dividers--Tray dividers are excellent for kitchen organization, making it easy to store long narrow items such as cookie sheets, trays, large platters, and baking pans without stacking. The upper cabinet in a tall oven units works perfectly for this. The dividers can be of white wire or wood. Tray dividers can also be easily installed where needed in a base cabinet.

Proper kitchen organization make working in the kitchen that much easier and more pleasant.

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