Here are 13 ways to create an organized and efficient kitchen so you can save time, save space, and enjoy cooking so much more.
Most of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen and there’s nothing worse than it being messy, set up inefficiently, or makes it less enjoyable to cook.
There are a lot of things we can do to make our kitchens much more functional and organized, and today I want to share with you what some of those things are. These are things that I’ve personally done in my kitchen to make it a space I enjoy being in!
1. Keep Counters Clear
Avoid too much countertop clutter so you have lots of clear space for cooking. Countertops can easily become cluttered spaces from knick-knacks to appliances we aren’t using. Take note of what you actually use and don’t use so you can clear some space.
Having some staples on the counter is useful though, and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
2. Reduce Excess Tools
Take stock of the tools you have that you use and don’t use, and get rid of what is taking up space. This includes your countertops, but also spaces like your cupboards, drawers, pantry, or other storage units you have in your kitchen. When we aren’t overloaded with tons of excess tools that we don’t need, it makes it a lot easier for us to find what we’re looking for. This makes for a much more efficient cooking experience.
3. Store Like with Like
When it comes to organizing your pantry, cupboards, or drawers, store like with like. Dedicate specific drawers to specific things like baking tools or chopping utensils. In the pantry, keeps all dry ingredients together (e.g. nuts, grains, pastas), or all oils and vinegars together. This saves space, saves time in the kitchen, and ensures you know what you need to replenish because things don’t get lost as easily.
Cupboards can become pretty messy over time, so it’s good to organize them every few months.
4. Keep Staples Easily Accessible
Keeping staples within arms reach is really useful. I like to keep a jug of all my wooden stirring spoons and such right next to my stove. Keeping spices you use most right by the stove top can be useful too, whether displayed on the counter or in the nearest cupboard. I recently transferred my salt into a salt cellar that I keep right next to my stove and it’s really convenient.
5. Do a Weekly Fridge Clean Out
Leftovers get forgotten about so easily. Our solution to this: before we leave to the grocery store for our big shop each weekend, we take a few minutes to clear our any old containers or food. That way when we come home to put everything away, we aren’t jamming fresh food in the fridge with old food.
6. Tidy Up Kitchen at End of Day
Tidying up the kitchen at the end of the day gives you a fresh space when you get up in the morning. Put the dishwasher on, wipe the counters, clear any dishes in the sink or drying rack. Waking up to a clean kitchen in the morning is glorious and it feels good to go to bed knowing such an important space in the house is clean and ready to be used next.
7. Use a Scrap Bowl When Preparing Food
If you aren’t doing this yet, it’s a must! Whenever you’re prepping food, be sure to have a scrap bowl or your compost bin out on your counter so you can quickly toss scraps in it. This saves you from having more of a mess on your counter and cutting boards while cooking and keeps things tidier as you cook.
8. Clean up as you go
This is a simple one, but makes a big difference as you cook! While you’re preparing food, put ingredients away when you’re finished with them. Done using the olive oil? Put it back in the cupboard. Finished with the bag of carrots? Toss it back in the fridge. Doing this prevents tons of pileup while cooking and even makes the final tidy-up process a little quicker since a lot has already been put away.
9. Sharpen Knives Often
I often forget about this, but using sharp knives makes a huge difference in food prep when it comes to the experience itself but also in the time it takes. Have you ever tried to dice up veggies with a dull knife? It’s literally the worst. A sharp knife will cut through things like butter and make cooking so much easier.
You can use a simple honing steel that’s pretty inexpensive, or a fancy whetstone which I actually got it as a gift a few years ago, though it takes some getting used to. Here’s a video on how to use it.
10. Sort Through Your Food Storage Containers
How easy is it for our food storage containers to have mismatched lids, no lids at all, or they’re just all over the place and really hard to find. Considering the fact that we use these containers pretty much daily for storing leftovers and such, it’s worth it for them to be easy to access when needed. Give ’em a sort so it’s less frustrating every time you open the cupboard door.
I personally prefer glass over plastic, that way they’re safer for reheating in. Sometimes I’ll even use them in the oven. Yay for multipurpose items!
Speaking of storage containers…
11. Use Mason Jars
Mason jars are the best things. You can use them for leftovers, as glasses, for storing homemade sauces, dressings, and mixes, or for storing dried goods in the pantry. Keep an assortment of them in various sizes so you can make use of them in a variety of ways.
12. Keep a Running Grocery List
A running grocery list is very useful. Basically, you write down what you need as it pops up (e.g. writing down olive oil when you’re out of it). This could be a list on your fridge, on a chalkboard, or on your phone. Whatever works. You just want to keep it in a place where you can write things down quickly whenever you notice you need more of it so you don’t forget. You can add these items on to a larger grocery list that you make before you go shopping.
13. Keep Meal Plan Handy
I’m a big fan of meal planning and I do it every single week. Keeping a meal plan handy and visible in your kitchen makes it so that you can easily see what your meal options are. This helps big time with overall efficiency in the kitchen. It’s pretty overwhelming to figure out on the fly what to cook for dinner in the middle of the week, especially when you don’t even have the right ingredients on hand. Meal planning ensures you not only have options for what to cook that week, but you have the ingredients on hand.
Want to learn step-by-step how to get started with meal planning? Check out my Meal Planning Mini Course.
What are your best tips for having an organized and efficient kitchen? Share in the comments below.