When it comes to organizing your kitchen and dining space, simplicity should reign supreme. It's easy to get caught up in all the solutions that exist, but remember that the best solution is one that works as well as makes sense for your system of eating habits.
The following are five basic principles that I return to time and again to make sure my space remains organized. Remember, organized space means that your time, money, and other valuable resources are spent more efficiently.
You shouldn't be serving your system-- your system should serve you. The first thing to do when setting up a system is to remember what works for someone else may not work for you. It's okay to take inspiration from different sources. Just remember that a thoughtful system will require you to consider your day to day needs. What does your system of organization need to do for you? What are your priorities when in the kitchen? Do certain aspects of your organization need to be kid friendly or more accessible than others?
Safety first. We'll dive deeper into this topic in a future post. For now, just know that it's important to consider the safest options for storage, think of how to safely store food at proper temperatures in the fridge and freezer, and to make sure your system doesn't have any hazards. For example, is your meat stored on the bottom shelf and safely packaged and sealed so it won't leak onto anything? Are your cans and other heavier items stored on the bottom shelves as to avoid being tipped over or dropped causing harm to those below?
Less is more. When organizing, it can be easy to go overboard. Keep in mind that because your system is serving you, and you evolve, your system will also evolve. The more you can simplify your system, the less complex it will be. For example, instead of buying a lot of small boxes in many colors, consider buying uniformly sized boxes in neutral shades. This will give your system a more consistent look while also ensuring that it is easily adaptable to changes.
Clarity and transparency. Clear bins accent almost any style. They also are usually the cheapest option. I usually see mine on sale or raid the Dollar Store for some frugal finds. The other upside to clear bins is that you can see right through them. This means saving money by not purchasing duplicates of items you already have. You'll also save time and energy because you can see things at a glance and won't have to send a search party after your missing ingredient. It also helps with food safety in that you can easily see if spoilage is occurring.
Organization is a process, not an event. My husband likes to joke that I'll never be done organizing. In a sense, he is right! As previously mentioned, as we evolve and our needs change, so will our systems. If something isn't working, carefully consider how to adapt it to better serve your needs. Just like our bodies use symptoms to signal, clutter is a symptom of a system heading into chaos. It's simply an opportunity to evaluate where we can evolve and change.
Organization sounds daunting until you break it down into bite-sized pieces. This is the first Thursday of "Organize with ANNI", where every Thursday I will publish tip-filled articles on how organized kitchens, pantries, and dining areas can revolutionize your eating process. Stay tuned for research, tips, and ideas for projects coming soon! Don't forget to share on social media by tagging @anniweeks on Instagram and Twitter . You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, where I share more research-related and provider catered material for professional audiences. Use #organizewithANNI to connect with others in our community!
Next week, we'll be talking about how to evaluate your organizational needs. Subscribe to my email list to make sure you don't miss it! There will be free resources and printable handouts so you can make your ideal system a reality.