Today kicks off two of my favorite weeks of the year: the week before and the week of Thanksgiving. Given all the cooking and baking that will be going on in my house next week –and again next month–I try to use this time to declutter and organize my kitchen so that I and anyone who helps me can easily find what is needed for cooking and baking tasks.
As the adage goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Today’s beginning is relatively easy: Organize your utensils, silverware, and cutlery.
Kitchen Utensils: Assess What You Have
To begin, I recommend emptying your utensil drawers or crock onto your dining table and assessing what you have. Also determine what utensils might make your life easier or make tasks quicker. Consider adding those to your wish list. Maybe Santa will put one or more of those in your stocking!
Kitchen Utensils: Donate Items You Don’t Need
From that vantage point, determine what you no longer need. As an example, maybe you have utensils that aren’t being used–especially those unitasker utensils that Alton Brown hates so much.
Or maybe not. I have several unitaskers that I love and use regularly:
- A garlic press that I like because it saves me time.
- A breakfast sandwich maker that I love because my husband can make his own breakfast.
And I’m not getting rid of either. So if you use a unitasker utensil and it saves you time or hassle, keep it. But if you have unitaskers or other utensils that you don’t use, declutter by donating them to the local thrift store.
Kitchen Utensils: Replace Broken Ones
If you have any items that are broken, make a note to replace those. As an example, until recently, a piece of my ice cream scoop kept falling off. I replaced it and discarded the old one.
Kitchen Utensils: Clean the Utensil Drawer or Crock
Use the opportunity to clean your utensil drawer–maybe even lay some Contact paper in it. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you could even install full-extension drawer slides to help you get the most out of your space!
If you have a crock rather than or in addition to a drawer, wash it–or in my case, them.
Kitchen Utensils: Organize What’s Left
After you’ve donated unused utensils and replaced broken ones, organize what you have left, whether in a drawer or a utensil crock. First sort your utensils by category: whisks, spatulas, tongs, measuring spoons, etc. Then buy or make drawer dividers. Kevin & Amanda have a great tutorial for making inexpensive drawer organizers. Or you can buy some. Finally, put all your utensils back in your drawer.
If you have a utensil crock, you need only put the utensils back into the crock. Although if you’re like me, you have too many small, useful utensils that have to be in a drawer in addition to the spatulas, spoons, and other items in the crocks.
Silverware and Cutlery: Assess What You Have
As with your kitchen utensils, dump your silverware on your table and determine what you have and what you might need or want. Perhaps you have a lot of mismatched silverware and would like a matching set. Or maybe you’re like me and have lost a few spoons through the years and need another set so you have enough for get-togethers. In either case, consider adding silverware to your wish list.
Silverware and Cutlery: Clean the Drawer and Tray
While your silverware is out on the table, take the opportunity to clean your drawer and your silverware tray. Again, lay Contact paper, install full-extension drawer slides, and make or buy silverware organizers if you choose to.
Silverware and Cutlery: Organize What You Have
Sort your silverware, and return each set to the drawer in the appropriate tray or divider area.
One More Thing
While you’re handling this task, pull out your cutting boards and determine a good place to store them if you don’t already have them somewhere handy. If you have wooden cutting boards, now would be a good time to clean them with salt and a lemon and to oil them (I use organic coconut oil).
The first step in organizing your kitchen is done! Let me know how you did in the comments!