The Kitchen…so much more

The kitchen is more than a place to cook; it can be the “heart of the home”. It is a place where we gather with friends and family and build relationships. Most of the conversations in the home as well as many of life’s decisions happen around the kitchen table. So ask yourself, is your kitchen encouraging nourishment and relationships or is disorganization and clutter interfering with these activities?

Below are a few tips (K.I.T.C.H.E.N.) to help you restore your kitchen to a place where the heartbeat of your home can be supported.

Keep only regularly used items out on the counters. Your counter space is prime real estate, so be choosy about what you allow to occupy it. Make the most of the space by removing everything, from small appliances to spices, which are not being used on a daily basis. Store items near or far based on their frequency of use. Items that are used weekly can be taken off the counters but kept in cabinets close by while items that are used seldom or just for holidays can be stored in closets or other rooms even further away from the work area.

Increase your storage space by removing non-essentials. When was the last time you really looked in every cabinet and drawer in your kitchen? Open them wide, pull out your things and evaluate what you have. Think about the last time you used each item. Do you still need it? Perhaps you have another item that can serve the same purpose. Some things may have been replaced by a newer item or are no longer needed because your life has changed. Ask yourself if keeping the item is worth the valuable kitchen space it will consume.

Tailor your drawers, cabinets and pantry. Shelf height and drawer sizes are often predetermined by home builders and don’t necessarily fit your needs. Look in your cabinets to see if there is wasted space above the glasses, dishes or pots. Adjust the placement of the shelves or add additional shelves to fit your things. You can add stacking racks if your cabinets or pantry is not designed to accommodate additional shelving. Personalize your drawers by adding dividers and small containers to group like items together.

Categorize your kitchen supplies. Think about what you do in the kitchen and what supplies or equipment you need close to accomplish those tasks. Divvy up your items according to the task they are used for. Put all your spatulas, whisks and wooden spoons near your stove, and your baking pans, mixing bowls and rolling pin near the area where you enjoy baking. Working through the contents of your kitchen in this way will make it operate more efficiently.

Halt the paper piles. If given the chance, paper will take over any kitchen. Don’t let it! If papers are going to be in the kitchen, be sure to designate a specific area for them. This area might include a basket where the papers can be kept or a set of files where they can be presorted and reviewed later.

Edit your recipe collection. Many people are finding that storing and locating recipes on the computer is faster and more convenient. Sort through your recipes, delete those that you will not make again and then either scan your current ones into the computer or find a similar one online to store in your collection. There are many great online recipe services and apps available to help you organize and retrieve your favorite dishes.

Nail down a maintenance routine. Now that you have organized your kitchen it should be easy to take 5 minutes at the end of each day to look around and return items to their designated spot. Once a month, give a quick glance through your cabinets and drawers to check for items that are not where they belong and to see if there are others that can be donated or discarded.

Whether you are cooking up food or discussing the day’s activities, an organized kitchen will be a supportive part of it all.

© 2022 Beth Giles

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