Ever wonder how some people accomplish an effortlessly chic kitchen? You walk in and it just feels clean and you’re able to notice all the details? I’m sure you’re aware that this doesn’t happen in a kitchen full of clutter.
Truly accomplishing a functional and spotless kitchen doesn’t have to be that hard. In fact, this can be accomplished in any sized kitchen. I’ll let you in on a secret- anyone can do it! It boils down to mindset and consistency. Today I’ll arm you with six practical tools you will need to create the beautiful and functional kitchen you’ve been longing for. With these six tips you’ll be off to a good start in accomplishing the kitchen of your dreams !
Designer: Dee Murphy
First let’s talk a little more about what I mean when I say that it starts with mindset. In this day and age we live in, with constant access to the internet at our fingertips, we constantly get bombarded with information. How does this relate to kitchen organization? Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when you continually see a myriad of options relating to one particular subject.
I don’t know about you but for me when I see 100 different kitchens and I love all of them or parts about each one, sometimes it stifles me from just starting somewhere. Perhaps out of subconscious fear of it not looking like the perfect one in the pictures, or simply not knowing where to begin, or being overwhelmed at the amount of work I think it takes and finally- comparison!
It’s easy to talk yourself out of accomplishing the perfect space for you because of comparing results to someone else. This is just silly and can be changed if you set your mind to a different tune. This is where it boils down to mindset. The key to overcoming this negative mindset is to start telling yourself that you can do it— you just have to take the first step!
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill
Now... on to the tips !
Clean, Purge and Make a List
Whether you’re moving into a new home or renovating a kitchen, this is tip #1 for a good reason. This rule of thumb applies to any room you’re looking to update. Good news- this is half the battle as this can be a time consuming task. Prior to taking your own inventory it’s a good idea to do your research and look at some inspiration as to what every practical kitchen needs. For example every kitchen needs basic (and in good working condition ) kitchen utensils, silverware, set of dishes, wine glasses ect. Once you have your list made go ahead and purge ! If you find a spatula that looks like it’s been to hell and back, you guessed it —toss👏🏻it 👏🏻out 👏🏻.
Take heart because once you do this you will feel at least 50% better about your kitchen already. Make it a fun day by putting your favorite jams on and have a dance party as you toss out (or donate) junk you’ve accumulated throughout the years or haven’t used for at least 6 months.
If you have a bunch of seasonal things or entertaining items you'd like to bring out for special occasions set them aside and give them their own labeled home. Just remember to take it one cabinet and drawer at a time and if you’re overwhelmed, step away from it for an hour or so, take a walk and then come back to it with fresh eyes.
After purging go ahead and wipe out the drawers and cabinets making them sparkle and shine. Now would also be a good time to assess which drawers will need dividers and organizers but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves!
Then make your list- what do you have verses what you need. Next, make two categories: which items do you use on a regular basis and which items do you use every once in a while ? Once you have these categories made- it’s time to check which cabinets will be most useful for your everyday items. Which leads us to the next tip...
Mix it up
Do you already love the cabinets you’re working with or do they need an update? If you have the time and money maybe it’s time to get some custom cabinets installed. If it’s not the time for a renovation, assess the cabinet space you’re working with. Maybe you feel your kitchen isn’t functional because you’re storing your most used items such as spices or dishes in the wrong places. That’s why tip number one is important.
Now that you have your "daily use" items set aside, look at the cabinets that are most easily accessible. Which ones are eye level and within arms reach? Put those daily items in there.
The nice thing about custom made cabinets is that you can literally use them for whatever you want. For example installing two vertical cabinets next to your stove would be great for taller items like oil canisters or for standing your spices up.
In addition to classic cabinets, stylish idea is to consider using open shelving. This is a nice way to showcase some of your noteworthy items like pottery or pretty vases.
Remember- if you don't see it, chances are you won't use it. This is especially true of spices- spices can be stored in a pull out drawer, a spinning two-tiered spice rack, or in a vertical cabinet. Just make sure you're able to see it so you can create more tasty flavors.
Create Mini Spaces
After you’ve purged and taken inventory of your stuff and cabinet space- next in line is to think about what you use your kitchen for the most- and no it’s not just for cooking !
Think about your whole family- do you have small children that you would need to child-proof anything or add a children’s drawer where they can access their dishes easily? Do you have pets that frequent the kitchen while you’re cooking ? Tired of unsightly doggie bowls that get kicked around in the kitchen making a mess? Consider adding a doggie nook on a lower cabinet ledge that will add class and a unique flare to your kitchen.
