The really useful guide to organsing your kitchen so it works for you!

Decluttering & organising the heart of the home can make a huge difference to the feel & flow of the space, how healthily you eat, curb food waste and even save you money.

How is your kitchen doing right now?

We probably use our kitchen more often than any other room in the home. If you’ve got a clutter problem then there are some places in the house where you can just close the door and pretend it’s not there. Alas, it’s not possible to do that with the kitchen! So, it is totally worth making sure that it is working at its best for you.

Where to Start?

Whilst there is no right or wrong place to attack first I like to go for the surfaces. Even if you only have a short amount of time you can make a visible difference that will spur you on to complete the rest.

DECLUTTER first.

Think about what you want on your surfaces and the amount of space you have. It is a balancing act that might take a few trials.

The following hints can help you decide on what’s best for you:-

· Clear space – how much of it do you have at the moment and how much, realistically, would you like? It’s really easy to allow all manner of things to creep onto the counters. Designate a clear zone and tell everyone in the household too. This should be used for the primary purposes of the kitchen – prep and cooking of food –NOT storage!

· Aim to keep paper and junk piles away from the worktops as this can affect the “karma” of the space. Ensure you have a “home” earmarked for them elsewhere.

· Leaving food out on the worktops usually means you are more likely to graze EVEN if you’re not hungry. The Journal of Health Education and Behaviour (Oct 2015) have reported on a number of studies looking at this. They discovered that those who left out soft drinks and cereals weighed between 20 – 26 lbs more than those who didn’t. Interestingly, where there was a fruit bowl on the counter there was a link to a lower BMI in that household. Food for thought!

· Appliances – Now let’s start with a little assessment of what you’ve got. This might be scary for some! Questions to be asking – “Do they even work?”, “When did you last use it?”, “Is it adding value or joy to your endeavours?” Don’t keep things just because you feel you SHOULD be using them or because they were bought as a present. The next query to explore is whether they can be stored elsewhere. For example -a breadmaker you use on the weekends only could be put away to create extra counter space.

Onto the Cupboards

Once the surfaces are under control it’s time to move inside the cabinets. It is highly likely that they need thinning out.

· 1st step. FOOD. Get everything out and check dates. Be aware of the difference between “Best Before” and “Use by” dates. You can still eat something past its best before date (Although it might not be at its best quality) whereas once a food item has past its Use by date it is potentially unsafe. To find out more head over to the Food Standards agency for more clarification. There is also a case for using our eyes and nose to make our own assessment see another interesting article here.

· Next be realistic about the foods that you are NOT going to be using. Pass them on to someone who CAN make use of them.

· Next stage. CROCKERY, CUTLERY & UTENSILS – lots of potential questions you can ask yourself here to help you decide what can go.

Is it cracked, broken or chipped?

Do I/others use it?

Are there lots of similar items? How many do I reasonably need?

Do I actually like using it?

Try and ensure you have multi-purpose items i.e. a few great knives. If you love gizmos then this may be a tricky bit for you but I do urge you to be ruthless.

From time to time, a gadget may be the answer to your issues but more often than not they end up as clutter. Some clever inventions can go a long way towards saving you money by reducing what you throw away. OLIO has put together a fascinating piece HERE that explores a range of accessories all aimed at avoiding waste. There’s all sorts from food “huggers” to a hand held food sniffer that links to your smartphone!

Once the declutter is complete (And you’ve given it a quick wipe clean) you can get to work on the fun stuff – organising it all back in. There are a vast array of ideas out there. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to have well-functioning cupboards. If you look at my Pinterest board that will set you off in the right direction.

Some key issues to consider:-

· Visibility and convenience raise the likelihood of you reaching for it. Use this to advantage by putting foodstuffs that you want to eat more of at eye level.

· Vertical stacking makes good use of space, especially for things like bakeware.

· If you’re short on space don’t forget you can use the inside of cupboard doors to rack or hang things.

· Shelf inserts, tension rods and magazine holders are all fab at separating stuff so that you can easily see and quickly get to what you need.

Not forgetting the fridge/freezer!

Nobody likes that moment when you stumble across that yucky avocado right at the bottom of the fridge.