'It's all about being intuitive!' – 3 steps to organize your whole kitchen in less than a day ahead of holiday hosting

Shira Gill shares her easy tips to declutter your kitchen ahead of hosting season, and you don’t need more than a day

kitchen with white walls and white island with black worktop, and black woven stools
(Image credit: Molly Culver. Design: Daley Home.)

Kitchens are one of the most common areas to get cluttered quickly. Cabinets end up hiding things at the very back that you haven’t used for ages while drawers become a catchall for the likes of take-away menus, old batteries, and any small item appliances feel you can't throw away ‘just in case’. Sound familiar? It's time to cut the clutter? 

With the holiday season fast approaching, you’ll need to maximize space in your kitchen and be more organized than ever, especially if you plan on hosting. You’ll need to know where everything is, have it handy, and ensure it's accessible for anyone, family member or guest. What’s more, you need to be able to find a system that once implemented, it’s easy to stick to on a daily basis. To find out how, I spoke with expert home organizer and minimalist Shira Gill who shared her three super easy tips to declutter your modern kitchen that you can get done in a day.

1. Have a food storage audit

a teal pantry in a modern kitchen

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies. Design: Blakes)

‘In the kitchen, one of the biggest things that I see is really stuffed and disorganized pantries, so number one is starting with a pantry edit,’ home organizing expert and minimalist Shira Gill tells me. Start simply by removing everything from your cupboards, pantry, or drawers and put them somewhere you can see them (use your dining table, countertop, or island). 

Next, get rid of any duplicates (I bet you’ll have at least a few). ‘Most people have so many duplicates in the kitchen,' says Shira. 'Five can openers or 20 wooden spoons - it’s not uncommon to see wild volumes of exactly the same thing. Gather the things from the same category together and just reduce the volume and keep the best and the highest quality.' Shira then recommends discarding anything that’s expired or that you’re simply not going to use, making space for the likes of cranberry sauce and Christmas goodies!

2. Organize by category

light green kitchen breakfast pantry with glass doors

(Image credit: Davonport)

Once you’re happy with the items left, think about how the kitchen is being used by each family member and organize items in broad categories. If it’s all handy for them and clear where items are placed, your kitchen will stay organized. ‘I’m a mom and I have one bin that’s only for kids' snacks and now the kids always know where to find them so they don’t have to unravel the kitchen completely,’ Shira explains. 

Have clearly designated areas and storage for individual categories like tinned food, breakfast items, and dry foodstuffs. ‘Add labels so that everyone in the household can see at a glance without even asking or communicating,' Shira advises. 'This is where the condiments go, this is where the snacks go, etc.' Before you put anything back in your kitchen cabinets, be sure to organize all your items into large categories.

3. Set the space up like an Airbnb 

Bright kitchen with large wooden island and marble worktop, ceiling beams

(Image credit: Raquel Langworthy. Design: Christina Kim Interior Design.)

Treating your kitchen like a holiday home acts like a lens to look through when organizing your space. Think of it like this. When you walk into an Airbnb everything is self-explanatory. You know where to look for the cutlery, cereal, pots, and pans. It’s just easy. That’s how it should be at home, too, and it's all about organizing intuitively.

‘The rule I follow is asking myself “Could a stranger walk into my kitchen and find what they needed without asking”?' says Shira. 'You want to set it up like an Airbnb or a boutique hotel where you walk in and if you open a cabinet it’s obvious what it’s for - all the mugs, or all the cereal, for example.' 

Once decluttering your kitchen is complete, don’t feel that you need to organize the remaining items in the same way they were before. Do a walkthrough of your kitchen and assess where they make the most sense for seamless use. Once everything is stored according to functionality, your kitchen will be easy to keep organized for longer. Your holiday hosting is guaranteed to run more smoothly as a result!

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for Livingetc.com and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.