All too often, we spend just as much time looking for the materials to prepare the meal as we do cooking it. Organizing your kitchen - which, often, is packed with too much food and cookware - can be quite the challenge. To clear your space and your mind, just follow these pointers on storage and kitchen layout. We'll help you find a place for everything so you'll have easy access when you need it the most.
Your first step is to get everything out of the cabinets. Next you'll sort it all into groups according to where it is used.
While sorting, ask yourself if there are things you haven't used in the last few years. If there are, then move these items out of your way. You don't have to throw them away; instead, store them in a less-used area.
The key to cabinet storage is to avoid stacking and to make everything accessible. There are several specialty organizers available for cabinets including lazy susans, step and pull out shelving and baskets.
KEEP IN MIND while you're organizing that there are three basic work areas in the kitchen:
To make preparation more convenient, determine where you want the prep area to be. Place any basic ingredients, mixing equipment, or bowls and measuring cups here.
Put pots, pans and cooking utensils near the range so they'll be handy when you're cooking. Store silverware and tableware here so you don't have to run all over the place when putting away dishes. Also, keep your dishes for leftovers here.
It's best to clean as you go, especially near the sink area to avoid dish pile up. Once the cooking is complete, store soaps, sponges and dish towels underneath the sink for a spotless and clutter-free area.
The kitchen triangle connects the three work areas in your kitchen. The distance between the areas should be no less than 4 feet and no larger than 9 feet. Don't let the sides of the triangle total more than 26 feet.
Try not to let any traffic patterns violate the triangle. If two people are going to be working in the kitchen at the same time, allow more than the usual 4 feet between opposite work centres.