Getting That Kitchen Organized


Last month, we did a piece in homage of the generations’ old spring cleaning and organizing tradition. For most of us, the kitchen is one of the most cluttered area of the home. Even if things look suspiciously neat and tidy from on the surface, opening just a cabinet or two will be enough to reveal the monstrous pile of “stuff” that has collected over the years.

Kitchen Design Organization Tips

The following tips will help you to organize your kitchen, whether you want to work with what you have or you’re in the process of designing a kitchen remodel or renovation.

  1. De-Clutter. Today’s kitchen design websites are all about maximizing storage space, and this can certainly be helpful. However, after a thorough kitchen de-cluttering session, you may find you don’t need as much storage as you thought. In the latter case, this provides the opportunity to eliminate space-hogging cabinets to free up kitchen square footage and/or to make room for some open shelving. On the flip side, once you’ve inventoried kitchen items, you’ll provide your kitchen designer with a more comprehensive idea of what your storage needs really are, which will yield to a more customized kitchen design.
  2. Re-Organize. I work with retired homeowners on a regular basis. As age increases, the desire to crawl around on the floor to access lower cabinets, or to spend time on stepping stools decreases. For this reason, I’ve always recommend that older clients re-organize kitchen cabinets, placing frequently-used items in the most accessible spots. Now, I advise all of my clients – regardless of age – to do the same. It’s a smart move that makes kitchens more functional for people of all ages, sizes and abilities.
  3. Go Custom. Wherever you can, opt for custom-designed storage spaces. When you do this, you will have a much more efficient storage system, eliminating wasted dead space created by standard cabinet shelving spaces. Think about customized spice racks, pot/pan drawers, appliance storage, etc., to make every square-inch count. Again, focusing on optimizing your storage spaces may allow you to remove enough cabinetry to add a kitchen peninsula, dine-in area or small home office (more on that in #4). The more you can eliminate, the more spacious the kitchen will feel.
  4. Slide it Out. Wherever you can, switch out fixed cabinet drawers for slide-out options. Once you do, you’ll wish you would have done it long ago. Slide-out shelving features mean no more crawling around on hands-and-knees to access lower cabinets. They are more accessible and you can design custom slide-out features for corner-cabinets and/or those with awkward dimensions or access.
  5. Add a Message Center. The contemporary kitchen is the resting place and charging ground for a range of electronic gadgets. Not only that, but with the trend toward open floor plans, and kitchens that are as much living rooms as they are food prep areas, countertops and islands are a default dumping ground for everyone’s stuff. One great solution for all of the above? Incorporate a small home office in the kitchen area. This provides shelving, room for a charging station (hide those electrical outlets and gadget in a drawer or two!) and a comfortable space where you and/or kids/grandkids can work in an organized space. If you don’t have room for a small home office space, find a corner or end-cabinet that can be transitioned into a message .
  6. Fall in Love Again…With lazy Susans. Rotating lazy Susans work great great for corner cabinets but why stop there? Use smaller, countertop versions in the corner of your cabinets in order to house those same, random items that are forever cluttering things up: honey bottles, sugar for coffee, the salt shaker and pepper grinder, a few of your go-to spices and pantry items, etc. No muss, no fuss and very convenient.

You’ll be amazed at the space you’ll gain – both storage and otherwise – when you reorganize your kitchen space.

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Kristina Wolf Design, Inc., Interior Decorators & Designers, Berkeley, CA