That nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard tells the tale of clutter. In my opinion, she couldn’t find her dog a bone because things had gone topsy-turvy in her kitchen.
That can easily happen to the best of us. We arrive at our new house in a hurry, and someone else unpacks the kitchen. Or, we live there for years, and more things come in than go out. Fortunately, if you’ve got a kitchen that doesn’t hold your stuff, there are simple solutions.
When your kitchen cabinets and pantry are crammed to the brim, it’s time to make some changes. From decluttering to doing some mini-remodeling, as a professional organizer, I promise there are ways to organize to find room. Try some of these six cures for cabinet chaos.
Dishes, pots, food and spices don’t seem like clutter, but they can be. Anything that keeps you from doing what you want to do is clutter in your way.
Before deciding you need more room, make sure to go through your kitchen contents thoroughly. Removing clutter will help you get a realistic idea of what you need more room to store as well as reclaim some storage. Think of your cabinets as valuable real estate. Make sure they hold the things you really love and use.
- Remove things that don’t have to do with food preparation to another place in your house.
- Discard expired food and spices.
- Donate or sell small appliances you never or rarely use.
- Watch for duplicates. Perhaps you don’t need four colanders or 24 drinking glasses for a family of three.
2. Think Tall
Do your cabinets go to the ceiling? Or do they go to a soffit, a lower area between the ceiling and cabinet top?
Unless your cabinets go all the way to the ceiling, then you’ve found some room to work with. Install taller upper cabinets to replace standard ones so that the soffits are removed. By replacing shorter cabinets with taller ones, you’ve magically gained storage without enlarging the footprint of the kitchen at all.
3. Use All the Space
Look to see how well you can use all your cabinet real estate. Oftentimes, the back and corners of lower or under-sink cabinets are left empty because they are so hard to access.
Make use of every inch of cabinet space by replacing older lower cabinets with modern features. Pullout shelves, deep drawers and corner turntables are just a few ways to make sure lower cabinets are easy to get to and well utilized.
4. Organize Contents
You’ll maximize space if you focus on putting like items together. As a bonus, it helps you see everything you have and is an aid for finding things. Placing all your mixing bowls together means you’ll be able to stack one inside the other. The same applies to a tower of plates or a heap of pots and pans.
5. Get Clever Organizers
Open all your cabinet doors at one time and stand back. Take a good look and hunt for empty space. Often, you’ll find a stack of saucers or row of canned goods only takes up half of the height of a shelf while the top half sits empty.
Use kitchen organizers to use every inch of your cabinet. Add shelf stackers so you use all the vertical space between shelves. Baskets are great for keeping items together that don’t stack well, like the lids for children’s cups. Check out the inside of your cabinet doors. There are a number of organizers you can hang there to hold items like boxes of foil or pot lids. Stick-on hooks also make it easy to hang pot holders or cooking utensils on vacant areas inside of doors.
6. Add a Pantry
Pantry cabinets have a tremendous amount of storage, especially if you have one with adjustable shelves. It doesn’t need to be just for food—it’s also perfect for your small appliances or serving trays.
Check out your kitchen’s floor plan. Perhaps you can add a pantry cabinet in the corner or along the wall in the kitchen or breakfast nook? Or, you can install a thin roll-out pantry cabinet that offers plenty of storage but takes up little to no extra space. If you entertain often, try creating a buffet at one end of the room. Add some lower cabinets and a countertop. This gives you added storage as well as a place to set out buffets or create a beverage center when entertaining.
Lea Schneider is a professional organizer that writes for The Home Depot about organizing your home and life. She provides great advice and tips on how to use ready-to-assemble cabinets to add a pantry and to use organizers to use more of your cabinet space.