The on-sale Pop-Tarts you stocked up on, the piles of cookbooks, the cans of black beans you keep on hand so you can whip up your favorite chili at a moment’s notice—at any given moment, there’s a lot going on in your kitchen. It’s shockingly easy for it to feel cluttered and overwhelming, especially when everything’s stacked on top of one another haphazardly.
Despite what you may have been led to believe, you don’t need to shell out on not-quite-environmentally friendly plastic bins and dividers to get this mess under control. Here, professional organizer Jen Robin of Life in Jeneral shares her strategies for bringing order to your kitchen, no matter how many boxes of granola bars you have tucked away. Get ready to feel zen—even when you’re meal prepping.
It doesn’t matter how deep or wide they are—it’s all about maximizing the vertical space. I recommend adding risers—essentially extra shelves—and, for big cabinets, a bin where you can hold cans or jars and easily pull them out when you need them.
We absolutely love glass jars for bulk storage. They’re airtight, so they’re going to help your food last longer. Everyone always asks me about where to put expiration dates and directions; we cut those off or I print them new with a label maker, then we put them on the back or the bottom of the containers.
Dividers are a must. It really boils down to containment; when you contain things, you create a process and a system so you can maintain that organization. I’ve been using bamboo drawer dividers for keeping snacks neatly filed, in addition to presectioned organizers for utensils.
I love putting spices in a drawer if you are lucky enough to have extra space in one next to your oven. Go a step above and color-code them, though some people alphabetize. Every day you open it up you’ll be excited to cook.
I recommend creating zones. Small appliances go lower, while things that you’re using often go in what I call that the prime real-estate zone: front and center. Ask yourself questions to determine what other kinds of zones you need: Do you have kids? Allergies? You can also create a breakfast zone, a lunch zone, snacks, drinks—all of that.
As far as containers go, I try not to bring too many different types of materials and colors into the space—two or three maximum. I like things that are both aesthetically beautiful and functional—but functional always has to win.
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