An organized kitchen will streamline your baking and make it a more enjoyable experience. Use these tips for organizing baking supplies to make your baking the best, most efficient it can be!
How to Organize Baking Supplies
I’ve lived in all different size spaces, from 600 square feet to almost 4000 square feet. Our current Brooklyn apartment is about 1000 square feet. It blessedly has a lovely kitchen with a good bit of space. No matter where we’ve lived, I have always enjoyed the task of organizing our kitchen.
As you might expect, I have more baking-related things in my kitchen than most people. I’ve found some methods that seem to work no matter what size kitchen I have. Along the way, I’ve discovered new ways to organize things to fit specific spaces.
If you’re looking to re-organize your baking supplies or moving to a new space, I hope these tips will help you make the most of your baking space. Let’s get started!
Make a Plan
Before you do anything, you need a plan. This doesn’t have to be a final plan, but you do need a place to start.
Think about what works well and what doesn’t about your current setup. Are there things about your current organization that make baking more difficult? Do you have to take 17 things out of a cabinet just to get to the chocolate chips? Are your baking supplies scattered throughout different cabinets?
Make any notes that you think will help, whether that’s a list of things you need or a list of improvements you want to make for where things will go. Keep your priorities in mind. You’re going to revisit this plan later, but it’s a good starting point for assessing what you have and making sure you have what you need.
One of the major hurdles is figuring out where everything is going to go. I keep that simple with a stack of sticky notes and a pen. Write down everything you need to store on a note: mixing bowls, measuring spoons, ingredients, pans, etc. Then stick them on the cabinets and drawers where you think things will work. Then rearrange those notes until you get a plan you like. Of course, you can also do this other ways. Try making a sketch or using some other way that helps you visualize how to store it all.
Take Everything Out
This can truly mean everything or maybe a little less if you’re just aiming to re-organize a smaller area. I enjoy a thorough reimagining of the entire space, but start smaller if you’d like.
It may seem like an insignificant thing, but start with clean and clear counter-space or a table so you have plenty of room to put everything and to get organized.
Sort Your Ingredients, Tools, and Pans
Once you’ve gotten everything out, it’s time for sorting and organizing. First, find anything that’s broken or expired or otherwise unusable. Then find things that you need to throw out or donate. Have some real talk with yourself about some things. Are you really going to use that weird-shaped cookie cutter? Or how about that uni-tasker tool that’s been in the back of the drawer for way too long?
Put like things together. Group basic ingredients, less frequently used ingredients, your most used pans, specialty pans, cookie cutters, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, muffin liners, mixing spoons, spatulas, and anything else you have. The size and contents of those groups will vary for each of us.
Prioritize What’s Most Frequently Used
It helps to think about not only how things are related but also how often you use them. No matter the constraints of your space, you’ll be far happier if you have easier access to the things you use the most. That means keeping your most frequently used ingredients and tools close together and easy to access, and storing less frequently used items out of the way in less accessible shelves and drawers.
Revisit Your Plan
Sometimes what you think is a great plan starts to fall apart a little bit in practice. Maybe you realized you need more space for something than you initially thought. (I know I’m often surprised at how big my sprinkles collection is!) That’s perfectly fine. Your plan likely just needs a little adjusting. Spend some time assessing the space, which will be a bit easier with everything organized. And don’t forget to consider any shelves that can be adjusted to fit your needs.
Now is also the time to assess anything you might need to make your storage work for you. That can be a little or a lot or somewhere in between. Some things to consider are storage containers for ingredients, bins or baskets for smaller items, drawer and cabinet dividers, and pull-out shelves for deep cabinets. Also be sure to measure you cabinets and drawers so you know what will fit and how best to arrange everything.
I know the temptation will be to get everything you think you need before you get started, but you’ll very likely end up with things you don’t need and things you’re missing for optimizing your storage. You can still store things according to your new plan and then make adjustments later when you get your supplies.
Some of My Favorite Organizing Tools
Everyone’s needs and preferences will be different, but I’ll happily share my preferences with you to help give you some ideas of what might work for you. I’m a big believer in airtight containers for ingredients, although I still keep some less frequently used ingredients in bags. It’s just so much easier to find things and get to things if they’re neatly stored.
