Kitchen organization using zones

Have a Messy Kitchen? Try Re-Zoning!

by Char Gietz

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So you've just about had it with your kitchen. You never can find your bake pans when you need them, your spatula was last seen somewhere around the fridge, and you have no idea where your pie pan is. Could be behind the stove for all you know. You're more than ready to get organized, right? But where to begin?

We're going to streamline your kitchen and create zones of use. This will enable you, and everyone else in your family, to easily find what they need when they need it.

Start by looking at each area of your kitchen, such as the pantry, utensil drawers, upper cabinets, lower cabinets and cold storage, as if it were a separate room. If you take on your kitchen one room at a time, it's much easier to see progress and prevent becoming overwhelmed.

Also keep in mind what else your family does in the kitchen. Do the kids study at the table after school? Do you entertain in there? When zoning your kitchen, keep its multifunctional uses at the top of your mind. Your goal is to keep like items close to the source of where it will be used.

So, for instance, if you're a frequent baker, you should try to keep all your baking pans and utensils in one zone for instant access. If the kids study at the table, keep their supplies in a bin or cabinet tucked close by so they can reach them with ease. Zoning is often used in kindergarten classrooms, and there's a reason why the classroom can go from chaos to clean in a just few minutes, namely the children know exactly where every toy is supposed to go. What works for them can work for you!

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When you go through your pantry, start by weeding out all of the old food. Canned goods over two years old can be pitched, as well as the usual stale chips and ancient box of cereal. When you have a clean slate, so to speak, separate your pantry into areas, such as canned vegetables, dry goods like pasta and cereals, and spices. Group them all together and you can find what you need easier. You can also group by topic, which many families find easier if they have younger children. For example, breakfast items on one shelf, snacks in a large bin on the bottom shelf, lunch items in the middle, and so on. This helps younger kids participate in making their own lunch or grabbing a snack if they're hungry.

The kitchen can be a big project, but by doing it one section at a time, you can space it out over several days. Before you know it, you'll have the organized kitchen of your dreams!

Reviewed August 2017

Char Gietz is a freelance writer and a crock pot fanatic. Visit her website at She loves cooking with her Rival® crock pot and writing about creative ways to use slow cookers. Her numerous articles offer tips and valuable insight for any busy family.

Take the Next Step:

  • Decide whether zoning your kitchen would help keep it organized.
  • Take the TDS Pantry Challenge. Clean out that pantry, fridge and freezer and see how much extra cash you can free up this month!
  • An organized home can save you quite a bit. The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to an Organized Home can help you save both time and money getting organized and staying organized.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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