The kitchen, by its very nature, is probably the most heavily trafficked and most popular room in your home.
It's where the family gets together during meals, friends gather during dinner parties, and you get each day off to a fresh start. A well-organized kitchen allows you to enjoy more fully every minute you spend in it.
Since the kitchen is where memories as well as meals are made, you'll need to consider both functionality and aesthetics as you declutter and organize each element inside. These kitchen clutter solutions can help streamline this busy hub and make it functional for all you do inside.
Does your present setup work for you?
Take this efficiency test: Make a list of your kitchen appliances - the blender, toaster, food processor, mixer - and note where each one is and how you use it.
For instance, if your study shows that you're walking across the kitchen to carry bread to the toaster, then the toaster isn't housed in the most convenient place for you.
Kitchen clutter solutions here could include moving it closer to the bread box or wherever you store bread.
Do the same for other items whose locations you find to be inefficient.
Kitchen clutter solutions start with a place for it all: so let's start with a biggie - finding storage space for all those essential cooking tools.
Organize drawers by grouping frequently used cooking tools in ceramic jars or other attractive holders on countertops.
The drawers will be neater - with more counter space for other things - and you'll be able to get to these must-have utensils quicker.
Clear canisters with airtight tops can hold and display such frequently used foodstuffs as bread, bagels, and pasta on countertops.
When you can see a particular food item, you're more likely to eat it before it spoils. And you won't buy more of what you don't need.
Here are some kitchen clutter solutions to help keep countertops uncluttered while using them for display.
Place an attractive, shallow wicker basket, small wooden crate, or other container on a counter to hold treats for the kids or fill it with the snacks you like to grab on the run.
Use antique, decorative tins, or old-fashioned colored-glass mason jars to store your collections of tea bags and matchbooks - or as "hiding" places for dog biscuits and kitty treats.
Fruits and vegetables can take center stage in an attractive, breathable basket or metal mesh container on the kitchen table or windowsill instead of taking up space - and being left to spoil unseen - in the back of the refrigerator.
Let the fridge do double duty as a family message center: A magnetic message board on the doors will remind everyone in the family of the day's appointments and the week's schedule.
The sides are a great place to display kids' artwork, family photos, take-out menus, and a calendar for family activities. Who needs a desk in this busy place when a little creativity and a few magnets will do?
Inside drawers, use plastic sectional organizers or small oblong boxes to hold scissors, tape, and coupons in place - and to make them easier to find when you need them.
These types of containers also work well for organizing large spoons, salad tongs, carving knives, corkscrews, and bottle and can openers.
If your cabinet shelves are not adjustable, subdivide the space with wire racks. It makes getting to pots, pans, dishes, and pie plates easier than when they're piled up all the way to the shelf above.
This wire-rack system works equally well with items in the cupboards or pantry. You might also consider installing a corner cabinet carousel or rolling shelves.
You won't want to waste a single inch of precious cabinet space. Make the most of overhead cabinets by hanging stemmed glasses beneath them. Store your holiday cookware and the cake tins or roasting pans you infrequently use in those hard-to-reach cabinets high above the fridge.
Sort food - wherever you've stashed it - by category, to make things easy to reach. You'll also have a better idea of what needs restocking before you head out to the grocery store.
Put baking items - such as flour, sugar, and baking soda and powder - in one area and cereals and canned fruits and vegetables in another.
Alphabetize spices and put them on a shelf or rack mounted to the wall so you know what you have and can quickly grab what you need when you're cooking.
Finally, to make everyday cleanups quicker, assign one large cabinet and one drawer near the dishwasher to serve as the home for the daily dishes and silverware.
If you have extra sets of dishes and far more place settings than you have household members, stock this area with just enough dishes and utensils to get everyone through the day and to make unloading the dishwasher less of a chore.
Double the number of place settings if you run the dishwasher only every other day.
Store the rest of the service in a place that's less convenient but still accessible, so it's handy when your meals require more dishes and glasses than you'd planned for.