HOW TO TAKE CHARGE OF CLUTTERED
Interior designer offers four tips on how to bring order to a messy kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home — and it’s also where clutter can congregate fast. Overcoming overwhelming paper on counters, messy Tupperware cabinets, and never-ending junk drawers can seem like an impossible endeavour. In my house, what I’ve learned as a result of living with my five small cluttercreating kids, and working with families of all sizes in my interior design practice, is that clutter can be conquered with daily dedication and some strategic use of space. Here are my top tips to take charge of your cluttered kitchen and keep it clean.
Capsule your cabinets Recently the idea of a minimal, pared-down “capsule wardrobe” of essential items you wear has taken off. I argue the same can be done for each kitchen cabinet and drawer. Take stock of the items you actually use. Be ruthless: do you really need seven cutting boards? Will you actually use that bread maker? I love the strategy Peter Walsh of Oprah fame suggests in regards to kitchen utensils: put all items in your utensil drawer in a cardboard box for a month and only put it back in the drawer if you actually use it.
Anything left in the box at the end of the month gets donated. I would extend this practice to other cabinets and drawers as well.
The less time you have to search for something, the more efficient you will be.
Clear your counters Counters can easily become overcrowded, and visual clutter adds to feelings of being overwhelmed. Regardless of the size of your counter, allow no more than a third of the space to be taken up by small countertop appliances, napkin holders, knife blocks and the like. With the increased space gained in your cabinets from purging you should have room to place frequently used items such as blenders or toasters close at hand.
When I design custom kitchens I always include an appliance garage cabinet for the purpose of decreasing visual clutter.
Put paper in its place Between bills, recipes, coupons and flyers, it is so easy for paper to take over counters. In addition, the kitchen table often doubles as a homework centre and general communication hub, so it’s essential to have a system. What has proven useful in my house is a binder with dividers, and a three-hole punch stored wherever you sort mail. Immediately when paper enters the house, either recycle it or hole punch it, and place it in the appropriate spot in the binder. It is easier to leaf through an orga- nized, well-labelled book than rummage through a drawer or random stack.
Additionally, switch to electronic billing statements where possible to further decrease the paper that enters your home.
Batch your pantry In the pantry, group similar items together — all baking supplies, dry cereals, zip-lock bags and food wrap, etc. Then purchase clear plastic bins in correct sizes to hold these groups. Not only will this instantly increase visual organization, it will simplify tasks such as baking as you can take an entire bin out and have everything close at hand. Lisa Canning runs Lisa Canning Interiors specializing in two-hour in-home interior design consultations in the GTA and beyond. She writes a lifestyle blog called Lisa Canning: Blueprints for a Beautiful Life, offering practical strategies for families to live lives that are as beautiful as they are organized. She lives in Toronto with her husband and five children.