In an effort to minimize my life’s headaches, I’ve been focusing on paring down my kitchen gadgets, utensils, and serving-ware. I didn’t do a big purge all at once in the kitchen; rather as I come across things that I’ve not used recently, or retire items that are worn out, I decide what to do with it. There’s a few different decisions to make depending on the item and what the circumstances are. For instance, I recently tossed out a rubber spatula that the edge had burned down on, but this item doesn’t need to be replaced, because I already have another similar and better quality spatula. Most items that I come across and haven’t used recently, I add to my donation box.
For everything that’s left, it’s worth it to develop an organized system for storing what is accessed frequently. Here are a few areas that I’ve chosen to focus my attention:
- Medication Storage
I picked up hinged-top boxes at the dollar store, and with a Sharpie marker, labeled the end of each box. The first one is Cold & Flu Medications, another is Tummy & Allergy Medications, and the third, Vitamins & Supplements. Medications are sorted and placed into the containers, and stored on a high shelf (way out of the reach of our son) with the writing facing out of the cabinet for easy viability. Once every few months, while my coffee is brewing, I reach for the boxes and shuffle through the contents briefly to toss anything that’s expired or add anything we’re in need of to my grocery list.
2. Streamline Coffee Products
I’ve learned a long time ago how I prefer my coffee, and so I’ve done away with the fancy paraphernalia that I used to collect for coffee preparation. I used to have all sorts of gadgets and different coffee beans and syrups, but now I just have my Keurig, (for daily coffees that are quick) and my French Press. I keep one kind of K-Cup at a time, and a small stash of whole bean coffee for when I do bust out the French Press. My espresso maker, milk frother, etc. have all departed.
I mentioned above how a damaged spatula recently found its way into my garbage can, and I was just fine with that. I’ll bet your kitchen might have a duplicate or two that isn’t necessary either – and as you find these items, feel free to pick your favorite and donate the dupe! Nobody needs two turkey basters or gravy boats. There’s some exceptions to this rule – I do have two potato peelers in case someone wants to help me peel a large batch of potatoes come holiday meal time – but I’ve since gotten rid of my excess whisks, platters and utensils.
4. Serving Dishes
The best advice I can offer regarding serving dishes and specialty items is to store them apart from your everyday kitchenware. If you’re fortunate enough to have a kitchen hutch or storage buffet, consider keeping your large platters, crystal bowls, and cake stands in there, to be accessed when needed but away from what you need to get dinner on the table on a nightly basis. I don’t have room for specialty storage in my kitchen, but I take advantage of the highest shelves in my cabinets for all of those items. I’m short, so I need to use a step-stool to get to anything on the third shelf or higher in our cabinets. Therefore I try to place all of the infrequently used items up there, and the kitchen things I need on a regular basis are on the bottom two shelves in my upper cabinets.
5. Food Storage Containers
It’s all too easy for food storage containers to get worn out, lose their lids or become a jumbled mess in your cabinets. I’ve tried a few different storage solutions for organizing them, but in the end none of those options worked great. What I’ve resorted to now is storing the container with it’s lid resting on top of it. For multiples of the same size, I nest all of the containers inside one another with all of the matching lids stacked on top of the stack of containers. That way I always have a matching lid for a container. I’m also not afraid to retire food storage containers when they’re past their prime.