Organization: Perfecting the Kitchen Workflow

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With Thanksgiving only a few days away and the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start preparing your kitchen for the influx of meals and guests. If you’re hosting a holiday celebration, organization will be the key to your success. Set aside a day to revamp your kitchen workflow with these tips we’ve compiled for you. They’re guaranteed to make your kitchen more convenient!

1. Clean out the refrigerator
This is the first item on your organization to-do list. With every meal comes leftovers, and you’ll want to maximize your storage space, especially for foods that need to stay chilled during other parts of the meal. Start by throwing out all expired foods. Reassess the condition of existing leftovers. If you won’t eat it within 36 hours, throw it out. Then remove the items that will ultimately stay in the fridge, and wipe down the shelves. When you put everything back inside, organize the contents by type, placing the most frequently used items in front.

HELPFUL HINT: Don’t forget a box of baking soda! It’ll battle odors and create a fresh storage space.

2. Rearrange cabinet space
Pull out all your dishes and assess your inventory. The most used dishes should go on the bottom shelf of the most convenient cabinet, creating a more functional workspace. If the shelves in your cabinet can be moved, rearrange them to accommodate different dish sizes. If they’re stationary, consider nesting bowls and casserole dishes to maximize storage space.

HELPFUL HINT: To fit more stemware glasses in a cabinet, place every other glass upside down!

3. Organize your utensils
Home stores sell inexpensive, compartmentalized utensil organizers in a variety of sizes and materials. Most people use organizers for the main utensils, such as forks, knives and spoons, and disregard the organization of can openers, ladles, spatulas and other non-traditional culinary equipment. If it takes you longer to find the turkey baster than it does to baste the turkey, you need to reconsider your organization. You should be able to see and reach everything in the drawer so you can grab a utensil and go.

HELPFUL HINT: Steel mesh, expandable organizers are easy to clean and are guaranteed to fit every drawer size.

4. Purge your plastics
Storage space is highly coveted in the kitchen, but most homeowners waste space with cabinets and drawers filled with mismatched plastic containers and lids. Get rid of your tired, old plastics and invest in some new ones.

HELPFUL HINT: Plastic containers that nest together and have interlocking lids will maximize storage space and prevent losing part of the set.

5. Designate stations within the kitchen
Creating different work stations for tasks will enhance the flow of your kitchen. A baking zone should consist of a counter and cabinet for cookie sheets, loaf pans, oven mitts, flower, sugar, measuring cups and spoons, and other baking needs. If you have a stylish mixer, leave it on the counter for a touch of decoration. If not, place it with the other mixing bowls. A cleaning station is typically under the sink and contains all of your cleaning supplies. Paper towels should be placed next to the sink alongside soap and sponges. If your kitchen doesn’t have a bar area, a beverage station is a handy way to keep everything together. Glasses should be kept near bottles of wine, and always have a corkscrew and bottle opener nearby. A meal prep station should contain bowls, plates, utensils, a pantry and the bread drawer, and should be relatively close to the refrigerator.

HELPFUL HINT: Reorganizing the workflow of your kitchen can greatly enhance its functionality, and make it easier for guests to find things.

6. Clean out the pantry
Much like the refrigerator, start with getting rid of expired foods. Check your cabinet for extras of any canned goods and donate them to a local food shelter or neighbor. Then group the remaining food by category or time of day it’s consumed.

HELPFUL HINT: If space permits, install a Lazy Susan for spices and sauces. It’ll help keep things organized and visible.

7. Organize your recipes
You want your recipes to be organized and accessible, especially during the holidays. Toss away recipes you haven’t used in a long time or ones that didn’t quite come out the way you hoped it would. Then split the recipes up by the type of dish or time of year it’s consumed. Transfer recipes ripped out of books or magazines to index cards and keep them in a recipe box or binder.

HELPFUL HINT: Creating tabs for your recipe holder will enhance your ability to quickly locate your desired recipe.

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