My husband’s first career was in the Navy, so we moved around A LOT! The kitchen was my domain, so I was the one tasked to get it organized and put away with each and every relocation. Some kitchens were better than others, but I always managed to make them work well for me with a few things I’ve learned along the way, to make my kitchen work HARD for me.
point of use storage
Store items you use for specific tasks as close to the area they are used as possible. And group those frequently used items and tools together. For example, if you make lunches to send to work or school each day, keep containers, bags, napkins, a cutting board and knife, all the necessary tools together in one drawer. It may not make sense to someone else, but it will streamline assembling those lunches.
For things you use everyday:
- Store flatware in a drawer nearest the table, or nearest the dishwasher.
- Dinner plates, near the dishwasher, or if you like to plate food before serving it, nearest the plating area, which may be near the cooktop.
- I like to keep cereal bowls near the cereal.
- Since I use a lot of silicone spatulas to cook, I keep them near the cooktop, along with tongs and of course, pot holders.
- Store glassware nearest the area where you store beverages.
- I keep my spices next to the cooktop (not above it, where they get too hot). I have a lazy Susan on which I keep salts, peppers, oils, and a utensil jar for those items I use routinely at the cooktop.
- For baking: organize the bowls, measures, mixer, whisks in one area.
- Keep the things you use to store leftovers — wrap, zip bags, plastic containers — near the fridge.
Things I use everyday belong on easy to reach shelves, those items I use one once a week or less, they get less valuable real estate in my kitchen. Things I use rarely, once a month or less, they go to the top shelf or into the garage.
Pots & pans can be an issue. I absolutely LOVE a pot rack, so that you can see and get to one pot at a time. Large baking sheets, platters, shallow pans — I store them in those spaces above the oven or the fridge, or over the cooktop, in a rack, on their sides, so that they are not stacked on each other.
Keep an area for a shopping list, with a pen, to jot down items you discover you need when preparing food. I use a small whiteboard, inside an upper cabinet door. Speaking of which, upper cabinet doors are great places to store information that you use in the kitchen on a regular basis. In my cabinets I have a list of weights and measures for dry pantry items, because I like to weigh stuff like flour; a roasting temperature chart, my favorite pear martini recipe, pie dough recipe, brine recipe, and a small note of the weight of my Kitchenaid mixer bowl — a bit of info I use a few times a year. I used to have a list of phone numbers and a calendar, but those are in my smart phone now.
I love drawers in the lower cabinets, but most of mine are not pullouts, so I equipped my own, with shallow plastic boxes from a storage store. The ones made for under-the-bed storage are perfect. And the ready-made drawer dividers don’t always fit your stuff. I have found sturdy shallow gift boxes work at least as well.
make your kitchen work for you
So, have I inspired you to rearrange your kitchen? Before you do that, think about how you use your space, and where you perform specific tasks. Get a pad of post-it notes. Go around the current kitchen, write on the notes what is in each cabinet or drawer, and stick them in one space on the countertop. Make some notes about where you do what you do. Post the where-you-do notes first in the area used. Then, just move the post-it notes for kitchen items, tools, pantry items, dishes on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Leave them there for a day or two before you decide to move everything in your kitchen. I use this system when moving into a new space, or reorganizing an old one. It minimizes the need to move things again. Enjoy your hard-working kitchen!