Inside the mind of a professional organizer: Get your kitchen in order

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Jessi Bushman. PHOTO CREDIT: TH file

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

I admit, the kitchen is my favorite space to maintain and improve.

Every household is unique because everyone uses it differently. There isn’t a right or wrong way to organize it. It’s best to customize item placement to meet your needs.

We spend countless hours planning, preparing, creating, serving and enjoying meals in our kitchens, yet we easily overlook the placement of our things.

How many can say they enjoy emptying the dishwasher? I know I can. Everything has its place, and the thrill of putting things where they belong makes me happy.

Kitchen organization is a

multistep process in the eyes of an organizer. Your starting point is understanding your use and the items you want to access.

Here are a few tips to think about when reorganizing your kitchen.

Ask questions

• What is the size of your kitchen, and how many of your possession do you use? Take inventory and document everything by physically opening all drawers and cabinets. Then, categorize all documented items.

• Identify the items to discard. Don’t forget to take into account things that might be stored outside of the kitchen due to design or lack of storage.

• Allow yourself multiple hours to several days to accomplish this task. If reading this stresses you out, you are unable to justify the time or simply don’t want to, consider hiring a professional organizer to make it happen. This effort will impact your daily lifestyle dramatically.

Create surface space

• Clear your kitchen island, dining table, set up folding tables or tap into adjoining room floor space.

• Begin emptying cabinets based on your documented categories. Once you have gotten a few categories cleared out of the cabinets, clean those areas out using soapy water or disinfectant cleaner.

Double check inventory

Ask the following questions:

• Do you have multiples of the same thing? Scale back between 20% and 50%.

• What is the condition of these items? Are things damaged, worn out or missing pieces?

• Do you use it? Decide if items are trash or can be sold or donated.

• Are the things you use often within reach? Regardless of where the items were stored before, consider where they would be easiest to access going forward.

You might want to purchase organization items:

• Dividers to stack plates and glasses above, versus on top of each other.

• Racks for pots, pans, lids and cooking trays.

• Bins and trays to group utensils and Tupperware lids.

Think about the physical steps you take to gather your items. Experts have said we have a “working triangle” that accounts for the sink, fridge and stove. Also consider the dishwasher and seating area.

• Sink.

• Fridge.

• Stove.

• Dishwasher.

• Seating area.

Are you grouping too many of the same items, or have you thought of subcategories?

• Daily use.

• Holiday and special occasion.

• Kids plates/cups and easy access snacks.

• Baking goods if you have a heavy-duty mixer and supplies.

• Beverage center for coffee and alcohol.

The key steps to organizing your kitchen, as well as any other space, is to sort, group, downsize and arrange. The overall process will save you time and create a more efficient process.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at or on Facebook at OrganizerJessi. You also can email her at

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