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Life and living: Cut kitchen clutter by ‘zoning’ out

In the past few issues, we’ve taken a room-by-room sweep to declutter various parts of your home. Now, in part three, it’s time to tackle one of the most high-traffic areas: the kitchen.

Like an office, “work” happens in the kitchen in terms of meal preparation and eating, along with many other activities. That’s why zones are an important part of the strategy when it comes to kitchen organization.

Consider using the following steps from almostpractical.com to set up specific zones and straighten up your kitchen: 

ZONE 1

Corral coffee and other hot drink preparation items together.

Example: Keep mugs near the coffee maker, along with loose tea or tea bags for easy access.

ZONE 2

Deposit dishes and silverware near “places of use.”

Example: Store dishes and silverware near the dishwasher, drinking glasses near the sink or water dispenser, and cooking utensils near the stove.

ZONE 3

Put heavy-use items in a handy place.

The items you use most often should be close at hand. For example: If you eat a lot of pasta, keep the large pots and pans you use for sauce and cooking pasta within easy reach of your stovetop and pantry.

ZONE 4

Everyday items should live in easy-to-access areas.

Instead of searching through a full drawer of cutlery to find spoons and knives that you use every day, keep them in a drawer close to where food prep is done so you won’t have to hunt for them.

ZONE 5

Use drawer organizers to maximize convenience and declutter your highest-use items.

If you have items in drawers that are all jumbled together, you need drawer organizers. You’ll spend less time looking for what you need.

Close out your day with a clutter-kicking kitchen sweep. It’s so easy to allow the kitchen to become a place where stacks of mail reside, bags are discarded and papers are tossed—all of which will prevent you from achieving the benefits of a decluttered kitchen. Once you’ve made the effort to do a deep clean and organize your zones, set a few minutes aside each day to maintain them. Put away any accumulated clutter, wipe down the countertops, and organize your pantry and fridge, if necessary. Spending just 10 minutes on these tasks each day will eliminate the need to spend significant amounts of time searching for things or starting over from scratch. 

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