Maximizing Your Kitchen Space: The Power of Creating Zones


If you ask a group of organizing experts what their number one recommendation for having an organized kitchen is, chances are a good percentage of them will tell you about the importance of zones. In fact, as it happens, I did ask a group of organizing experts for their recommendations, and that is what many of them said.

What are zones?

Zones are areas of your kitchen designated for certain tasks so that you can keep all of the tools and supplies for that task in the same area where you’ll be using them.

Lauren Miller, a professional organizer with Space Made Simple, says: “Creating zones immediately makes life easier. It’s easier to find things, faster to retrieve things, and a cinch to put things away. Things are always at your fingertips and in places that make sense to you.”

Chances are you’ve already done some of this, even if you’ve never thought of it in those terms, but consciously thinking about zones as you go about your daily tasks for the next week or so may give you some additional ideas of how you can reorganize to make your kitchen more efficient.

What are some examples of zones in the kitchen?

Although you could apply the concept of zones to organizing any room in your house, it’s perhaps easiest to apply in the kitchen, where there are so many different activities taking place already.

For example, Allan Young, Associate National Director of NAPO and the CEO and Co-Founder of ShelfGenie, offers these examples:

  • “Food preparation tools, like cutting boards, measuring cups and mixing bowls, should be located near the largest available workspace.
  • Store cooking needs – pots, pans, bake ware and potholders – near the stove and serving supplies, like dishes, glassware, flatware and napkins, near the dining room.
  • Tupperware, plastic wrap, foil and other storage items work well near the refrigerator.
  • And the dishwasher/sink area is a great place for dish towels, sponges, trash bags and all-purpose cleaners.”

Other examples include mail zones and baking zones. You could even create smaller zones, such as a smoothie zone, depending upon the preferences of your family.

Benefits of Zones

Besides saving you time and making things easier to find, zones have other benefits as well. Once you set up logical zones, you may find that you use certain tools more often.

For example, your family may love smoothies already, but you might not make them very often because it feels like too much trouble. First you have to first drag out the blender from a high upper cabinet, then gather the measuring cups and glasses, then head to the refrigerator for some ingredients, and so on. What if you kept the blender and the glasses in a cabinet close to the refrigerator and used the counter space in that area for preparing your smoothies instead? Smoothies are just an example, but the principle is the same for any kitchen task. By keeping everything together, you’re more likely to want to use it.

And if you still don’t want to use that smoothie maker? Well, chances are it might be time to  clean out your small appliances. But more on that next week.

Do you currently use zones in your kitchen? Did you know you were using “zones”, or did it just happen naturally? What other zones could you add to make your kitchen more efficient?