Make an inventory list as you empty drawers and cupboards and place similar items together. You might realize you have three of one utensil, while you only need one. With food items, you’ll need to toss everything that is expired. Items that you don’t plan on using can be donated to a local charity or food bank.

Think you have too many kitchen tools? Put them all on a ‘probation period’ and see which ones you really use. For example, place all your kitchen utensils in a box for a month. If you use one of the utensils during that time, they’re allowed back into the drawer. After the month is over, take a look at the ones you didn’t use and consider donating them to your local charity.

One reason why so many organized kitchens don’t maintain their order for long, is because people don’t arrange items with their own cooking habits in mind. In other words, certain arrangements might look great when featured in a magazine, but might not fit your own lifestyle. If you use measuring cups and spoons on a regular basis, keep them nearby. Likewise, if you hardly ever use them, then there is no reason why they should take up space in a glass container on your counter – even if it looks pretty.

Speaking of containers, resist the urge to go out and buy cute containers before you have actually finished the sorting process. Once you’re finished, you’ll know exactly what you need, and how many containers to buy. At first, you might be tempted to transfer all the food items in your pantry to containers, but that might not be necessary. Only use containers for bulk items (like rice and flour), and opt for square jars if you can – it’s easier to fit them in your pantry.

Most of us have a cupboard for plastic containers, and this cupboard is usually in total chaos. Sort it out once and for all. Match each container to its lid, and toss or donate those without a mate. Invest in good quality plastic containers and only buy the sizes you will actually use. It is tempting to buy those combo deals where you get all manner of sizes, but most of the time you never even use all of them. Instead, be specific about the sizes you need and buy them, even if it costs a little extra.

It needs to be said again. Consider your OWN habits when you sort out your kitchen and pantry.  If you only follow organization tips in magazines without establishing whether they will work for you in real life, your kitchen is bound to become disorganized before long.