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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kitchen Organization


ecently I was helping a newlywed organize her kitchen; after all the showers and gifts received, she had a LOT to fit into the space! We started by discussing how she and her new husband used the kitchen space already...do they cook or generally eat out? And what meals? How often do they think they will be entertaining? We opened all of the cabinet doors to see what was already where...and she told me what seemed to be working and what wasn't.

In my opinion, it's a common misconception is that all of the "daily" dishes need to go together, or at least in the general area. Why would you put your coffee mugs in the same area as your dinner plates if your coffee maker is on the other side of the kitchen? This is especially so in larger, or galley style kitchens. In this case, I designed a "coffee station" for this couple and above the coffee / espresso maker we placed the coffee mugs & saucers, hot tea & hot cocoa preparations, coffee syrups, sweeteners, and even the "to go" mugs. What a convenience! She had this really cool milk frother from Williams Sonoma too (I love finding new gadgets!) so we included it in the area as well.

Here are a few more things we successfully managed when organizing her kitchen:
We put the drinking glasses in the cabinet closest to the refrigerator and the salad and dinner plates, bowls and pasta dishes on the other side closer to the stove & preparation area.
Pots & pans in all of the cabinets below and surrounding the stove & oven.
Spices, oils and cooking sprays went near the stove and preparation area.
Cooking utensils on the cabinet near the stove in a utensil holder, and the specialty utensils in a drawer also near the stove.
We created two baking cabinets - one for the bake ware, measuring cups and the other for the ingredients used (i.e. cupcake liners, sprinkles, marshmallow creme, chocolate chips, etc.).
Items such as bread makers, Crock Pots and the counter top mixers, if not utilized regularly, should go in lower cabinets.
Tupperware products...whew...those can take over a cabinet! Here is the trick:
Match all lids to "bottoms".
Stack all of the same shape bottoms with the smallest fitting into the largest.
Take one of the largest sized bottoms and put the all of the same shape lids into it.
Store the bottoms in front of the lids and you'll always have space.
Place the "to go" versions in the very back of the cabinet and do not use except to send leftovers home with guests.
In all instances where possible, I suggest installing a slide out shelf like this:

These points just make logistical sense...cooking can be complicated enough without having to lunge across the kitchen to serve whatever it is you're making. Save the lunges for the gym AFTER the delicious meals you'll prepare in your well organized kitchen!

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