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We've all seen those social media posts of sparkling kitchens with color-coded cookbooks, fridges with fresh produce placed perfectly and pantries with alphabetized spices. Whether those images make you roll your eyes or go green with envy, it's likely we could all use a little kitchen refresh this time of year. Between herding the family into a new back-to-school routine and trying to get healthy meals on the table as fast as humanly possible, one can seriously benefit from a more organized kitchen.
We talked to Chelsea Thomas of NEAT Method—a luxury home-organizing company—to get her best tips for making your kitchen a little sleeker, less cluttered and more user-friendly for the whole family.
1. Clear the Counter
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As fun as it can be to display all your beloved cookbooks, heirloom dishware and convenient appliances on your kitchen countertops, Thomas says less is almost always more.
"Whenever possible, move countertop items like utensils and small appliances into a drawer or cupboard," she says." A clear countertop will make the room feel clean and open."
Simply prioritizing a few countertop items that offer a nice aesthetic and storing the rest will make an instant difference in the way your kitchen looks. There's probably another great place to display your grandmother's favorite bakeware—and if there's not, it might be time to start giving things away.
2. Pare Down
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"Sort like items together, then decide which duplicates or well-loved items you can part with," Thomas says. "The less you own, the less you'll have to organize and store."
Isn't that the truth? We think this tip should be utilized throughout the rest of our homes as well. Collecting a bin—of unopened cookbooks, half of your monstrous dish towel collection and those old serving dishes you haven't touched since your wedding—for donation or sale saves you precious kitchen space (and time cleaning later).
3. Up Your Spice Game
Photo: NEAT Method
"Custom spices are a huge boost to the kitchen aesthetic, whether stored in a drawer or cupboard," Thomas says. "We like decanting spices into uniform jars and labels, but you can achieve the same look by sticking to just one brand."
Simply dedicating yourself to a brand or favorite grocery store's generic line can make your spices look a lot less cluttered—and may make a nice display in your kitchen. One of our staffers loves these working glasses from Williams Sonoma for storing spices, nuts and seeds.
4. Keep It Uniform
Photo: NEAT Method
We'll be the first to say that we're kitchen hoarders, letting our collection of baking dishes, sheet pans and food storage containers pile up over the years, turning our kitchen into an island of misfit cooking tools.
"Always choose more of the same set of dishes, cookware and food storage containers over a few pieces here and there from different sets," Thomas says. "Opening your cupboard to a repeated set of dishes that stack nicely is a game changer."
Not only does choosing a brand or style of cookware, bakeware and dishware look more aesthetically pleasing, it can also help you stay more organized later on. You'll be less likely to just throw an item in a random bin when there's a place for a whole collection of pieces in a specific drawer or cabinet.
5. Label, Label, Label
Photo: NEAT Method
"In order to keep your kitchen looking Instagram-worthy, get your whole family on the same page by labeling drawers and bins," Thomas says. "Don't leave any doubt where things belong!"
Late summer is the perfect time of year to do this, as your family is heading back to school and into a new routine. This practice will help everyone know where everything in the kitchen is—which will help you out as you may be encouraging the kids to make their own lunches, clean up after snack time or wash the dishes after dinner. Now the whole family will be on the same page regarding where things belong in the kitchen—no excuses!
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