Getting Organized: The Kitchen

Tina | January 16, 2013 | 58 Comments

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it’s also one of those places that can spiral into disorder with alarming speed! I know that as soon as I get the kitchen all neat and tidy after one meal, it’s nearly time to start cooking again… and I don’t make terribly elaborate meals. Along with kitchen disorganization is food shopping organization: It’s annoying to realize you’re out of an essential ingredient when you’re in the process of cooking. If this sounds like your life, here are some tips on kitchen organization for busy moms:

  • Think about where you use each item, and revamp your cabinet system if necessary. Are the pots and pans kept near the stove? If you have little children, do you have the glass bowls up high? If you don’t have a dedicated pantry, are the canned goods kept near the can opener? (You could also move the can opener if the answer to this question is “no.”) If you consistently find yourself trekking all over your kitchen in order to gather what you need, then you might find this step very helpful.
  • Make your pantry and refrigerator child-friendly. Once your kids know not to dump out a box of cereal or splash milk all over the floor, they can help themselves to snacks as long as your house rules permit it. Keep the snacks that your children can have on a low pantry shelf. If you want them to be able to pour their own drinks, consider transferring juice and milk into smaller containers that are easier for them to handle. Keep these on a low shelf in the refrigerator. Plastic bowls and cups could be in a low drawer, and voila, your kids can now help themselves! Supervise the first few times to make sure that they know to put the food back where it belongs. Also, show them where to put their dirty dishes and how to clean up a small spill (they’ll have to call you over for the biggies). Independence in your kids can make your job easier, and teaching them to pick up after themselves lends well to overall organization!
  • Make a menu plan. I do this every weekend before we go shopping. First, I go through what we already have in the freezer, fridge and pantry, in an effort to use up items before they go bad. Then I write down exactly what we need on the grocery list, if it’s not something that we’d buy anyway. Then, and this is the most important part, we try very hard to stick to the plan. Part of successful menu-planning is to look at the calendar to see what’s going on each day. If you have a very busy afternoon coming up, for example, that’s the day to plan to use the crockpot, not to try a new recipe with several time-consuming steps.
  • Get family members in the habit of writing down items that they use up on the grocery list. I keep mine on a magnetic notepad on the refrigerator. Particularly once the kids are old enough to start cooking, this is so important. They can also write down any special requests, though you should retain veto power; if we bought everything that my kids wrote down, there would be some weeks where most of our grocery bill would be spent on Oreos, Doritos and squeezable yogurts!

Do you have a well-organized kitchen? What are some of your secrets?

Comments (58)

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  1. Dorothy Boucher says:

    these are all great ideas, and something i need to get in a better habbit of is organizing heheh great review and thanks for sharing ,,, I am still in need of twitter followers please if anyone can help me out @tisonlyme143 Thanks 😉

  2. Marthalynn says:

    I loved this! I’m bookmarking it for later. I definitely do NOT have a perfectly organized kitchen. It’s not so bad, but there is room for improvement.

  3. denise smith says:

    these are great ideas i am a homemaker also so im always looking for good tips

  4. jules p says:

    I like these suggestions. It will help get me motivated to clean that room of my house. great tips

  5. Chelsey says:

    I keep a low cabinet stocked with the kids cups, bowls, etc. so the kids can help themselves without crawling on the counters. And if a storage container cracker or breaks, I make sure to throw out the accompanying lid just to stay uncluttered.

  6. Huguette English says:

    Great tips, I need all the help I can get 🙂

  7. Heidi LeMay says:

    I really need to organize my kitchen. My canned goods and pantry are so hard to get t0 sometimes.

  8. db0 says:

    I’m going to organize my kitchen now. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Renee Travis says:

    I love all these ideas and tips! Especially for the little ones. I have 5 grand kids! Thanks 🙂

  10. Trish F says:

    All great tips, my kitchen is a mess but needs some major renovations. I will keep that can oppener tip in mind when planning my pantry.

  11. Lisa R says:

    Now if I can only get my family to stop leaving their stuff on the counters, maybe finally i would be good to go

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net

  12. john meinke says:

    great ideas thank you

  13. Christina Kelbel says:

    Great ideas! An organized kitchen is very important

  14. shirley dubon says:

    Great tips! my kitchen is the place where I spend most of the day in, and seems never to be organized or clean, it is hard with a two year old!

  15. Julie Wood says:

    I can not believe that this is posted here today! I am going to be organizing my kitchen because it is so terrible with my table a mess with cans and dishes on it. I am getting a new pantry shelf, and I am going to label the shelves with the food that I am going to put on it! Thanks for your tips!

  16. lisa says:

    I like a clean sanitized kitchen.Just don’t open a cupboard!Lids and bowls…will tumble down. That’s where I need help!

  17. LAMusing says:

    Good tips, but my kitchen is so tiny it’s really hard to organize.

  18. Bashir Ahmed says:

    Well, great ideas and tips, btw my kitchen is already well oranized. everything is perfect! 🙂

  19. Pam says:

    Perfect timing! I was planning to reorganize in my kitchen this coming weekend. Now I got a great guide to get started with.

  20. Maritza Robinson says:

    I am always trying to organize my kitchen and it doesn’t work out that well. Thanks for these great ideas. Will try next time.

  21. Sherry b says:

    Love the idea of putting the items next to where I use them. Think I move the rest of the stuff across the room for storage. TFS.

