Just DO it! Spring Clean your kitchen!

Julie Miguel is a digital content producer with a specialization in food media as well as an active food blogger located in Toronto, Canada. The focus of her blog, Daily Tiramisu, is to empower home cooks to be fearless in the kitchen and she does this by taking traditionally difficult recipes and making them easier to execute.

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This will be the year that you are going to get organized in the kitchen! My mission here is not to stress you out but to inspire you, a little, to get the busiest place in your house into great shape.  
And besides, life is just going to get busier and busier so use what’s left of winter and staying indoors to get your kitchen into tip-top shape so that when the nicer weather arrives, you will have more time to spend outside enjoying it! Who knows? maybe if you start your Spring cleaning early, spring will come sooner? (Here’s hoping).
My method is really simple. I know organizing can be cumbersome and also expensive but I will give you ways to organize your kitchen using the space and resources you have. (Quick and cheap fixes!)  Let’s face it, if we have to go out and purchase new stuff, we likely will never get to spring cleaning.
After I give you some tips on how to organize your kitchen, I will follow this post with some tips on how to start a great nightly kitchen routine to keep your kitchen amazing and functional.
Here’s how to start organizing your kitchen:

1. Put things away. Simple right? With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we often don’t take the few minutes it takes to put things away that we use daily. We are left with those items staring us in the face every morning and causing us stress! You are left thinking, I wish my kitchen would clean itself or maybe I should hire a cleaning person. Don’t stress! It doesn’t take long at all. Start putting everything in its place. This is the best way to find out what you need space for and what you really don’t need anymore. By simply putting stuff away you will open your cupboards and realize you may not have space for the things that you use often. So, naturally, you will start to de-clutter your cupboards.

2. De-clutter. Throw away any expired food items, purge items like half bags of pasta and etc., and give away any dishes, utensils, tools, ingredients that you don’t need anymore to a friend or goodwill.  This will free up lots of space in your kitchen!

3. Organize. The first step in organizing is mapping out where you want everything in your kitchen to go.  Try to situate things that you use together, close together (i.e) coffee station near coffee mug cupboard.  Also, try and find extra space that you are able to re-purpose.  If, for example, you have any areas you are not using effectively, try to re-purpose those areas. Filling up these new spaces will give you a lot more room to organize your kitchen.  Here are some examples of what I mean. 

Extra Closet Space. One area I wasn’t using was my laundry room closet. I cleaned it out, removed the doors and it was ready for some shelving. I bought a standard wire shelf and used this for a lot of my large appliances and all of my baking pans. To close off the space, I bought a standard curtain and a shower curtain tension rod. Now I have a home for most of my appliances and I have created a lot of space in my kitchen! Great! Now there will be more space available in the kitchen to organize!

Extra Wall Space. Perfect for shelves or stand up units.
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If you don’t have an island or a cupboard available, install a shelf
on a free wall to hold all of your books.
They will be up and out of the way.
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Here’s another idea. This would be a kid hazard (same reason why I moved mine into a closet). However, if you have older kids this works! Mind the dust though!

Books & Magazines.  I keep all of my cook books in the centre of my kitchen, under my island because I use them frequently.  If you don’t, put them in a cupboard out of the way.  The top shelf of my island has my root vegetables, place mats, and items I use a lot like measuring cups and a grater. Lastly, a cooler bag (since I am constantly packing one for the kids) and a basket with face clothes and bibs for the baby.  If you don’t have an island but you have the space for one and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on one then check out my DIY: Kitchen island post

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If you are a magazine collector, like myself, another great idea is to store your magazines in magazine holders and to organize them by season. This way, when you are searching for say some menu idea for say a summer barbecue, you have all of your summer magazines in one place.

magazines kitchen Just DO it! Spring Clean your kitchen!
If you don’t have an island or extra shelf space, try to keep them in the kitchen or nearby because if they are anywhere else you will likely never use.

Pots & Pans.  I hope you have de-cluttered your pots and pans cupboard because I am sure there are tons of pots and pans that you will never use again. Give them away! Organize your cupboard by putting the most used items in the front. I added a lid storage drawer to organize my lids. They sell ones that you don’t even need to screw on to your cupboard base. Be sure to add paper towel between your pots and pans to avoid scratching when you stack them. Put baking sheets, cutting boards, grills, etc. tucked to the sides of the cupboard.

Utensils. Start by de-cluttering, of course, and then if you haven’t got one already, get a counter top utensil canister. it is amazing how much space you will save in your drawers and this makes finding your utensils quick and easy! Keep your fine dining serving utensils in the dining room or in containers tucked away on your top shelves in your cupboards for when you need them.

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I used small containers to put my little tools in to and the rest of the drawer
is for mt larger, bulkier tools and utensils.  You don’t have to go out and
buy fancy drawer organizers just yet.  Use what you have and save that for another day.

Pantry. Start by organizing items by convenience – what do you use most? Those items should be on the first shelf. I bought a small Lazy Susan to put all of my small spice jars on. My plastic wrap is on the first shelf because I use it the most. The second shelf have the larger jars of spices and non-perishable spreads. As you move higher up in the cupboard you will see full packages of pasta and my coffee pod storage.

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My lower pantry cupboard is used for less used items and larger packages. My messy looking recipe collections hide here too. I also use a small basket for rices and grains and one for plastic bags.

Baking supplies.  Try to keep all of your baking supplies together so that when you bake, you are not scrambling around your kitchen. A lazy susan in this cupboard also works well for small packages. 

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Plates. I use the same method to organize my everyday plates cupboard. The most used on the bottom.

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Counter top convenience stations. Another great tip I like to use is setting up convenience stations on my counter. This allows for easy access for those items that you use often. 
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Bread & Spreads: The first station I set up is for our bread, butter and toaster. This station is used for a quick breakfast or an easy late night snack for us or the kids. Put your favourite spreads and clean spreading utensils here as well.
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Cooking essentials: This is a station that I set up right next to my stove. It has all of the items I cook with on a daily basis (salt, pepper, EVOO, garlic, vinegars). I put all of these items on a flat plate, off of the counter, so I can easily wipe it clean. Also have your utensil plate available nearby so when you start cooking, you have a place to put your dirty utensils without making a mess on your counter.
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Caffeination Station: Of course, this is one that most people use daily. Have your coffee, sugar, coffee machine, all in one area and keep the front of it clean so you have room to prepare your coffee. I store my mugs in the cupboard above this station for easy access.
Medicine & Vitamins Cabinet: I keep this stuff in the kitchen. If you do too, take everything out, and put all of the old and expired medicines and vitamins into a bag. Make sure to dispose of them properly and bring them to your local pharmacy (they will gladly take them from you). Now organize your medicines according to ailment or purpose: Kids medicines, cough & cold, pain, first aid items, kids vitamins, adult vitamins, etc.

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Awesome! You did it! You organized your kitchen! Take note of how much your stress level has decreased and how much more time you want to spend in your kitchen!
Now click here for great ways to get your new organized kitchen into a routine.
With Love,
Jules for Daily Tiramisu

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