How to organise your kitchen

Time to overhaul your kitchen and throw out all those old tins that have been lurking at the back of your cupboards for years. With any luck, your newly decluttered and refreshed kitchen will inspire you to create nutritious and delicious meals for a healthy eating regime too.

Quick kitchen fixes

  • Freshen up your kitchen with flowers or a windowsill herb garden.
  • Buy a colourful new dinner service to brighten up your dining table.
  • Get some drawer dividers to help keep everything in its correct place.

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Read more advice on planning a kitchen

Clear out food
Firstly, go through your cupboards and bin any tins or packets that have long passed their use-by date. Put any food items that are approaching their best-before date at the front of the cupboard so that you don't forget about them and look up some recipes using those ingredients in order to finish them off.

If you notice any essential store cupboard ingredients that are missing or nearly finished, add them to your shopping list. Get rid of any obscure cooking appliances or utensils that you have never used such as novelty ice cube trays or vegetable dicers – you can sell them on eBay or at a car boot sale. Throw out old dish cloths, stained tea towels and anything which generally makes your kitchen look shabby.

Sort paperwork
Clear out any drawers that are full of unwanted papers, takeaway menus, and shopping receipts, and deal with any bills that need to be settled. Once you've emptied a cupboard or drawer, give it a thorough clean with a disinfectant spray before putting anything back in. File loose recipes into a binder to avoid magazine cuttings piling up. Divide them into starters, main courses and desserts and then subdivide them by main ingredient, for example chicken, fish or vegetable.

Rethink your storage
If you have limited cupboard space, try to make better use of shelves. Buy some tall jars for dried pasta, lentils, rice and cereal so that you don't have to have unsightly packets on display. Get a spice rack to prevent all those annoying little bottles from taking up cupboard space and keep them handy for when you are cooking up a storm. Buy some jars to store coffee, tea or sugar, which will save cupboard space and look attractive.

Put ingredients and appliances you use frequently in easy to reach places – think about what tasks you undertake in different sections of the kitchen and plan your cupboards accordingly. For example, keep mugs in the cupboard next to the kettle, cleaning things near the kitchen sink, plates and cutlery near to the dishwasher and pots, pans and baking trays close to the oven. Buy a wall rack for pots, pans and utensils, to stop them taking up room in your cupboards, while rotating corner units are ideal for making use of awkward spaces.

Repaint & repair
You can give your kitchen a fresh new look without spending a fortune in a simple one-day makeover. You can update the colour scheme by repainting the cupboards and chairs, fitting new door knobs or handles and buying a matching new tablecloth and set of tea towels. If you have a bit more time on your hands and a bigger budget, you could even repaint the walls and replace the cabinet doors altogether.