How I Organize My Paleo Kitchen: Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo

published Mar 10, 2015
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(Image credit: Michelle Tam)
(Image credit: Michelle Tam)

This month we’re talking about organizing the kitchen! To help us really dig in deep, we’ve hit up a few of our favorite food writers and bloggers to share how they organize their home kitchens.

Today Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo reveals her two-part system for keeping her kitchen chaos in check!

(Image credit: Michelle Tam)

How do you keep your kitchen organized?

As an inveterate slob, I’m the last person who should be giving advice about organization. I’m super diligent about washing and cleaning, but not about putting things away. Thankfully, I have a secret weapon: my husband, who’s constantly waging war with my clutter.

Knowing how much I love stockpiling ingredients, hoarding gadgets, and collecting cookbooks, Henry designed our kitchen to optimize storage and shelf space. And every few days, he does a clean sweep of the kitchen counters, putting everything back where it belongs.

“That’s the trick,” he tells me. “Designate a place for everything, and put it all back when you’re done.” I don’t often follow this advice, but when I do, I find that cooking gets a lot easier.

(Image credit: Michelle Tam)

What organizing trick or tool was a game-changer for you?

For years, I tried to cram all my dishware, cookware, tools, pantry ingredients, and cookbooks into my not-exactly-humongous kitchen. It worked—but only until I began accumulating more stuff.

To keep my messiness in check, I now rely on two simple tactics:

First, I follow a zero-sum rule: Whenever I buy a new kitchen tool or piece of cookware, I give away an old one. This doesn’t just keep my equipment drawers from overflowing; it also forces me to consider whether I’m willing to part with a beloved gadget before splurging on something new.

(Cookbooks are the one exception to this rule, as I find it almost impossible to part with any of ’em. I’m too disorganized to arrange them by author or subject; instead, I let my visually oriented husband shelve them roughly by color. For him, the easiest way to locate a book is by the color of its spine.)

(Image credit: Michelle Tam)

Secondly, I also started taking advantage of storage spaces in other parts of my home. Despite the space constraints of my kitchen, I was able to repurpose my garage cabinets and dining room sideboard to hold extra non-perishables and supplies. And recently, we installed banquette seating in the family room off of our kitchen, which gave me extra drawer space underneath to store less-frequently used dishes, platters, racks, and pans.

(Image credit: Michelle Tam)

How often do you clean or reorganize this area?

Never. Henry does it. I mean, I would help, but I certainly don’t want to deprive my husband of the deep sense of satisfaction he gets from de-cluttering. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

Visit Michelle’s blog → Nom Nom Paleo