Tech-savey but tired of tangled wires lying around your countertops? Consider installing a charging station like this in a pull out drawer or even purchasing a classy looking one that keeps all your goods organized like this one.
Organize around what the kitchen is most used for ! Not everyone is a chef. In fact many people enjoy ordering take-out and eating it in their kitchens these days (ahem or on their couch)… create a comfortable seating area at an island that’s easy to enjoy your door-dash order. Such as adding some plush high top seats. If you are a blossoming chef, then it’s extra important to have your area be cleared off as close to a blank canvas as possible for you to work your magic.
Just like taking inventory is important on what you have already- this step will help you organize around what matters to you most and prioritize each area of your kitchen based on importance.
If you’re a coffee lover, create a gorgeous coffee station that makes enjoying your morning coffee extra pleasant by the sheer ease of use and beauty of making it. It is your goal to customize your kitchen by how your typical flow of the day goes. Make it your own, unique to you and your family’s personality.
If you’re anything like me, seeing a clean countertop is like a breath of fresh air. Make it your goal to accomplish “mise en place”- the French term for everything having a place.
Once you find a home for everything- it will be easier for upkeep and maintaining that pristine counter look. If you are an entertainer and hosting is your speciality- organize a cute bar cart and put it along the edge of an island or wall in your kitchen that is inviting for guests to help themselves easily to a drink.
Invest in Practical Storage Solutions
Okay okay- I’m guilty of this- taking salad tongs to reach things beyond my grasp. Yes I’m short and it took my mom convincing me to buy a step stool before I gave up this bad habit. It's amazing how simple tools like a step stool can make your experience in the kitchen all the easier!
This next tip is where my love of the container store comes in handy. Instead of going into the container store and getting overwhelmed, remember to go off of your inventory list- shop for practical storage solutions based on what you actually need.
Do you have a million utensils (no bc you took my advice and purged!) but for the ones you do have, investing in a simple drawer organizer will keep your utensils clutter-free and spare you the pure annoyance of digging around your clanky pile of utensils in order to find that whisk you need. It will also make your drawers gorgeous !
Check out these kitchen starter organizers that can help jumpstart your kitchen organization more than this post could dream of. With these simple solutions your experience in the kitchen will be hassle free and take your kitchen to the next level.
More storage solutions include clear storage bins with labels, drawer dividers and inserts. Do you have so many dishes with so little cabinet space? Ever heard of risers? These will change your life! Here’s a chic example. A simple riser can double your space and make grabbing that small plate all the more hassle free! Cleaning supplies can be stored under the sink in a caddy or something like this and can be easily organized in no time.
Pull out drawer inserts are a great solution to finding pots and pans easily and can spare you the hassle of completely overhauling your cabinets. With drawer inserts you can pull them out and find what you’re looking for in a second like this one.
Another handy solution to a vexing problem is a pan rack that stores your pots and pans in a vertical manner like this one. That way when you’re rushing dinner at night you’re not cursing the pots and pans as you frantically try to find that one pot that seems to have gone missing. Have a Tupperware obsession? Get yourself a lid holder like this one. Just say bye-bye mismatched lids!
Pantry and Fridge
An organized kitchen wouldn’t be complete without an organized fridge and pantry. Start with one at a time. First do the same you did with your cabinets- clean out everything- checking expiration dates and then clean every surface. Consider moving items that are bought in a box to a clear bin that you can see and streamline the look of your fridge.
If you're looking for more practical tips- these ladies are the pros. The Home Edit has some fabulous resources to check out ! Take a look at one of their pantries-
Designed by The Home Edit
The simple yet practical step to accomplishing a streamline look like this is to use clear bins. Just imagine you can see everything instead of digging around in the far back of the fridge or knocking things over making a mess, just to find the hummus.
Do the same with your pantry. Keep heavier items on the bottom of the pantry and lighter items on the top shelves- again putting the most used items at eye level. If you want to level up and for all the type A's out there- color code everything! (Que busy moms gawking laughter). Don’t forget about using floor space in the pantry to store items you don’t need every day or back stocked items.
The bottom line here is - even if it costs you a few hundred dollars to get your kitchen to an orderly place- it will save you annoyance, time and ultimately help you accomplish that effortlessly clean kitchen vibe you’re after.