With Older Children
As your children grow, you’ll remove the childproofing features and won’t keep their dishes in a separate location any longer. Instead, focus on avoiding overfull cupboards and pantries to remove friction when putting away groceries and clean dishes. The easier it is to use the kitchen, the more likely it is that tweens and teens will be helpful. Labeling where things go can also be beneficial.
As Empty Nesters
Empty nesters often transition into more minimalistic kitchen organization. Key items to pare down are pots and pans as well as mugs, glasses, water bottles, and storage containers. You may be thinking, “What happens when the kids come back to visit?” as you consider paring down. Recognize that you will probably operate differently now that the kids aren’t living with you. Will you tend to eat out/bring in food when they’re visiting? Will they visit for relatively short periods a few times a year or will they be ‘home’ more frequently? Answering these questions helps you figure out how to organize your kitchen. If your kids live across the country and will only be home once or twice a year but you intend to cook when they’re there, box the pots and pans you don’t use regularly, store them in an out-of-the-way place such as the garage, basement, or guest room, and bring them out when you need them. If you plan to cook relatively minimally when they return, you are free to give away your extra pots and pans.