I don’t care what anyone says, health and happiness start in the kitchen.
De-cluttering and streamlining your kitchen is a great way to implement new habits that will have a positive impact on other areas of your life.
These are my top 4 “Do Nows” for creating a stylish, finely tuned kitchen that inspires healthier, happier living:
1. Find other homes for everything on your countertops. These spaces are best reserved for food preparation. Clearing your counter clutter starts with needing less. Identify the items that are absolutely essential (cell phone, keys, mail, etc.) for easy access and drop them into containers like shallow trays. Look for out-of-the-way places to tuck things away between uses. I like Seville Classics (SevilleClassics.com) for their eco-friendly bamboo trays; they come in a variety of sizes and configurations.
2. Think about how to organize up, and maximize your vertical storage with shelves, hooks and overhead or wall-installed solutions. I prefer glass, stainless steel and bamboo materials for cabinet organization. Plastic surfaces aren’t as durable, are harder to clean and have a larger environmental footprint. Measure your space, consider your inventory and select the solution that best serves your needs and aesthetic sensibilities.
3. Regularly clean out your refrigerator and label shelves so members of your household know where to find items—and where to replace them. I group items like leftovers, cheese, produce and bread into transparent containers and label them. The Epson LabelWorks LW-700 Label Printer is a great household addition because of its reduced lead margins, resulting in up to 60 percent less waste. I also recommend using a variety of labels, including hand-written stickers, chalkboard and dry-erase solutions, depending on the item and the surface.
4. Get friendly with clear glass containers. You’ll be able to see what you’ve got, and when it’s time to replenish. Assessing your inventory at a glance saves time and helps ensure you’re spending wisely at the market. Use glass for leftovers in your fridge and dry goods in your pantry; it’s ideal for keeping containers airtight and critterfree. There’s a wide range of food storage options out there (ContainerStore.com), but before you buy, remember: The most important thing is to match the shape of the container with the space where it will be stored. Try to maximize the vertical space above each container (either with stackables or tall containers) to avoid unused dead space. To maximize the volume of your storage spaces, I recommend cylindrical containers for Lazy Susans and rectangular containers for the squared shelves of your refrigerator, cabinets and pantry.
Originally Published in Edible Aspen.