There’s nothing more satisfying than whipping up a new recipe in a clean, neat kitchen. But sadly, ours never stays that way for more than a day or two before it’s back to cluttered countertops and a sink full of dishes. So you could say we’re in need of some advice on how to properly organize the kitchen—and keep it that way. Which is why we turned to Ría Safford, celebrity organizer and founder of RíOrganize. Here, nine kitchen organization hacks she recommends that’ll have your space looking tidier in no time.
9 Kitchen Organization Hacks You Can Implement ASAP, According to a Professional Organizer
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1. store Your Knives (and Other Nonessentials) In A Drawer
“Figure out what doesn’t have to live on the counter,” says Safford. This will help free up counter space and create a more minimal look. For example, instead of keeping your knives in a bulky knife block, store them in a drawer using a tray like the one pictured above. The same goes for toasters, blenders and coffee makers—stick ‘em in a lower cabinet if it feels like they’re taking up too much prime real estate on your counters.
2. maximize Vertical Space In Your Cabinets With Helper Shelves
Feel like your mugs, glasses and bowls always look cramped in your cabinets? Or are they haphazardly stacked, just moments away from total disaster? Try adding some helper shelves (you can see them used here, if you zoom in on the mugs and stemless wine glasses). They allow you to use the empty vertical space between shelves so that your items have more breathing room, says Safford.
3. turn Your Junk Drawer Into An Essentials Drawer
Over the years, we’ve learned that even the neatest people have a junk drawer. It’s just a fact of life. But rather than being embarrassed about it, Safford recommends transforming it into an essentials drawer with bins to separate your miscellaneous items. (Plus, it sounds much fancier that way.) Finally, you’ll be able to locate a single rubber band when you actually really need it.
4. use Wine Organizers To Store Water Bottles
Do you have approximately 25 plastic water bottles cluttering a corner cabinet? Join the club. Instead of creating a precarious pile out of them, Safford recommends storing them in a cabinet using stackable wine holders. It’s a better use of space, and looks a lot prettier, too.
5. set Up A Spice Drawer
Rather than relegating your spices to a cabinet or shelf, where half of them are buried so far back that you forget they’re even there, arrange them face up in a drawer. You’ll be able to see everything you have, so you don’t end up with four bottles of Cumin again.
6. get Creative With Drawer Dividers
OK, so drawer dividers aren’t exactly a groundbreaking hack, but the way Safford uses them is pretty unique. She recommends grouping items by how often you use them, and placing them strategically. In this case, that means putting the most-used kitchen utensils closest to the stove. The drawers above actually came with built-in organizers, but you can put in your own drawer dividers to recreate this setup. Genius.
7. store Snacks In Stackable, Open Face Bins
Safford recommends storing your kid’s snacks in stackable, open face bins and putting them on a low shelf, so they can actually reach. That way, they’ll be able to see all of their options and grab something whenever they’re hungry. Hurrah, you’ll never have to rattle off the list of available snacks again.
8. add Clear Bins To Your Fridge And Freezer
We’ve discovered spoiled food in the back of our fridge more times than we’d like to admit (okay, it happens weekly). But Safford’s method of grouping everything into clear bins should make that a thing of the past. If you’re able to see everything you have, you’re more likely to use ingredients you already have—or throw them out if they’re not looking so hot.
9. ditch Boxes In Favor Of Clear Containers
Instead of playing Tetris with your pasta, cereal and snack boxes, transfer everything in your pantry into clear containers. It’ll save room and make it way easier to see when you’re running low on Cheerios. Group the bins by food type, and add labels to make things even more organized.