They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. How is your home's heart looking and feeling? For this reason the kitchen category is most frequently tackled when working with clients. Next to clothes and closet storage, it is the space that impacts your life every single day. If your kitchen is more chaos than calming you'll be less likely to use it in a way that fuels you wisely. Also in many homes the kitchen is a space that is open and visible to our living space, making it a vocal point. If it doesn't look and function like you want it to than you are constantly reminded of it.
The first step as always is to think of what your vision is for your kitchen. Are you a gourmet chef with all types of cookware and gadgets? Are you a baker with mixers and ingredients just waiting to spoil family and friends with holiday treats? Or maybe boiling water is more your thing and in that case your kitchen needs to meet your expectations and not those of Instagram or Pinterest. Whatever your vision you need to see what you have so it all gets pulled out of each drawer and cupboard and sorted by category. Pulling it all out gives you a chance to see your space for what it really is and also give each surface a good clean. While you have everything pulled out you can also see the space without the items in their previous layout. This is when you plan the layout to optimize your space and efficiency.
Now it's time to declutter. Duplicates should be eliminated. Do you really need two large roasting pans? How many frying pans do you need? What is the condition of your cookware and other kitchen items? Kitchen gadgets and appliances need to be evaluated for the frequency of use. If you're not using it or bought it on a whim and never used it, let it go. Food storage containers is another fun category. Match up lids and containers. Mismatched or missing pairs can go. I find investing in a new set if yours is a bit of hodgepodge, goes a long way. Have a box ready for donations when you start, it will fill up quickly.
Another item to have at the ready is a bin to collect the expired food items. Inevitably there will be items in your cupboards that have expired. You may also find items that are still good, but you are not sure why you purchased and will never consume them. Put these in a bag and donate to a food bank. Your spices and baking needs must be checked for freshness, stale items discarded accordingly. It sounds like a lot of work. But when you break it down by category and work through one at a time it goes quickly.
Now the set up details. The layout is important to a well functioning space. Keep like items together. Cookware by the stove. Glasses and dishes together. Mugs and tea cups together. Cutting boards and baking trays are best stored vertically to save space and for easy access. Food and pantry items should all be kept in one area, vs scattered around your space. Group like items together, like baking supplies, breakfast foods, etc.
Decanting spices and other packaged goods can save space and money. When you can see all you have it avoids you buying another. I keep a bin labeled "back stock" of all my decanted items and another for spices. When an item is getting low I check for back stock before adding it to my shopping list. Food waste is far to high. Decluttering and merchandising your kitchen is the first and best step to decreasing/eliminating your households food waste. The goal is clear counter tops for a well functioning and calm space. If an item is not used daily it should not be on your counter top. You may not get to 100% clear counters, but as close to it as possible, should be your end goal.
Small investments in matching storage bins, spice jars, and canisters go a long way in creating a well merchandised kitchen. Set your space plan, measure and make a detailed list before heading out. This is the step that makes your space uniquely yours. If all of this sounds just far too over whelming I suggest having a professional support you through the process. A professional organizer will see your kitchen with fresh eyes and know how ways to maximize your space. An efficient kitchen can add so much to your day to day.
The goal is clear counter tops for a well functioning and calm space. If an item is not used daily it should not be on your counter top. You may not get to 100% clear counters, but as close to it as possible, should be your end goal. When I completed all the steps in my own space I found that times I would get lazy and think "oh I'll just order take out" were reduced. Whipping something up was easier and more enjoyable than debating what to order, also healthier in most cases. All that writing has left me hungry, what's for dinner?