Optimize kitchen and storage space

Kitchen organization self-storage organizationI am like so many Americans who have a self-storage unit for the things I cannot fit in my home and cannot bear to part with. It’s a blessing to me because it gives me room to store the items I don’t need for daily use. Seasonal clothes, seasonal sports items, luggage and extra-bulky kitchen items are part of my rotating cast of storage materials. Of course, don’t forget about those holiday decorations that I only utilize once a year.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I’m taking inventory and starting to pull items out to stage for the next month. Since I don’t roast a turkey every month, I keep my turkey roaster in storage to free up my kitchen space for the other items I need on a regular basis. I’m pulling that out of the storage box that contains those items I’ll need for the turkey day festivities.

Optimize self-storage spaceI found that by grouping the items I used together most often, I made it easy for me to grab and go from the storage unit rather than make a list or sort through boxes I may have mixed up since they were last labeled. Here are some examples of how I best utilize my kitchen and storage space.

  1. Turkey Box: Roasting pan, large pot for brining turkey, large pot for potatoes
  2. Braising Box: Incredibly large cast iron dutch oven for braising – my meat of choice is braised short ribs.
  3. Extra dishes box: Since I don’t usually feed fifteen people but I have enough dishes to host a larger family gathering, I keep the unnecessary dishes packed in a kitchen dish box.
  4. Baking Box: I am not averse to baking year-round but I don’t usually bake a large amount of cookies or pastries at once. So I keep the minimum in my kitchen and store the extra sheets, racks and pans out of sight unless needed.
  5. Camping box: This is just a box I keep for the kitchen materials needed when camping. Obviously this is useful for car camping where you won’t have to haul everything in by backpack. Cast iron pan, utensils, spice containers, metal plates and bowls. Long handled cooking spatula and spoon. Temperature safety gloves for moving pans around the fire. Spears for roasting marshmallows.

Make sure all of your items are properly protected in a moving box from dust and bugs. Storage may mean the items will need to be rewashed once you pull them out for use, but my guess is your pans and bowls will need to be rewashed if they sat in your cabinet long enough to collect that dust anyway. Also make sure your boxes are secured for safe transport back and forth between your storage unit.

Organize self-storageDo not pack boxes heavier than you can lift.

Make sure the packing tape is still strongly adhered.

Make sure boxes are snug by filling gaps and voids with packing paper and bubble wrap.

Take this idea and run with it with each room in your house. Seasonal clothing is the next obvious step. By making each box a package deal, you spend less time in your storage unit and more time doing what you like. Your time is precious and freeing it up from sorting through a dusty storage unit is something you’ll definitely thank yourself for.

Kittens doing dishes image via Library of Congress

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