Four Tips to Organize Your Kitchen
I’ve often considered that the kitchen is the busiest room in our homes. Every single family member has their hands in something in the kitchen. It’s often where the mail lands, the school forms pile up, groceries sit for too long on the counter and maybe even where homework is done.
A well-functioning kitchen is essential to my maintaining any level of sanity. It may well play a role in keeping you focused during the more hectic times of the day, and you may not even realize it. Try these tips to keep calm while things move smoothly through the Grand Central Terminal of your home:
Don’t get carried away when there’s a good sale. Just because you can purchase a dozen jars of applesauce doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to do so. Commit to yourself that you will only purchase items that will fit in your pantry or on that shelf in your cold room where your excess stock lives. If the kitchen counter or floor becomes the place to store your purchases, you’ve over shopped. It’s very seldom that the amount of money you may save is worth the frustration you will experience when navigating crowded counter tops or tripping over boxes of granola bars. Ideally, we want everything to fit on a shelf or behind a closed door.
Go vertical. Kitchen cupboards can be such a funny thing. The shelf height has to be adjusted to accommodate tall bottles, like those of olive oil or vinegar. Yet beside those tall bottles, 10” of vertical space stands empty. Use shelf risers to capitalize on that available space, and separate different types of dishware. Thea added bonus is that it will be easier to access the items that sit under the riser/shelf, because you won’t have to remove a stack of other dishes; they’ll be on their own shelf.
The inside of pantry or cupboard doors is also a great place to store take out menus and schedules. Just stick the paper(s) in a page protector and hang the page protector from a small hook.
Think blue. Keep a dedicated recycle bin, or as we often refer to it, a blue bin, in the kitchen. If you don’t have the floor space to house the matching garbage/recycling combo, consider putting a wide, shallow bin, or narrow upright bin, under the kitchen sink. Having a dedicated recycle bin close at hand means that bottles and boxes don’t pile up on the counter or floor waiting to be carted out. You can’t imagine what a difference it will make to have your prep space clear and not be staring at a pile of rubbish every time you look up. And a recycle bin is likely the most bang for your buck that you’ll get in the kitchen. You can pick up a small bin (intended to be emptied daily) at your local dollar store. If you prefer a larger bin, check IKEA or Walmart.
Be ruthless with recipes. A lot of the people I work with have a lot of recipes. In books. In binders. In magazines. On loose pieces of paper. Most of these recipe owners tell me they don’t cook often. I have embraced the recipe app Pepperplate. If the e-way is not your way, consider storing loose recipe in a magazine holder. Or if you have 25 cookbooks, but admit that you only cook 2 – 3 dishes out of each, consider taking a colour copy of your favourite recipes, slipping each copy into a page protector, then moving it into a binder. That way, your recipe collection will only take up the space of 1 or 2 binders, instead of one third of your counter space.
A clear space represents a clear mind. With everything that needs to be juggled in the kitchen, clear is surely the way to go. So, the next time you walk into the kitchen and get a sinking feeling, ask yourself if one of these solutions is the answer for you.