1. Clear out one cupboard each month. By picking a cupboard each month, you can do a quick declutter and organise what’s left, making sure there are only things you use, and that clutter isn’t building up. This also helps you to know what’s actually in your cupboard.
2. Check and clear your pantry regularly. Each week before you go shopping, check your pantry for what you need more of, and check a shelf for expired or unused food you’ll never use. I regularly check the shelves in mine and pass on once-tried snacks etc to friends with children who actually eat things (my boys are notoriously picky eaters). Checking the pantry helps me to only buy what we need and use, keeping pantry clutter at bay.
3. Consider your family’s food and drink staples. What do you consistently buy most shopping trips? Make sure those items have a designated, easily accessible space.
4. Limit your platters and serving dishes. When we got married the two items we were given the most of were clocks and platters. We’re not huge entertainers and lived a considerable amount of our early married and family life in tiny flats. Needless to say, most platters were parted with, and I think the clocks have disappeared too. You can only use so many serving dishes, and if I’m having a shindig that needs 22 platters, it’s probably a shindig where people will be bringing and sharing food. A good cheese board or two, a few salad bowls, and one or two platters is probably all you’ll ever actually need. They can take up so much valuable kitchen cupboard space for the little they are used.
5. Have a bench basket. This is so that when you’re clearing the bench in a hurry to get dinner, you can place anything that doesn’t belong on the bench in the basket (mail, homework, random toy, etc). After dinner when you’re clearing up, empty the basket and return items to their homes – or leave items in the basket, and when the question arises: ‘Where is such and such?’ Ask: Have you checked the bench basket?
6. Before purchasing another kitchen appliance, ask a friend if you can borrow theirs. Try it for a month and if you find you’re not using it as much as you expected or it wasn’t the ‘bees’ knees’ Afterall, then don’t buy your own. Be willing to lend your appliances too.
7. If you’re going to decant food into jars and containers, make sure the size of container fits the whole packet. If you don’t, you end up storing two things.
8. Buy the same brand of plastic containers and buy multiples of the same size. You may not have a budget to replace all your containers at once, but as you buy containers as replacements in the future, try sticking to the one brand. This is because the containers of the same brand will often store inside one another, and the lids will be easy to match. Having lids in a small basket in the cupboard is a good idea too. Keep an eye out for sales brands like Sistema and Décor that often go on sale at half price at the supermarket.
9. When doing a kitchen clear-out, first make sure that everything’s clean. It’s a not great feeling when you’ve spent two hours cleaning and reorganising only to find more dishes and containers in other rooms, or the dishwasher full.
10. Where possible, store things in their cooking categories. Meal prep things in one cupboard, plastic containers in another, bakeware together etc.