Fashionable and Functional: Kitchen Storage Hacks

Getting organized in the kitchen can save time and stress on a daily basis.

The upside to most kitchens is there tends to be ample amount of cabinet and pantry space, but the downside is if people don’t know how to organize that space, then it can become a jumbled mess. ESTATENVY caught up with Faith Roberson, a life coach, organizing strategist and founder of Organize With Faith®, a professional organizing company based in New York City to learn about some kitchen storage hacks.

General Organization: Rework Your Cabinets

Roberson advises that if someone really wants to overhaul their kitchen storage, the first thing she recommends to do is to is to open all of the cabinets and take a step back. Even if someone can’t empty all of the cabinets at a time, she suggests doing one section to see the common thread.

“From there, you’ll kind of see where everything has gone wrong,” Roberson said.

After you take a look, the next part will be to empty the cabinets.

“The best thing to do is to pull everything out and then organize it outside of the cabinets,” Roberson said. It’s really challenging to keep everything in the cabinets and to try and move everything around because you never really know how much of one thing you have, and you don’t really know where it should be or where its appropriate zone is.”

She notes that kitchen zoning is really important. For example, once everything is pulled out of the cabinet, it’s best to group items on the floor by type of item, and the next part of the process is to a make sure what you need is by that appliance. For example, all the baking items should go together e.g. the mixing bowls should go with the KitchenAid mixer. Everything that you use to store food should go together, including Tupperware, mason jars, Ziploc bags, aluminum foil and Pyrex containers. Then you’ll want to pull everything used for food prep, so that would be cutting boards, knives, cooking utensils, and anything else that you use to prepare food.

“This helps someone better understand exactly what you have,” Roberson said. “When you open up the cabinets, you’ll see a colander, cups, bowls, a butcher knife, Tupperware and a random garlic press all in one cabinet. If you pull it all out and group it together, then what you would want to do ideally for organization is create the least amount of movement as possible in the kitchen when cooking.”

The idea is to organize the kitchen to make food prep and cooking easier. She says if she is in the area with the stove, she would want to be able to open a cabinet and have all the pots, pans, lids and cooking utensils right there. If she is getting ready to put out dinner, she only wants plates, bowls, cups, a pitcher and the serving bowls in the cabinet by the sink. If she’s going to prep on the huge utility table, then the knives should be right there in a cabinet. This set up allows both mobility and the ability to have multiple people in the kitchen while also avoiding a collision.

“I used to be a professional and private cook, so I know that you don’t need a massive kitchen to obtain this type of organization – you just have to take time to think it through,” Roberson said.

Weird Spaces: What To Do With That Super High Storage Area

Kitchens can sometimes have really weird storage areas either super high up or right off the ground. Roberson says to use those out of reach cabinets for things you rarely use. It’s the perfect spot for China and serving platters that you only use during the holidays or for special occasions, vases, anything for parties or entertaining (paper plates or napkins, paper goods, candles), and anything that’s seasonal (crockpots or baking pans). She also comments that those high storage spaces are great for people who buy in bulk to stow away the extra surplus of items.

Minimal Storage: If You Have Limited Space

Roberson isn’t only an organizer, but she also wants to relieve clients’ homes of clutter. She advises on two things to do for those of us with limited storage.

First off, it’s time to purge.

“I downsized and one of the things I noticed is I gravitated toward three knives, but I had 12. This is one of those things where you have to really look at how much you need. If you have seven pots, you may not need that many,” Roberson said. “Look at ways that you can cut down on items you have in excess.”

A personal example of hers is she had measuring cups but realized she didn’t need them because she only used the Pyrex glass one. Another way to decide what to cut is by looking for duplicates.

And, she also encourages people to use items they reserve for special occasions on a regular basis.

“Many people only use China for Christmas and Thanksgiving, but really, you can use it every day. You can use really fancy silverware every day, too,” Roberson said. “Getting people to welcome the idea to use entertainment ware and having four of each item kept with the other plates, it allows them to reduce everyday dishes and silverware. Find a way to use the nice things you have instead of the everyday stuff.”

Also, if you live in a small space or have minimal kitchen storage, but you have any type of closet off of the kitchen, it can be transformed into a pantry. Roberson recommends getting custom shelving or the Elfa system at the Container Store. This allows you to transform a closet into a pantry by adding more shelves. She also suggests getting a utility cart or putting in a butcher block or free-standing island to increase areas for storage underneath.

Faith Recommends: Fashionable and Functional Storage

With seven years of professional organizing under her belt, Roberson obviously has a few sleek favorites from The Container Store to increase a kitchen’s style. Below are some of her favorites.

  • Bamboo Drawer Organizers $19.99/2 pkg: These spring-loaded dividers help keep your kitchen utensils organized.
  • Polder Chrome Spice Rack $29.99: How often do you see a kitchen with either unorganized spice racks or a wide variety of brands of spices all haphazardly thrown in a space? This rack fixes both issues.
  • Stainless Steel Lazy Susan $19.99: Ease of accessibility is the name of the game.
  • Tea Bag Storage Container $14.99: This container helps you save space and organize your tea all in one place. Or did you think it made sense to have eight half-full boxes of different flavors of tea in your pantry?