Kitchens are the most frequented room in the house, so it’s no wonder they are quick to become chaotic. With so many family members in and out, making meals and moving things around, kitchens can be a magnet for clutter and disarray.
When our new friend Dr. Zelana Montminy— a behavioral scientist, wife, and mom of three— moved into her new home early this year, she enlisted Simply Spaces’d help to calm this hectic hotspot. Without an organized system in place, the kitchen didn’t flow for optimal use. Our team needed to find a home for everything and implement smart systems from the get-go.
It’s a problem that nearly every client I come across has dealt with at one time or another. I dedicate the entire first chapter of the Simply Spaced book to kitchen organizing because I know it all starts here. I believe a simplified, streamlined kitchen eliminates decision fatigue, encourages wellness, and helps families build healthy routines.
In this post, I’m sharing how to makeover your kitchen with three small but impactful changes, as inspired by the improvements we made at Dr. Zelana’s. By introducing a few cohesive, quality upgrades, your kitchen will become the place you want to cook and connect in.
Spruce Up Your Spices
You are not alone if you have a messy, out of control spice cabinet. We live life, right? And cooking takes a ton of time and energy. Sorting spices may seem like a bougie TikTok gag, but decanting into uniform containers is a fun, quick, and easy way to bring cohesion to your kitchen.
Reducing visual chaos is the name of this mini-makeover game. For Zelana’s family-friendly kitchen, we used our favorite Neat Method Spice Jar Sets and preset labels. With your spices organized, you’ll be able to find what you need, know what you have, and always keep it fresh.
Here’s how to sort:
- Simplify: Start by pulling out all your spices. Check the expiration dates and toss any that are past their prime.
- Streamline: Decide on the best location to store all your spices, such as a cabinet or drawer near your stove.
- Style: Decant your spices into spice jars and label accordingly. Alphabetize your spice jars for ease of use.
One of the best ways to maintain an organized kitchen, or any space for that matter, is to use labels to help you and your loved ones remember where everything lives. I also recommend this paint marker for writing on the labels (don’t forget to note the expiration date on the bottom!).
Upgrade Your Pots and Pans
Pots and pans can be bulky, scratch-prone, and challenging to organize properly. It’s not unusual for them to become mismatched and carelessly stacked on top of one another due to lack of space. Add in the fact that many are made with harmful compounds (such as PFOA in Teflon) or have surfaces that are impossible to clean, it’s no wonder some people (me) avoid cooking altogether.
By bringing intention to your cookware, and organizing it in an accessible way, healthy meal prep just might become something you look forward to. If you notice your pans are scratched or peeling, or that the food is constantly sticking, it may be time to invest in an upgrade.
My favorite non-toxic cookware set from Caraway is the one I (and by I, I mean my husband) use and personally recommend to clients looking for a quality set that covers all bases. Their ceramic pots and pans are eco-friendly and non-stick, and come in sophisticated colors such as cream, navy, and my personal favorite, sage (pictured). Bonus: this kit includes magnetic pan racks and canvas lid holders that beautifully maximize storage.
Streamline Your Dishware
Chances are if it’s been a while since you’ve sorted through your dishware, it can use some paring down.
- Simplify: Start by pulling everything out and grouping like with like— all your bowls, mugs, glasses, utensils, etc. Decide to donate anything you don’t use or have too many of. Keep uniform and in-tact sets, donate random additions.
- Streamline: Store what you’re keeping in the most intuitive, accessible place for that item, being sure to keep like items together.
- Style: Try not to cram too many dishes into one space. If you have open shelves or glass cabinets, choose dishes that are both pretty and functional to display
Once you’ve simplified what you have, you may decide it’s time to invest in a new, cohesive set of dishware. Dr. Zelana swears by this elegant porcelain set, and another great option is this eco-friendly ceramic set from Fable.
Pro-Tip (straight from Dr. Zelana herself): Ditch your ceramic-glazed mugs that are likely leaking harmful toxins, especially if you are drinking high-acidity coffee. opt instead for glass, like these from Target.
With a little bit of focus, and a few purposeful upgrades, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier kitchen in no time. Oh— and I couldn’t leave Dr. Zelana’s without a few observations of my own. Curious to know what I learned from this highly efficient, multi-hyphenate momma?
Here’s three simple ways Dr. Zelana stays organized in her daily life:
- Sticks to a consistent weekly shopping list for efficiency, consistency and reduced stress
- Embraced our systems and introduced them to her family for successful upkeep
- Makes vitamins, supplements and essential oils a part of her daily routine
Interested in more from Dr. Zelana, plus tips on how organization and mental health come together in her home? Stay tuned for next month’s interview where she’ll be sharing her experience after living in her space and putting the systems to work.
What’s one upgrade you can make in your kitchen today?