Whether you love to cook or simply do it out of necessity, you’ll enjoy cooking more when the process is organized and efficient. Here are seven easy-to-implement ideas to help you get organized and save time in the kitchen:

1. Declutter your cabinets and drawers.

How much time do you spend rifling through the utensil drawer looking for the pancake turner or your storage containers cabinet searching for a matching lid? Declutter your cabinets and drawers, and let go of utensils and other items that are just getting in your way—and eating away at your time each and every day.

Drawer Organizers with Measuring Cups and Spoons

2. Organize your kitchen so it reflects your cooking process.

Simple changes in how you organize your kitchen cabinets and drawers will save you time every time you cook. Use drawer organizers to make it easier to see and access your tools and utensils. Organize your spices in a way that makes sense to you and store them on a lazy Susan or spice organizer, so it’s easy to see the labels and get your hands on whatever spice you need right when you need it. You’ll find that a Lazy Susan can be your best friend when it comes to accessing an item in a deep cabinet.

Keep your most-used utensils in a single easy-to-reach location so they’re easy to grab in the heat of meal prep. Place a ceramic crock on the counter near your stove and load it up with your favorite cooking utensils and gadgets. Stock a small tray with frequently used oils, vinegars, herbs and spices, along with a salt shaker and pepper grinder.

Utensil Crock and Tray

3. Store items that are used together in a bin.

Storing items used for a single task (preparing lunch, baking, making coffee, etc.) will save you trips to the fridge, pantry and food cupboard, cutting your prep time significantly! To put this idea into practice, simply corral together items used for a single purpose. Then, select a storage container sized to fit the contents and your storage area. Here’s one example of how I created a lunch-making bin using this idea.

4. Clear surface clutter daily.

If your kitchen is a wreck before you even begin the day or start cooking dinner, it’s overwhelming and stressful. Keep your kitchen counters clear and clutter-free by taking a few minutes each day to handle your kitchen counter clutter. Go through the mail. Put away the dishes. Redistribute non-kitchen items to where they belong. The time invested in keeping your kitchen surfaces clean will pay you back in lowered stress levels and speedier meal prep.

5. Establish a simple counter-top filing system.

One of the most common sources of kitchen counter clutter is paperwork and mail. Curtail this clutter by setting up a simple counter-top filing system using a small basket or file folders. Create a home management binder to store items you need access regularly and need to keep close at hand. If you need help setting up your own binder, consider joining my FREE online mini-class.

file basket canisters

6. Plan ahead.

If you plan your meals ahead of time and shop with those meals in mind, you’ll save time worrying about what you’re going to make for dinner, and you’ll spend less time running to the store to pick up a missing ingredient. Best yet, meal planning will help you save money by reducing the temptation to go out for dinner or call for carryout.

7. Develop a repertoire of simple-to-prepare meals.

If you’re like me, then you enjoy trying new recipes. While new recipes are fun, until you go through the learning curve, even simple new recipes can take more time to prepare than meals you know by heart. Create a list of easy-to-make meals, and then call on those tried-and-true favorites during busy crunch times. Try new dishes on days of the week (or seasons of the year) when your schedule has a bit more breathing room. You’ll enjoy cooking more and save time when it matters most.

Each idea you put into action will save you time in the kitchen, freeing you up for other more enjoyable or more necessary activities.

Happy organizing!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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