For the ingredients that don’t warrant a dedicated container, I have a couple of bins that nicely hold zip-top bags and resealable bags of ingredients. It’s much neater and easier to grab that bin than to dig through stacks of random bags. I also find that bins make it easier to access things on higher shelves. The bins I use are more functional than beautiful, but there are all sorts of options available to suit your needs and your aesthetic.
I have several drawer dividers for holding measuring spoons, measuring cups, and other tools. As much as I bake, I go through a lot of measuring spoons and cups. I have several sets to make my baking life easier. If you bake often, one of the nicest things is to have multiple sets of measuring spoons sorted by size. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of my baking setup.
Store Your Baking Supplies
Now it’s time to take all that stuff you’ve lovingly sorted and arrange it all according to your new plan! When you have any new containers, bins, etc., put them to use for the finishing touches on your happily organized system.
When you transfer ingredients to airtight containers, keep expiration dates in mind. I go through most things so quickly that it’s not that relevant, but it’s a good thing to note if you don’t bake frequently or if you have ingredients you aren’t likely to use often. Add the expiration date to a label or keep a list handy.
Smaller items go into bins or baskets. I keep a bin for chocolate chips and other add-ins I use frequently. Behind that, I keep another bin with less frequently used ingredients. I also have a small bin just for extracts. I find that having them grouped like that makes them easier to access and also helps keep them (and your shelves) safe from accidental spills.
Place any drawer and cabinet organizers. If you are going with something more elaborate like a pull-out for a cabinet, get that installed so you can fill it up and start using it.
Handle the Overflow
Depending on your storage space, you may find that you just don’t have enough room to store everything in a useable way. If you’re sure you really need everything you’re trying to store, then it may be time to find space elsewhere. Be sure you’re making use of the space in less accessible, high cabinets for things you don’t need to access as often. If you have room for a rolling kitchen cart, consider that for a storage solution you can employ when you need it and then tuck it away when it’s not in use. I have most everything in my kitchen, but I do have a few infrequently used pans and small appliances in my office closet.
Don’t forget your kitchen counter, too. I prefer mine to be as clear as possible, but I have found that it’s very nice to have quick access to utensils I use most often. I also keep my stand mixer on my counter. Even though I don’t use it as frequently as my hand mixer, it’s a big thing to try to store and it also just looks pretty on the counter.
Label As Much As You Need
At one time, I went all-in on labeling. And I found that it was just too much for me. My one exception is my spice drawer, which is an absolute labeling must for me.
I don’t feel the need to label my all-purpose flour and granulated sugar containers because I can easily see what they are. If I am storing other types of flours or any ingredient that I worry about identifying readily, then those get labeled.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. You should do as little or as much labeling as you want and need.
I’ve seen beautiful kitchens and pantries with everything labeled in a pretty way. And while I think it’s visually appealing, it’s not what I want to spend my time doing. If that’s what you like, then go for it. But don’t think it’s a requirement for an organized kitchen.
Your labels can be anything from a pretty chalkboard label with pretty handwriting to a piece of tape with a note scrawled in Sharpie. There’s essentially a labeling scale that ranges from purely functional to mostly aesthetic. Just find your happy spot on that scale and do what suits you.
You’ll find that it’s easier to maintain your organized baking supplies if everything has a place. That applies as much to ingredients and small tools as it does to baking pans and appliances.
You’ll also find that you’ll have a far better idea of what you have on-hand when it’s clearly visible and in its place.
Check expiration dates periodically and get rid of anything unusable. Some bakers like to keep an inventory of what they have on-hand. If you want to do that, then that can be as simple as using pen and paper or more elaborate like an app or a spreadsheet.
Make Use of Your Baking Organization and Enjoy!
I think you’ll find that organizing your baking ingredients, pans, and tools will help make you a more efficient baker and make the process of baking much more enjoyable!
Everyone’s kitchen is different, and everyone’s baking habits are different, too. But I hope these tips help you get your kitchen set up to make the most of the space you have to make your baking process easier and smoother!
More Baking Tips
Eager to learn more to improve your baking skills? These articles are great starting places for learning about baking tools, ingredients, and techniques.
- A Baker’s Guide to Sheet Pans
- How to Measure Flour
- How to Soften Butter
- The Creaming Method
- Lined vs Unlined Baking Sheet
- How to Choose Baking Pans
- Light vs Dark Brown Sugar
- How to Make Vanilla Extract
- Guide to Cookie Scoops
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