This time, things are going to change. Say goodbye to the piles of schedules and neighborhood newsletters, the lineup of bulky appliances on the counter, and the third jar of peanut butter you bought because you couldn’t find the first two. This time kitchen reorganization will be different — because you are going to start with some planning. Here are four steps that will put you ahead of the kitchen reorganization game.

Establish ownership

If your family members have wildly different ideas about what belongs in kitchen, and where in the kitchen it belongs, someone needs to set some rules. Hint: It should probably be the person or people responsible for cooking and cleanup.

It’s the owner’s job to create an overall structure for organization. It should include an area for food preparation, an area for eating and areas for storing supplies and equipment. Of course, that person is free to designate areas — such as an eating area or a “family command center” — that can be owned and organized by another family member.

Set priorities

Do you dream of a minimalist kitchen with hardly anything but a few plants on the counter? Or are you interested in a “chef’s kitchen” with pans, knife block, Instant Pot, cutting board and oils and condiments at your fingertips? Or is your dream kitchen a place where the whole family can gather and work, with a homework station on the table for the kids, calendars on a wall and a charging station for gadgets?

“Priorities will determine everything you do,” says Alan Regala, owner of ShelfGenie of Seattle. This, he notes, is when you can really benefit from bringing in a third-party designer or organizer like ShelfGenie. “Before you decide what solutions you want, tell us how what you want to be able to do in your dream kitchen. We’ve designed thousands of kitchen solutions, and can certainly suggest some organizational possibilities that might not have occurred to you. It’s my job to show people what they didn’t know was possible!”

So, make a list of what you want to be able to do in your kitchen. Room to decorate cookies and cakes? Easy access to a frequently used air fryer? A place to keep the kids’ snacks where they can reach them without standing on a chair?

“If you know what’s a first priority, and what is less important, you can almost always get it to happen,” Regala says. “Good reorganizing is about taking a generic kitchen you might have inherited from a previous owner and transforming it to suit the way you live.”

List your “pain points”

This might overlap with the list of priorities, but often setting down your kitchen organization frustrations will cause a light to go on for your or your kitchen design consultant. The most common “pain point,” Regala says, is cabinet space.

“People tell me that they just don’t have enough room in their cabinets,” he says. “But really, they do! This is a problem I often solve with pullout drawers and designs that give them exactly the right number of pullout drawers for each cabinet. Cabinets get filled with items people don’t use. The key is to increase accessibility so the cabinet can be filled with all useful items. ”

Another problem people often report is cumbersome stacks of lids or pots and pans, especially in floor-level cabinets.

“Some people have as many as five pans in a stack, making it very difficult to get to any pan but the top one,” Regala says. “It’s another problem that can often be solved with more, and shallower, pullouts. We want to maximize both storage space and accessibility.”

Clear the clutter

One of the quickest ways to succeed at kitchen organization is to have less stuff to organize. If you already know that your kids’ soccer bags, currently under the kitchen table, need to be in the mudroom, move them there. That big rolling cart filled with stuff you use at Thanksgiving? Try storing that in the garage. And if your cabinets are filled with weird jams and salad dressings someone you can’t remember gave you for Christmas — two years ago — it might be time to pour them down the drain and pack the glass bottles off to recycling. And what are you doing with six spatulas?

“Look at what’s in your drawers and on your counters and ask yourself, ‘what do I really use?’ ” Regala advises. If you can’t bear to get rid of things you aren’t using, he suggests storing them in a labeled box in the garage or basement. “If it’s been a year and didn’t miss them, you can probably let them go.”

ShelfGenie of Seattle offers custom shelving solutions for kitchens, baths, and pantries, including expert design and installation. Learn how Alan Regala and his team can help add more space, more organization and more accessibility to your existing cabinets. 206-458-6804