The set up of your kitchen make the difference between a fun cooking experience or a stressful one. Spending a bit of time organizing your pantry, fridge, and counters will save you loads of time down the line when gathering spices for a baking project or prepping ingredients for that weeknight dinner. Whether you dedicate one big day to working through this list or spread out the organizing over the course of a few weeks one area at a time, you'll be basking in the glow of a kitchen makeover in no time.
Marie Kondo Your Dried Goods
Making the most of your kitchen has as much to do with making room than with the counters and appliances. If you have extra time at home right now, carve out some space! Go through all of your food. Check expiration dates on all of your spices, grains, and other pantry staples. Sniff, evaluate, unsentimentally consolidate—then toss.
Reorganize the Freezer and Fridge
Take everything out of your freezer. Label items you plan to save with a marker. Stash similar ingredients, like bags of frozen veggies or packaged leftovers in separate storage containers within the freezer and refrigerator. Repeat with the fridge. Once you have removed all of the inedible stuff, move anything that you do not plan to eat in the next month to an out of the way spot. Your newfound ingredients might even save you some money on your next shopping trip.
Edit Dishes, Tools, and Equipment
Methodically go through each drawer and cupboard and assess every gadget and tool. How often do you use it? The most valuable territory in your kitchen are the drawers and cabinets between knee height and eye level. Move the most commonly used dishes, equipment, and tools to those drawers and cabinets. If you are baking a lot right now, move the baking stuff from the high shelf into a place that is more accessible. Is the slow cooker currently your best friend? Move it to a cabinet that you can reach without a stool. Put anything that you do not regularly use in a distant cabinet or closet or a different room altogether. You get the idea.
Bonus Tip: Dedicate a Work Surface
Set up a counter height workstation within a few steps of your sink and refrigerator. It should be about 34 to 36 inches high and 24 inches wide. If you do not have this much counter space, consider clearing the top of a cart or a sturdy table. When you are ready to cook, nothing else is allowed on this surface. Put all of your ingredients on a sheet tray behind your cutting board. Put a bowl for scraps or garbage behind your cutting board. Have a knife and a towel ready and start cooking! Professional chefs seldom have very much room in their busy kitchens, but commonly use a setup like this to make the most of the space they have.