Our June installment of Project Declutter in Woman’s Day magazine covered the hub of the home, the kitchen. Our two brave participants, Pam Lyons in Illinois and Linda Quirk in Michigan, got their kitchens cookin’ again with our organizing makeovers!
The kitchen is one of the most complex areas to organize, because there are so many different functions going on in the space, so much equipment required, and so many people using and sharing the space so many times per day. When you tackle your kitchen, pay particular attention to the four “F-words” we teach for strategizing your space: Features, Flow, Function and Frequency.
Features: What are the main fixed elements of your kitchen? The common items are your refrigerator, stove, oven, sink, dishwasher and microwave. These are elements you usually cannot change without remodeling.
Flow: How do these features relate to one another? Is the sink close to the dishwasher? Your goal is to minimize the steps it takes to prepare and clean up your meals, so you want to locate the various tools and supplies in the best locations to optimize your efficiency.
Function: What tasks are you trying to accomplish? Create zones for each based on their proximity to the features. Store items close to their point-of-use. Here are some common kitchen functions:
- Washing and cleaning — dishes, food, hands, appliances and surfaces
- Food preparation — chopping, measuring, slicing, mixing and blending
- Baking — using mixer, specific ingredients and specific tools
- Cooking — baking, boiling, frying, roasting and broiling
- Serving — dishes, utensils and accessories
- Food storage — plasticware, foils and wraps
- Lunch-making center — lunch boxes, thermal containers and plastic utensils
- Pantry — cereals, dry goods, rice & beans, soups, beverages, etc.
Frequency: How often do you use the items you are storing? If you don’t use them very often, like cookie cutters or holiday dishes, store them in a less accessible place.
We always recommend working on big organizing projects with a friend or a professional organizer. Why? Mainly because you really need objectivity on your stuff! I was able to remind Pam in our makeover that she didn’t need two potato peelers, two cheese slicers, and two candy thermometers, because I was there to notice and ask the question. She chose her favorite of each pair and we donated the other items to Goodwill. (See my video here about the cheese slicers and other kitchen tips)
Remember that, to help connect people with work and provide employment and financial programs, Goodwill needs your donations of household items like kitchen utensils, pots and pans, and dishes, not just clothing… go through your kitchen and donate some of your extra gadgets this weekend.