Its where we spend a considerable amount of time each and every day, both eating and socialising – so its imperative that this room works the best it possibly can for you and your family.
Theres nothing worse than having to make do with a badly organised kitchen – as it can sap so much of your time and energy, both of which could be spent doing much more interesting things!
So – here are my tips to make your kitchen work the best for your needs – hope they help!
Unless we are redesigning a new kitchen, most of us have to work with what we have. Its about making the most of the space, whatever layout you have.
Add an eating area
Try and add an eating area somewhere in your space, whether its bar stools along some of the work surface area, an island unit, or a dining table in the middle of the room – this will make the room more sociable and easier to help with homework/chat to your partner etc…. when cooking.
An island or a table can also help add in work surface space and storage space underneath – always handy when baking or when you have parties etc…. – If you want flexibility then try a butchers trolley that can be moved around the room as and when you need it.
Look at storage
Take a look at the storage you have – if you need more, can you add in some quick additions?
Shelving, a plate rack, a dresser etc… all work well and don’t involve buying a new kitchen!
Look at what you actually are storing in the room – can you declutter some of the items, or move to another room? A dining room may be a more suitable place for your “better” cutlery and plates etc…. that you don’t use everyday.
Also – take a look at where you have stored items – are they in the most accessible places?
I work around my dishwasher, so all plates, cutlery, cups, glasses and pots live in the cupboards directly next to it – makes life so much easier when it comes to unloading every day – and saves precious minutes! (If you don’t have a dishwasher, then your sink would be best to work around as thats where your dishes will dry)
- Store all the items you use every day in the most handy places – usually this is at waist or eye level – and then store the less used items in the higher or lower harder to reach places.
What else could your kitchen store to make it function better for you?
Would it make sense to store your childrens school stuff in the kitchen?
Then you can walk in from school, hang up all bags, look at their homework/books etc… while you sort tea etc…. – then when you have washed up the lunch box/water bottle etc… they are easy to put back in the bags ready for the following day.
This can also be the place where your reward charts/schedules etc…. live – so that the childrens things are all in one easy to reach place
Also – If you tend to spend all your time in the kitchen then why not make your paperwork area an area in this space? Then you can open the post while sitting having a coffee, and distribute paperwork into the right areas straight away – saving lots of walking around! Just don’t let your kitchen table become a paperwork mountain as thats no good to anyone!
Make your kitchen work for you
Get the kids involved
If you have young children its often very difficult to have them in the kitchen while you cook, as it can be a dangerous place to be. But most people want their kids close by or even helping where they can.
I love this kitchen helper as it allows the child to get up to worksurface level so they can get involved and see whats going on – but they are also safe and can be pulled away from the worksurface when required.
Add some entertainment
A radio or CD player is a great addition to add company and for background music while you do your stuff!
Make life easier for yourself
If you can’t reach some of the higher corners of the room, why not invest in a small step ladder to make life much easier
Make your food storage work for you
Get your food storage cupboards organised – if you can, have a shelf for different items, and keep like items together.
I have a larder cupboard and arrange it as follows:- Treats on top shelf out of the way of little hands!, canned goods and sauces under that at eye level and in lines so that I can see when we are running low as this is the most quickly used up area, dried goods such as pasta and rice under that, cereals and breakfast items under that, and a larger space at the bottom for bottle of juice etc…..
This works well as its easy to see what we have, and my daughter can help herself to breakfast cereals and drinks when necessary (shes only 4 so its a good habit to get her into!).
I have my spices in a cupboard by the oven so that I can reach for them while cooking – saving me having a rack for them too.
I also love baking so have a separate cupboard for baking items above the oven, and lastly I keep all my tea/coffee/sugar in the same cupboard as my cups – above the kettle – so again its about thinking about where in the kitchen you are going to use the items, and storing them as closeby as you can.
Lastly – for foods like pasta, rice, flour etc… consider transferring to labelled glass jars, as this will help to keep them fresher, and can take up much less room (add best before dates to the label as well for ease
Getting Organised in the kitchen
Get into some good habits in this room and you’ll save time everyday:-
- Wipe down all surfaces daily
- Take the bin out at the end of the day
- Always leave the room tidy and everything packed away each evening
- Turn the dishwasher on overnight so you have everything clean in the morning (and its easy to get into the habit of unloading it while the kettle is boiling first thing!)
- Put things away as soon as you use them – you’ll then always be able to find them
- Have a place for everything – and stick with it!
- Have a clear out of food cupboards regularly and check best before dates
- When you bring new products home from shopping try and place them BEHIND the older stuff, that way you shouldn’t find that you waste things.
- When you are running low on items, add them to your shopping list straight away – so you can just pick it up and go safe in the knowledge that you have everything on it. I use the shopping list from my home file – and print a copy out each week/month – then tape it to the inside of my larder door – with a pen by the side – that makes it so much easier to do because its convenient.
- Regularly sort and clean your fridge – keep like with like and store newe items behind those that will go out of date more quickly. If you have shelves for certain products then you will easily be able to see what you need to buy soon.
Don’t clutter up your workspace
Only have out on the surfaces what you genuinely use everyday – kettle/toaster etc…. – then you will leave yourself plenty of space for working on, and it makes it SO much quicker to wipe down the surfaces.
Everyone deserves a treat!
Its definitely worth having your oven professionally cleaned once a year if you can afford it – it makes it more efficient and it comes out gleaming! Meaning you’ll probably want to cook more! and the oven isn’t a nice thing to clean now, is it!
Your freezer is your friend
Make use of your freezer – its often easier to manage your food such as meats when you freeze them as they don’t go out of date as quickly as in the fridge, and you can defrost when you need them.
People often underestimate the freezer, but getting into the habit of having this as your store cupboard as well will transform how well your kitchen works for you
For example – I even have lime chunks frozen which make a great addition to a gin and tonic, and saves me buying a whole lime and only using a little each time I want one!, you can also freeze wine left in a bottle to add to stews etc…, mashed potato works well as you can make a big batch and freeze in smaller portions, and freezing some bread always helps when you run out of fresh in the morning! – the list really is endless!
Double up on your cooking
When you cook – think about cooking double and freezing half – so that you have a great home cooked meal with very little effort on a day when you don’t want to cook.
This will save money on takeaways and is far healthier.
Whatever your kitchen layout is, you can make it work better for you by storing items close by where you need to use them, and putting the most frequently used items in the easiest to reach places.
Storing food in a logical way will help with making the most of it and not wasting as much, and will also make your food shopping much easier to do.
Lastly – make it a place not just for cooking – if you spend time in here most days, then think of other things that would work better if you kept them in here.
Make your space work for you, and you’ll find it a happier and stress free place to be!