The Orion

How to declutter your kitchen

Grace Kerfoot

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No one likes a cluttered kitchen.

But with the size most rental kitchens tend to be, it’s hard for even the most type-A kind of people to find inspiration and organization in a space smaller than a postage stamp. Furthermore, most rental contracts forbid students from even putting a tack in the wall. Thus, the option of hanging and creating substantial space is nearly impossible.

While I’m no expert on kitchen organization and hardly the kind of person who keeps a kitchen spotless, I know how uninspiring a cramped kitchen can feel.

When I first moved into my apartment, I felt limited by the lack of cabinet and counter space— even though I live alone. As someone who likes to cook, I quickly filled up my limited cabinet space with pots and pans and occupied my minimal counter space with various salts and cooking utensils.

In no time, I had spread things into every nook and cranny of my kitchen but failed to maintain any space to actually cook on.

Fortunately, with a few simple and affordable solutions, I turned my little kitchen from dysfunctional to user-friendly. No paint, hammers and nails or big investments necessary— the only thing that may take extra work is taking the extra step to keep things tidy, but that’s something we all have to figure out on our own.

So if your sink is loaded with food-crusted dishes and the fridge is barfing with food and various leftovers shoved in plastic bags, these tips might be just what you need to reclaim your kitchen and make it a space worth working in.

Problem: Not enough counter space

Solution: Buy a large, cheap cutting board at Costco or Target and place it over one half of your stove or sink. Of course, just remember to remove the boards from the stovetop before you use those burners— otherwise your roommates will hate you.

PHOTO A

Placing a cheap cutting board on your stovetop or in your sink can create more counter space for cooking. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

Problem: Unorganized refrigerator or freezer

Solution: Use small cardboard boxes, such as shoe boxes, to store food in. They’re cheap and affordable to replace in case some unidentifiable liquid or food happens to leak inside. They are easy to label, stack and sort through all your food at one time.

PHOTO B

Cardboard boxes and yogurt containers can organize your freezer and refrigerator for cheap. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

Problem: Not enough cabinet storage

Solution: Invest in a cheap bookshelf to store food and situate it in (or close to) your kitchen. Storing food in used food jars is also a little cleaner looking than slouchy plastic bags of food and can keep pesky insects at bay.

PHOTO C

Reuse jars to store food and repurpose an old bookshelf. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

Problem: Drying rack is large and clunky

Solution: Cheapest and easiest drying rack ever: place a cooling rack on a towel. While it is a little smaller, this method serves the same purpose as a normal drying rack, only it take up less space. It can easily be slid back into a cabinet when you are done using it.

*Extra space tip: If you find yourself with an empty sink, you can place the drying rack in the sink to air dry your dishes to make for more counter space.

PHOTO D

Placing a cooling rack on a towel has the same effect as a bulky and grimy drying rack. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

Problem: No place to store pans

Solution: Cookie sheets are necessary to bake anything and everything on, but they can be tricky to find a home for. Just leave them in your oven when you’re not using them. Problem solved.

PHOTO E

No one has to know where you store your cookie sheets. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot

Have crafty space saving ideas of your own? Share them with @theorion_news using the hashtag #KitchenTricks.

Grace Kerfoot can be reached at [email protected] or @gracekerf on Twitter.

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