Organizing Your Kitchen

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A well stocked pantry makes cooking easier, but you need to find what you are seeking. A well organized pantry may save you money.

My wife and teenage son have been in my kitchen. Yes, my kitchen. Alright, we do share the space, but since I am the one preparing the meals, I feel that I deserve first priority in pantry and cupboard space. Life does not work that way though. I had tried to impose some kitchen organization on my family, but I had not taken dramatic action. With my wife buying more of her snacks, which she feels takes precedent over my spices, and with my son buying his powdered drinks, which take precedent over my my bowls, I felt a concerted effort at reorganizing my kitchen was needed.

    I cleared out everything from my cupboards and shelves in the kitchen. The pantry will be next. What I found was several items that I have not used in years, and two containers of one particular spice. In fact double items are common in my pantry. When I cannot find something, I buy a new one, thinking that I do not have it anymore. My wife who rarely prepares a dish, will buy the ingredients for a traditional meal, and forgets that we already have those ingredients on hand. With all spread before me on the counters, I placed like items together. Combined what could be combined; threw out what was no longer needed or would never be used. Since the cabinets were clear of goods, I proceeded to clean.

What you should consider when organizing your kitchen.

    -everyone who uses the kitchen storage space wants to retrieve their own items quickly. Plan out space for each user.
    -you will need for cooking close to your prep space. My pantry is in the utility room next to the kitchen. I would have to walk five steps to go to the pantry door, but when you are cooking, you will not make that trip. I keep larger container items in a lower cabinet that I can open quickly from my prep area, while smaller items go into an overhead cabinet. I have racks for vegetables or other ingredients by my refrigerator, which is behind my prep area. I keep my bulk rice and flour on these racks. The idea is common items are kept close, while the pantry is for canned or other goods that are not often needed.
    -Plan your shopping carefully. Buying in bulk is so popular, but if you do not have the storage space, does it make sense? By having assigned places for certain goods, you can scan quickly to know if you have to buy more. I noticed in a friend’s pantry that she buys the same products each week, whether the good is needed or not. I feel that this is a frequent mistake people make. Then they end up throwing extra goods out when they go bad.
    -If you are not using it, why is it in your pantry? Since people know that I love to cook, I find myself the recipient of bottles and cans of various items that others decided that they will not use, so Frank will. Problem: I make my own sauces and dressings from scratch, so I do not use these gifts. I have to remember to use them up. If you have no use for a good, then it should not be in your pantry. Throw it out.

    -I strongly feel that you need to clear everything out from the cupboards. I mention this, because the fore mentioned friend undertook organizing her cabinets by moving things around inside the pantry, which accomplished nothing.

Well, that is my take. Boiled down to consider every user; make it easy for them to obtain what they need; and do not keep what is not needed.

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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