  22. Meghan says:

    Great tips, I struggle with putting all the kitchen utensils, plates, food,etc in a easy to reach spot. Also my biggest peeve is my hubby never pays attention when I show him where everything goes and he puts it whereever he feels like.. then I have to reorganize the kitchen all over again.. and also the dreaded manly fear of loading or unloading the dishwasher lol i let it pile up and stink … and it still stinks ::sigh:: I need tips to have a functioning kitchen..I thought of getting a label maker..but my hubby can’t see well and looses those walgreens grade reading lenses all the time. sorry I didn’t mean to complain I guess I needed to let that out.

  23. Jeanine says:

    I keep a list on my fridge as well. When someone complains that something wasn’t bought, I ask them if they wrote it on the list. Guess what the answer is?

  24. Mitzi Fisher says:

    I love these suggestions. Keep em coming!!!

  25. Rama says:

    Thanks for the ideas! I lightly organized my fridge earlier today 😉 now for the cabinets!

  26. Dragomir Cristina says:

    It’s very hard to be organised in the kitchen

  27. Vikki says:

    Thank you for these good ideas.

  28. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    I got one of those notepads with a magnet to hang on the fridge, that way if we run out of something, the list is right there. I tell them if it’s not on the list I’m not going to remember to buy it (which is very true) so that helps. I like your menu plan idea. I will have to try that.

  29. RonLeyba says:

    Kitchen is one part of the house that needs constant organizing. Thanks for the above listed tips!

  30. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    These are all good ideaas, but I had trouble getting family member to write dwown what they had used up. However, since I told them that special requests would not be honored unless finished items were written down too that improved.

  31. Holly Trudeau says:

    Thanks for the tips! My next project is to organize my kitchen cabinets that have been taken over by bottles, sippy cups, etc. I hate having things fall on my head when I open the cabinet!

  32. Lilia says:

    Such great tips! Gratsi! 🙂

  33. Reava says:

    Great tips. All you really have to do to keep things organized is get a little “anal” about things. Or a little OCD. Put things back as soon as you are finished and don’t leave things sitting out. Create places where everything is supposed to go and keep on that same track. I cannot stand a dirty kitchen or a cluttered one. Makes me want to skip a meal.

  34. Roxanne says:

    The kitchen is my #1 disorganized room in our house and our house is tiny so it makes up for a majority of our living area. I definitely need to get some more ideas to get better organized

  35. cathy stech says:

    LOVE the ideas! I think I need to start with the “tupperware” dish like containers!

  36. librarypat says:

    The last two points are what I need to work on. I have a bad habit of not planning many meals ahead of time. With just my husband and I at home now, we have a tendency to eat out when we are running errands. I will have food I planned to use sitting at home.
    As for having family members list items they have used so they can be replaced, forget it. I have been beating that horse for 40 years and it is going nowhere.

  37. Maddie K. says:

    I recently expanded my baking closet, but now it needs to be more organized. I need to get some items to make things more accessable, and some lights too since some of the closet is too dark to really see what is what.

  38. Serena Powell says:

    Great advice, thank you for creating this post. Sadly, I have a super small kitchen.

  39. Bernice M Garcia says:

    I love using a meal planning service called emeals, it makes it so much easier to stay organized and less running out for fast food.

  40. akshatha says:

    thank you for this post, great tips and advice, i love it and will try to follow it

  41. JD Hoppe says:

    I definitely need to get organized in the kitchem thanks for sharing the great ideas!

  42. mrs cheryl e maritnez says:

    Really great tips. I am wanting to get my kitchen more organized now that I am retired. No excuse not to do a bit at a time. this is giving me the incentive to do it! Starting tomorrow!

  43. Dawn Justice says:

    The kitchen is the hardest room to organize in my opinion. I’ll try some of your ideas, maybe that’s what I was missing.

  44. Leah CB says:

    I love your tips. Wish I could just get my family to throw away empty boxes out of the cabinet, fridge, & freezer one of my biggest pet peeves. We put a metal shelf thing up for the cereal, school snacks, etc. It has baskets & things on it. Makes it easier for my girls to get their own snacks & see what cereals are available. I wish there was a magic trick to organize all of the plastic containers in my cabinet!

  45. Joan says:

    I feel like I’m alwasy reorganizing my kitchen. It can get out of control if I don’t stay on top of it.

  46. Sharon Siqueiros says:

    hahaha Organized kitchen??? what is that?? At least “I” know where everything is and goes….
    Please talk to my husband!!!

  47. meegan whitford says:

    I really liked this post some great ideas thanks!

  48. Sherry b says:

    Thanks for the tips, esp. putting items by where they are used most.

  49. abbi says:

    I came home the other night from work and my 10 yr old daughter had rearranged the silverware drawer. When I opened it I thought it would be a disaster but I was actually surprised. What she did actually made more sence and I really liked it. Pretty bad a 10 yr old can arrange it better than I could

  50. Ariel Abella says:

    my favorite place in our home, I really love this article.

  51. Lamar Bowen says:

    I wish my kitchen was more cat-friendly. I can’t wait until I move into a place where it’s a closed door kitchen.

  52. Marcia says:

    What a helpful article, thanks!

  53. Maddie K. says:

    My kitchen is so small and space is at a premium. Even if I wanted to put something else in I couldn’t because I lack space.

  54. cathy henatyszen says:

    being organized in the kitchen is so important to me… thanks for your ideas

  55. Rosanne says:

    I appreciated the comment about putting the healthy foods for children on the lower shelves of the refrigerator and pantry. I’ve always had the up high for me to reach to give them

  56. Suzie M says:

    My kitchen is not terribly organized always hoping to get at it

  57. crystal allen says:

    we moved to our home 2 years ago and my kitchen is still unorganized. i will try a few of your tips to see if that helps. thanks

  58. charj says:

    I have a small kitchen with very little counter space and no pantry. Your first tip is definitely worth considering.

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