By Chef Alli on November 13, 2018
Once I establish a good system that makes my life easier and my work more streamlined, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And, because cooking involves a significant amount of work, good systems in my kitchen are very important. Below are a few organizational ideas I implemented that have made a difference for me.
1. No More “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”.....Ever
If I can’t easily see my tools, they don’t get used. Sad fact, but it’s the truth. That’s where three hanging bars really made a difference for me. I placed these on end caps of my cupboards and then added hooks so I could hang my tools. Voila! Suddenly I was using ALL of my kitchen tools because they were much more visibly accessible to me.
2. Don’t Waste ANY Vertical Space
One day I realized I had an entirely unused space on one side of my refrigerator. I already had a magnetic knife bar on hand, so I added adhesive hooks that worked great for measuring cups. Because my scoops were taking up so much room in a drawer, I found another magnetic bar that came with hooks so I could hang them together. Lastly, long individual magnetic hooks took care of my measuring spoons. I can’t tell you how much having these often-used items so accessible makes my kitchen prep so much more efficient.
3. Don’t Forget About Velcro
I have a handful of essential tools I want to keep front and center, but they didn’t have any way to be hung from a hook. This is where a small piece of velcro came to my rescue. My ice pick, instant-read thermometer and bottle opener could now join forces with the other tools hanging on the side of my fridge.
4. Those Itty-Bitty Brass Cup Hooks Really Rock
I found I could gain one whole shelf in my cupboard just my adding cup hooks to the bottom of the shelf above it. This allowed all my mugs to hang, freeing up shelf space below for plates and bowls.
5. Divide and Conquer
Dividing my drawers helped keep certain areas more contained, especially if the drawer was deep. I taped in cardboard to create dividers, then added baskets. I was amazed at how this simple system helped keep everything way more visible to me, as well as organized and tidy.
6. Pegboard: The Mega Organizer
I asked my husband to hang a piece of pegboard in my pantry, not really knowing exactly how I’d use it. About that time, I was frustrated with my cast iron skillet storage. My new pegboard made perfect sense for cookware, especially once I traced the outline of each skillet with a marker. This created my “skillet map” so I always knew where to return each piece of cast iron once I’d used it.
7. Hanging Wire Wall Baskets For The Win
One day at Walmart, I noticed these tall wire baskets with hooks. Though they were really calling my name, I couldn’t think where or how I’d put them to use. After studying my pantry, I asked my husband to place a narrow board across the top of the wall at the back of the counter. This allowed me to hang the wire baskets there, utilizing the wall space that was otherwise wasted. I’ve stored everything from produce to muffin mixes to snacks in those baskets and I love having that extra storage. The wire allows everything to be visible and is great for storing produce (such as onions and potatoes) because air can circulate.
8. Fall in Love With Lazy Susans
My all-time favorite use for a Lazy Susan is for my spices, likely because they are something I use every day. First, alphabetize your spices, then place them onto the Lazy Susans. As an example, I keep A-L spices on one Lazy Susan and M-Z spices on another. I like to purchase my spices in bulk and then store them in tall, skinny jars. Because these jars are pretty heavy, they don’t fly off easily as I’m spinning the Lazy Susan to find what I need.
9. Can You Ever Have Too Many Utensil Pots?
I keep three utensil pots and one utensil spinner on my cupboard at all times: One for all things silicone such as spoonulas, spatulas and pastry brushes; one for my utensils that cut (kitchen shears, peelers, pizza cutter etc); and the third one for wooden and metal utensils. Keeping these defined and separated saves time in locating what I need for particular techniques and recipes. And, I’ve noticed that keeping the utensils that cut as well as the wooden tools away from the silicone really helps keep it from getting all knocked up.
10. Your Good Knives Deserve The Straight and Narrow
Good knives cost a pretty penny, but if you take care of them , they can be a lifetime investment. One of the best things you can do for your knives is to store them properly. If they are banging into each other while being stored on top of each other in a drawer, this can really mess up the edge of your blade....exactly what you don't want. Place them side by side on a magnetic bar that’s been securely installed on a wall area in your kitchen. They look awesome lined up here, AND you’re truly saving their lives....as well as your pocketbook.
11. Leftovers Aren’t Lame....if You Actually Eat Them
I realized more than half the time at our house, leftovers weren’t being eaten only because we forgot about them once they got buried in the fridge. Installing an inexpensive dry erase board on the front of my fridge has totally changed all that. Anytime I place leftovers into my fridge, I first write down what they are on my memo board. Now we eat the majority of the leftovers, minimizing a lot of food waste.
12. Turn Your Cupboard Doors Into Your Favorite Little Get Away
My mom always stuck all kinds of great little tidbits onto the inside of her cupboard doors and now I do the same. She used tape, I use magnets. I covered cheap pieces of sheet metal with fabric and then stuck them to the inside of my cupboard doors. Now all my recipes, shortcuts, reminders and photos can be easily moved around as needed since they are all attached by magnets. This is absolutely one of my favorite kitchen improvements because it’s super handy and reminds me of my mom every day.