Donna White

The first step to getting organized in your kitchen is to take everything out of the cabinets. Next, sort it all into groups according to where it is used. While you are sorting, ask yourself, “Have I used this item in the past two years?” Also ask, “Do I need duplicates of this item?” If not, then move it out of your way. Give it to someone, or store it in a less accessible area or even in a different room.

There are three basic work areas in a kitchen that make up the kitchen work triangle:

Preparation area. To make working more convenient, locate the prep area between the refrigerator and the sink. Place any basic ingredients, mixing equipment, or bowls and cups here. Cook and serve area. Put pots, pans, and cooking utensils near the range so they will be handy when you are cooking. Sink area. Store silverware and tableware here so you do not have to run all over the place when putting up dishes. Also keep your cleaning utensils and storage containers for leftovers here.

Within each of these areas, you need to store items so they can be used most conveniently. Follow the four basic principles of storage:

1. Store items that are used most often in the most accessible place.

2. Store items at the point of their first use.

3. Store items used together in the same location.

4. Store like items together.

The key to kitchen cabinet storage is to avoid stacking and to make everything accessible. There are numerous organizers available that can make working in the kitchen more enjoyable.

Lazy Susans give you easy access to items in corner spaces. Step shelving in cabinets will help you organize canned goods, different-sized dishes, and small appliances and their accessories.

Wire baskets on slides will make your deep cabinets easily accessible. A wide selection of cabinet and drawer organizers are available on the market. They can be purchased at stores such as Target, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and other locations.

Base cabinet storage organizers are available as well. Some organizers can be mounted on the door if there is room for them to close inside the cabinet. Stackable baskets are an option, as are pull-out bins or shelves.

Drawer organizers come in numerous sizes and configurations and are not that expensive. Boxes or bins can be used in drawers to sort items. Counter tops can be another space for storage, so long as you still have an adequate working surface.

Canning quart jars or covered coffee cans or oatmeal boxes can also be used as organizers. Canister sets can be decorative as well as functional if the cook uses the items that can be stored in them. They can be stored on the counter or in the cabinet. If storing in the cabinet, go for a more square design and maybe even choose stackable canisters. If there is room, wall space under the upper cabinets can be utilized for storage.