12 Great Ideas for Organization In the Kitchen
Spring cleaning? Here's how to whip your kitchen into shape
There's a term in French cooking called "mise en place" that translates literally as "putting in place." The Culinary Institute of America has defined it as "everything in place" and it refers to setting up ingredients before cooking, such as chopped herbs, vegetables, meat, etc. It's all about organization and preparation, and I have personally co-opted the term in the context of kitchen design as "everything in its place" when referring to organization of kitchen gadgets, dishes, and other non-perishable items... since a residential kitchen isn't as likely to have chopped veggies and herbs sitting out all night in little dishes, but it does need a place for everything and everything in its place. Here's how to define a spot for everything in the kitchen in twelve easy steps.
No. 1: Drawer Inserts. In a commercial kitchen, the cooks would have all their ingredients prepped and sitting out in nine-pans or bowls, so they can just grab and go as they turn out dish after dish. In a residential kitchen, it's nice to have a spot for everything — silverware, utensils, foil, jars of spices, dried fruit, nuts, etc. You may not be a professional chef, but you can aspire to organize like one!
Caddies for dishes work great if you don't have a ton of wall cabinets. Plus, these handy ones can be picked up and brought to the dishwasher for unloading or to the table for setting.
Dowel systems for holding dishes in place inside a drawer are another option.
Love this pegboard idea for inside a drawer. It allows you to adjust dividers for your needs. It's also a great way to create wine storage when you don't have a place for it!
No. 2: Drawer Dividers. This is a great solution for storing lids: Put a horizontal divider in the back or front of the drawer where you store your pots. This can be done in wood as well.
More horizontal drawer dividers. This is a solution I haven't tried before and I can't wait to try it out — great way to store casserole dishes!
Love this hybrid tray divider and drawer. It's a great way to get at things a bit more easily.
No. 3: Reclaim That Corner. If you're the type that can't stand lazy Susans or magic corners, there's finally a solution: corner drawer units! You can do a lazy Susan below with a top drawer or all three drawers as shown here.
No. 4: Pull Out Pantries. This is a great solution for taller spices, oils and vinegars. It's amazing that a small little cabinet like this can solve so many dilemmas and keep down clutter in that wall cabinet full of spices.
Pull out pantries don't have to be huge — they can be the size of a 6" filler!
No. 5: Re-Thinking Mise en Place Containers. Commercial restaurant pans that have been set into the countertop hold utensils, salt and pepper rather than chopped veggies and herbs.
Or have a custom pan made to hold items like fresh herbs, wine, oil and vinegar in a kitchen island countertop. It's a great way to get things off of the counters, and even though they're in the counters, it creates a sense of calm through its intention. Organization is very psychological — it's about making things look as if they have a place or are meant to be there.
No. 6: Waste Bins and Recycling. This is a terrific system. Waste bins, recycling and even compost goes here, with handles for easy removal. And a spot for paper towels, trash bags and cleaning products! Sigh...
No. 7: Cleaning Supplies. Standard roll outs can be used for specific functions like cleaning products and waste bins. Tip: If you have a few roll outs in your kitchen that could stand a spring cleaning, relocate or purge some of those unused kitchen gadgets and re-purpose a cabinet for a solution like this!
A place for everything equals happiness. Not every kitchen can make storage under the sink work due to plumbing pipes, but if you can figure it out, it's heaven.
No. 8: Open Shelving. This kitchen had a spot for a pantry, so we used the space around the refrigerator for open shelving. Don't fall victim to thinking every inch of a kitchen has to have a cabinet! These open shelves hold the microwave, some lager pots and pans, the iPod player and more (such as a sneaky spot for the radiator).
No. 9: Rethinking Pantry Space. Pantries don't have to be all about food. If you have lots of tall storage, use one for your dishes and glassware. It's at eye level, so it's more convenient than pulling them down from a high shelf.
No. 10: Rethinking Furniture Pieces. This custom-designed cabinet is right off the kitchen in the breakfast room and was designed specifically for serving dishes, placemats and barware. The stainless top doubles as a bar or buffet for serving at parties. Tip: You don't have to custom design a piece — tons of stores have consoles and cabinets that can be used for this purpose.
No. 11: Wine and Bar Storage. Here's a very clever way to carve out space for wine bottles. Look around your kitchen and ask yourself, "is there dead space anywhere?" Then hire a carpenter!
This desk area includes a home for an extra island stool and doubles as a bar, including wall storage for glassware, tall liquor bottles and wine cubbies. The upper section of the pantry is a great spot for tray dividers that store cookie sheets and serving dishes.
No. 12: For the Dogs. Finding a place for dog bowls and dog food storage is a constant challenge... as anyone who has kicked the water bowl and soaked their socks will tell you. Finding a permanent home for them is genius! And it looks adorable. Tip: An extra pull-out waste bin works great for dog food storage; the ones with lids are the best. More ideas for organizing the kitchen: 24 Hot Ideas for Stashing Spices The Well-Concealed Kitchen Designs for Living: The Perfect Pantry
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