5 Kitchen Organizing Tips You Can’t Do Without

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

The first tip I learned when I got into cooking more seriously was “clean as you go.” This has been a time saver as I used to wait until the end of my cooking storm to wipe everything up and put everything back, the last thing I usually wanted to do.

The Kitchn’s Christine Gallary suggests five other easy kitchen organizing tips that I have been doing myself over the years. They don’t cost much, hardly anything, really, and require you to think about the kitchen a little differently, like a culinary school student.

Below are the five tips that you can start doing today:

1. Use deli containers. For everything!

They stack. They hold. They can handle the heat. They can handle the cold. They are great for storing leftovers and dry goods like beans and rice which often fall out of their packaging and get into the nooks and crannies of your pantry. Liquids such as stock or sauce are good for these containers as well. Ditch the brown bag and take your lunch to work in one of these. These containers even have use outside the kitchen. Got some extra change lying around? Use a clear container so you can see what you have and keep the coins in one place.  Can’t ever find a hair tie? Keep them in a small container and you’ll always know where they are.

2. Labels!

Once you’ve gotten into the habit of keeping your deli containers you’ll want to extend your practice to include labeling. Labeling and dating food containers help you keep track of not only what’s inside, but also when the contents expire. On larger containers, you can even write cooking instructions.  Sharpies, painter’s, or masking tape are good to have on hand, but if you want to get fancy-schmancy you can invest in a label-maker.

3. Keep food in a dark and cool place.

This goes without saying but bears repeating. Keep your oils and spices in a cool dark cupboard or enclosed pantry.  We forget that these items spoil, so extend their life by treating them right. A rule of thumb is that anything that doesn’t go in the fridge should go in the cupboard or pantry. Avoid the temptation of keeping items on top of the fridge.

4. Put out only what you will use.

Real estate space is often lacking in a kitchen, so to help you put out only what you will use. Near your stove, you may want to have a small bowl of salt, a pepper grinder, and oil at the ready but keep other items in the cupboard or fridge. Once you are done with the items put them back.  Sounds basic, right? If you watch yourself next time you cook you will note just how many things you put out that you don’t need.

5. Pre-measure the things you use often.

Remember those deli containers? There is yet another use for them: keeping pre-measured items. For example, if you cook rice a lot, you probably use the same quantities, so just pre-measure and keep the rice in a container so it’s ready to go when you need it.

There are many more tips out there but these five will help you get started on keeping a clean and organized kitchen and pantry.

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