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CUT THE CLUTTER: A KITCHEN DESIGNED FOR FUNCTION

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  by Kimberly Blackford

clean and organized kitchen

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Kitchens are the hub of the home and typically make themselves the dumping ground for all sorts of household knick-knacks. As soon as most people walk in the door, they head to the kitchen and drop everything. Keys, mail, briefcases, backpacks and everything else seem to clutter the counters in no time making the kitchen a place not even close to functional. Yet, the kitchen needs to be the most functional area of the home for meals and cooking. Before you let another day go by with a cluttered kitchen, here’s some ways to keep your kitchen free of distractions and make it functional once again.

First, designate one spot as a dumping ground. Whether it’s a kitchen desk space or the nearby mud room, assign a place in a convenient location to the entrance that you can quickly deposit all those items that come and go with you each day. As soon as you walk in the door, head there and drop things like the keys, mail and briefcase that usually ended up in the kitchen on the counter. It is also a great idea to add organizers here that hold mail, hang keys or even a storage locker set-up for keeping the kid’s coats, backpacks and other items. This will eliminate the temptation to hang coats on the dining room chairs and drop everything all over the kitchen counters as soon as enter your home. Suddenly, this space will already seem more organized without really doing a large organization project at all.

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Another great idea is to set one drawer aside specifically for junk. Everybody has it and no one knows what to do with it. Why not set a place aside that allows junk to accumulate? Everybody has those items that they don’t know what to do with; this will be the place for those things like rubber bands, twist-ties, pens and notepads, etc…

Another way to keep the kitchen counters free of clutter is to store all small appliances in a specific spot. Everything from toasters and mixers to coffee makers and blenders, unless these items are getting used every single day or multiple times a day, store them. They take up important space that makes a kitchen feel cluttered.

high functioning kitchen with good lighting

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If you want to de-clutter drawers throughout your kitchen too, try this simple and often eye-opening method. Fill a box with all of your cooking gadgets. Then, as you use an item place it back in your kitchen drawer. After a month take a look at what made it back into the drawers. Chances are you will be shocked at how little items you really use on a consistent basis. Then, all of those items you didn’t use can either be discarded or stored in a place in the kitchen where you can access them as you need them. If you plan to keep those infrequently used items, be honest with yourself, do you really need a melon baller or cookie press? If something is used only a few times a year, there’s usually an alternative.

Another way to de-clutter the kitchen is to look at the items that are in poor condition and donate or discard. If you still have your old pot and frying pan from your college apartment even though you received nice new versions at your wedding, why do you still have those old items? They are just taking up space really.

The same goes for cleaning items stored under the sink. Do you have half used bottles of dish soap and multiple dirty towels that even after laundering never look clean? It seems like these are the perfect items to “weed out” of your kitchen space. Do yourself a favor and toss old sponges, dingy towels and half used supplies. All the space they take up keeps you from being as efficient.

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Other great tips for keeping your kitchen clutter-free and highly efficient:

 

  • Organize the space according to traffic flow. Think “drop-zone” near the door where most items can immediately be discarded.

  • Use drawer trays to section off specific kitchen tools and gadgets.

  • If you have a junk drawer for “catch-all” items, go through it once a month and throw away anything not useful. So, old coupons that were clipped and have expired and flyers and other items that got hung on your front door over the last month should be removed if you don’t need them. This space may hold some random items, but it only is good if you can make your way through the drawer and find them.

  • Only buy storage items like racks and bins after you have de-cluttered and you see it will enhance your kitchen space. If you head to the nearest organizing store before removing unwanted items, chances are you will buy things you don’t need and that will only contribute to more clutter.

Before you let any more time pass by, take a look around your kitchen and see if it’s as functional as it could be. Are the countertops clear? Are there random items scattered about? If so, take a brief moment and use these tips to create an uncluttered kitchen full of possibility and great function for the future.

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