How’s your kitchen looking right now? Is everything within easy reach, or have you been acquiring a whole lot of junk you need to elbow through? Well, if the latter sounds familiar to you, here’s how to organize your kitchen in under 30 minutes. You’ll need plenty of energy and focus, so set yourself a timer and… go!
- Minutes 0 to 3: Start under the sink
Begin with an area that’s easy to contain, such as underneath the kitchen sink. Pull everything out onto the floor and bin anything that’s empty, leaking or just not worth saving. Return the survivors back to the cupboard, leaving the things you use the most towards the front so that they’re easy to grab. Don’t worry about making it too neat: just group similar products together and line them up so you can see what you have.
- Minutes 3 to 5: Cull the junk drawer(s)
We all have a junk drawer or two – spaces that are filled with redundant takeaway menus, seemingly empty batteries and so on. But it’s time to be ruthless. Empty the drawers and throw away anything you simply don’t need. Then take a look at what remains and return anything that doesn’t truly belong in the kitchen to their proper places – (or leave them just outside the door to do this later). Return whatever has survived the cull, and try not to add to it in the future.
- Minutes 5 to 7: Scour the kitchen
Now you’ve tackled two specific problem areas, it’s time to take a look at your kitchen generally. What’s lurking in there that shouldn’t be? For example, you might find unopened mail, clothing strewn over the backs of chairs or chargers that aren’t being used. Again, quickly make a pile of these things outside the kitchen door and know that you’ll return these things to their proper place later on.
- Minutes 7 to 13: Scan your dry food cupboards
Now it’s time to move onto the dry food cupboards and pantry (if you happen to have one). Focus your attention one shelf at a time, and again, be ruthless – you’re against the clock here! Immediately remove any dented-looking tins and ingredients you know you’re never going to use. Throw out anything that has expired, but consider donating unwanted ingredients that are within date and safe to eat to your local food bank. Make a pile of these things in a corner of the kitchen so you don’t bin them by accident.
- Minutes 13 to 19: Check through the fridge and freezer
Now move onto your fridge freezer and work your way through it one shelf at a time from top to bottom. Your top shelves are likely to take the longest if you’re anything like the rest of us (they’ll be full of jars and condiments), so check expiry dates on everything. As you’re returning items to the fridge, group similar ingredients together – jams with jams, sauces with sauces, and so on. Be ruthless in your salad drawer too, throwing out anything you know you’re not going to use… no matter how good your intentions. If you have a cool drawer like this, you’ll need to repeat this step to ensure you’ve not left anything lingering. Continue the cull into your freezer, binning anything you either can’t identify or think has been in the freezer for too long.
- Minutes 19 to 24: Tackle the Tupperware
If you can keep up the momentum, now’s the time to tackle the Tupperware mountain that’s growing in your kitchen… Begin by throwing out anything that’s badly discolored (likely if you’ve been putting your Tupperware in the dishwasher or microwave), as well as its corresponding lid. Then, look at what remains to check that every single tub has a lid that fits it perfectly. Bin anything that doesn’t match, before stacking the survivors within one another according to their size.
- Minutes 24 to 30: Decide on dishes
Finally, use that remaining reserve of energy to sort through your dishes and cookware. You don’t have to make any major decisions here – just bin anything that’s cracked or broken. If you spot anything you don’t use often (if at all), donate it to your local charity shop. If you come across things you only use once a year – such as Christmas – make a pile to be stored elsewhere in your home such as in your attic: you can get them down on the rare occasion you need them rather than rummaging among them all year long.
After all that organizing at breakneck speed, you’re probably ready for a rest! Make yourself a cup of tea (in your newly-organized kitchen) and put your feet up.