Organizing The Kitchen
Mary Astadourian (Professional Organizer) gives expert video advice on: Why do kitchens get so disorganized?; What kind of clutter collects in kitchens?; Is it a bad idea to store things in the kitchen that are not food-related? and more...
Why do kitchens get so disorganized?
I think the biggest reason kitchens get disorganized is because they're never really organized. It's very rare when someone actually sits down when they're putting a kitchen together and really thinks about how am I going to use this space? What makes the most sense for what we're going to put in it? I think we just generally move into a house and we just put things away and there are certain cabinets that make more sense for certain things than other things, but there are things we can do with those cabinets that I think help kitchens get organized. I also think kitchens get disorganized because many people use them. It's probably the one room in your house that's used by everybody who lives in that house. So people use things. They don't always put things back where you would hope that they would or at all. Things get lost almost in the shuffle and it just becomes really hard to keep and order to them so I think that's why it's hard to keep an organized kitchen.
What kind of clutter collects in kitchens?
I think kitchens are also big dumping grounds. There's always the proverbial junk drawer, hopefully just one, in the kitchen. All the menus, all the soy sauce packets from all the Japanese food you had, all the plastic utensils and napkins and things that we all feel really bad getting rid of, but where are we going to put them. They're just places where all sorts of stuff gets just thrown in and generally people don't know where to put this stuff, so again, you end up having a kitchen with three of four junk drawers because nobody knows what to do with it. And then the things that really need to go in a drawer don't really have a space. They're also where people tend to keep all their vitamins, all their supplements, all their protein bars. If you have infants there's all the stuff that goes with bottles and sanitizers and all kinds of things. So kitchens are really a place where a lot goes on. A lot goes on in a kitchen. It's not just eating. It's everything. It's also a place where people congregate. It's just an all purpose room in a way. So again, it's very, very hard to keep organized.
Is it a bad idea to store things in the kitchen that are not food-related?
No. I think it is always a good idea to store things in a kitchen that you need to use. You know, vitamins are not necessarily food-related, but it's really perfect to store them in a kitchen because, generally you're taking them with food. You want to remember to take them, so if you keep them out on a kitchen counter, if you have them some place where you're going to remember them, that's where you want to keep them. So you definitely want to keep things in a kitchen that are things you're going to want to have access to, or you're going to want to remember to use or utilize.
What tools can help me organize my kitchen?
There are lots of tools that can help you organize your kitchen. For drawers, I like containers that you can, you know, little trays that you can put in the drawer. A lot of times those trays you buy for your desk are really handy in the kitchen to keep little things in and to keep your utensils in. I think a great kitchen tool are the rubberized mats or shelf liners. They're great because they prevent things from moving around, especially if you live in cities where, you know, you're prone to earthquakes. But they're also great to line the inside of drawers and put your knives on, and things that you don't want to move around a lot. I think the things you buy for your cabinets to put, that you know there are shelves that you can maximize the cabinet space by stacking things on top of them and under them. Those are terrific tools. I think racks that you can stand dishes up in are really great tools for pot lids, for serving platters. You can use them for something other than just regular dishes. I like the idea of actually using containers and things that you wouldn't normally find in a kitchen to use to store kitchen things. I've used CD bins before. You know, deep containers that you would normally stack CDs in - I like to use those in a kitchen to put plastic bags in, and bag handles, and garlic, and all kinds of little things that you want to containerize and you don't want them floating all around, and they're really great. You can pretty much put like eight or ten of those in a drawer and just create like little cubby holes, almost, in a drawer. So there are all kinds of things you can use to really help organize your kitchen, tools like that and they're great. And you can find them, you can look for them and find them, you know, in all different places.
How can organizing my kitchen help my family be more organized?
The kitchen is a great space if you have the chance to have little baskets in there. You can put your kids work, and the things that your kids bring home from school that you need to look at or the things that they need to be looking at. It's just a great place to have a space where you can exchange information. So, you just have to have that area that you created to think about it and create that space. But, it really can function on so many different ways.