Kitchen Zones

If you struggle to keep your kitchen organized you may be approaching things in the wrong way. Today we are going to talk about how to organize using kitchen zones to streamline where you cook. A genius tip for easy kitchen organization that you can use to keep this busy room neat and put away.

Kitchen zones

It’s the biggest room in the home and the one area where so many things happen every day.

From cooking to eating, folding clothes to doing homework the kitchen tends to be that one room where the entire family gathers several times throughout the day.

a grandfather and young child drawing at a kitchen table and grandmother and young girl at the counter

Since so many different activities happen in the kitchen that has nothing to do with the other, setting this room up to be functional and not chaotic can be a bit tricky.

Today I am going to share with you my organizing tip that will not only keep this room functional but neat, clutter-free, and easy to keep that way.

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What are zones?

Zones are areas where a particular activity occurs. So, for example, the area near the sink and dishwasher is your washing zone. The stove and oven is the cooking zone. The pantry and food cabinet is the food prep zone.

Why are zones so helpful when organizing a room?

When you determine a zone you are in a sense drawing a line in the sand mapping out what items you will want to keep in that area.

How does that look? Let’s back up and talk about the cooking zone again.

woman cooking in a kitchen

If you go into your kitchen what do you have close to your stove and oven? You probably have one or more of the following.

  • Pots
  • Pans
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Baking sheets
  • Oils and Sprays
  • Salt, Pepper, and other Spices

On the flip side, you probably do not have items that have nothing to do with cooking in this area. Things like clothing, toys, cleaning supplies, or books.

I know it sounds silly but my hope is it will put into perspective just how useful zones can be for streamlining a home.

If you only keep the tools you need to perform a particular task close to where the task takes place, you will create a room that is efficient and easy to keep free of clutter.

a neat white kitchen that is clutter free

How to Use Kitchen Zones to Organize Your Kitchen

Before you can start organizing the areas in your kitchen you will first want to decide on what zones you will have. There is one thing to remember here, no two kitchens are exactly alike. The activities we do in our kitchen will be different than yours and for that reason, you will want to make a list that fits you and your family.

The first step is to identify what activities take place in your kitchen. A few ideas to consider are:

  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Food Prep
  • Baking
  • Cleaning up
  • Homework
  • Paying Bills
  • Folding Laundry
  • Entertaining
  • Pet Care

Once you have a good idea of all that happens in this space, it’s time to start mapping out zones. I like to use sticky notes for this part so I can easily move things around until it the setup makes sense.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. The goal is to help you do things without having to run all over your kitchen gathering up the tools you need.

When listing zones, some people prefer to think about it in terms of where they spend most of their time. For example, if you are someone who loves to cook you may want to have a large cooking zone that includes not only the stove and oven but also plenty of counter space for prep work.

On the other hand, if you don’t do much cooking you may want to downsize this area so you can free up space for what you do like to do in your kitchen such as canning or preserving food from your garden.

woman spooning jam into canning jars

Once you have an idea of what zones you want to have and where each zone will be, you can stock each zone with the items you use most often.

• For example, in the cooking zone, you will want to keep pots, pans, cooking utensils, and spices close by.

• In the eating zone, you will want plates, cups, and silverware.

• And in the food prep area, you will want to keep cutting boards, knives, and any other tools you use for food prep.

You get the idea!

The key here is to keep the items you need close at hand and to store everything else away. Not only will this help you to be efficient in the kitchen it will also help you to stay organized and avoid cluttered counters.

cooking zone in a white kitchen

Extra tips for using kitchen zones to organize your kitchen.

If you are still not sure yet what to put where try this tip. Look at your kitchen as if you just moved in.

Imagine nothing is put away yet. All the cabinets and drawers are completely empty. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • What would you put where?
  • When you see yourself cooking, what things would you like to have close by?
  • What is the best area for pots and pans?
  • What is the best spot for dishes and glasses?
  • Where would be the perfect location for the coffee maker?

This unique perspective is meant to get you excited to move things around in your kitchen. Even if you have lived in your home for 25 years or more, there is no rule that says things need to stay right where they are.

Try moving a few things closer to where you use them and see how that helps. If it does, you can move a few more things and then more until you have your kitchen just the way you like it.

1. Don’t forget about storage!

When you are mapping out each zone be sure to include space for storing items away when they are not in use. For example, you will want to have a place to store pots and pans when they are not being used. This could be in a cabinet or even on a pot rack that is close to the stove.

pot rack in a kitchen filled with pots and pans

2. Label everything!

When you have everything in its place be sure to label each zone. This will help everyone in the family know where things go and it will make it easier to keep things organized.

Remember this is just a temporary step so make those labels big and bold so there is no doubt as to what belongs where. Once everyone is used to the new setup you can remove the labels for good.

kitchen cabinets with post it notes for dishes

3. Keep it clean!

The best way to maintain an organized kitchen is to keep it clean.

This means taking the time to wipe down counters, sweep the floors, and wash dishes after each meal. If everyone in the family pitches in it will make it much easier to keep things tidy.

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4. Don’t forget about the little things!

When you are organizing your kitchen don’t forget about the small items that can easily get lost. Things like measuring cups, cooking utensils, and spices. Be sure to store these items in a place where they are easy to find and to grab whenever you need them.

a drawer in the kitchen of measuring cups and spoons

5. Make it a habit!

The best way to keep your kitchen organized is to make it a habit. This means taking the time to put things away after each use and to refrain from letting the space get cluttered.

If everyone in the family is on board it will make it much easier to maintain an organized kitchen.

A great and easy to keep your room clean is to do a room reset. Each night before heading off to bed to a 10 minute clean up in your kitchen.

  • Empty the sink.
  • Toss the trash.
  • Put any food away.
  • Put papers in the office.
  • Put anything that doesn’t belong in this room away.
  • Premake the coffee.
  • Shut off the lights.

Bonus Step – Now, keep it that way!

Many people think that once you declutter and organize a room you are done. That your space will stay neat and tidy every day for ever.

I wish that was the case but there is more you need to do.

And not just once, but every single day.

But good news, there is just one rule. And if you adopt this rule you will never have to declutter and organize this room ever again.

What’s the rule? It’s this.

Put your things all the way away.

Not sure what that means? Let’s talk about that.

More often than not the room that we think is full of clutter is just a collection of things that haven’t been put all the way away.

Think about that for a minute.

If you use a pen and tablet to make a shopping list and rather than put it back in the drawer where you found it you leave it on the counter near the drawer. What you did was give a cluttered look to that space. And for many of us clutter attacks clutter turning a small mess into a big and annoying one.

What you have now is a messy room that is cluttered and chaotic and it could have all been avoided by putting your things back where you found them. AKA all the way away.

all the way away quote copy

By following these tips, you can create a kitchen that is both functional and stylish. Take the time to map out each zone and fill it with the items you use most often so you can create a space that is both organized and efficient.

Don’t forget to label each zone and keep everything clean. This will make it so much easier to maintain an organized kitchen that is also inviting and fun to be in.

Get started organizing your room using kitchen zones and set up a space that is neat, tidy, and easy to keep that way. 

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