The kitchen once had a single purpose – a place to prepare food. Now, they are the hub of every home, due to the hive of activity that now takes place there. The island bench is often the centre of activity – it is not only used for preparing meals and entertaining, but also where kids do their homework, paperwork is sorted and organised and family schedules and planners are displayed. Due to the business of this space, it is really important that it functions well, in a way that makes sense to those who use it. It is also a space that needs reviewing regularly as our situations and lifestyles change. When reviewing your kitchen (I recommend yearly) it’s important to keep what’s working and to change what is not working. Working around your natural flow will help with the decision making process.
Too many items
Many of us have the need for abundance – a well stocked pantry gives us a feeling of security and wellbeing. This certainly is the case for me! However, they are often overstuffed to the brim and disorganised. Give your pantry a big declutter, go through every category and check the expiry dates – you might be surprised as to just how out of date they are…… Reorganise your pantry by putting like with like items together and contain as much as possible. Put the items you use regularly in the easy to get to space, excess items can go on the top shelf and heavy/less used items on the bottom shelf.
Badly designed/not enough storage
If this is the case, you will have to get creative! Use the backs of doors wherever possible to create extra storage, use drawer dividers and check out Storage Box – they have an awesome range of storage specifically designed for tricky spaces.
Not enough drawers
I love the fact that you can open a drawer and see easily what is inside. Create your own ‘drawers’ using wooden crates or plastic containers and label them accordingly (this is a pantry where I used wooden crates.) They have the same affect as a drawer and function really well.
Not checking food items before going to the supermarket
Invest in a whiteboard and put it on your fridge or the back of your pantry door. Each time you are low or run out of an item, list it on the board. Before you go to the supermarket, either take a photo of the list or write it down. This stops you from buying multiples of items and keeps your levels in balance.
Lack of menu planning
By menu planning for the week, you will only purchase the items that you need and this stops multiples of items building up too. It has many benefits – saves you money and time rather than running out at the last minute to grab items, allows your week to run smoother as everyone knows exactly “What’s for dinner?” each night and means that you only buy what you need, which stops items from being wasted and thrown out.
Does not function well
Often, items in the kitchen have been stored in cupboards and drawers without much thought. It is important that you work around your natural flow, in order for it to function well. What makes sense to me might not make sense to you, so observe and tune in to yourself when organising your kitchen. I have made a list of ‘zones’ below as a general guideline……
Here are the basic zones of a standard kitchen – items are generally stored at their point of use.
Food preparation zone: Put items in reach of the longest bench in your kitchen, using nearby cupboards to store bowls, chopping boards, knives and utensils where possible.
Cooking zone: Store pots and pans and utensils near the stovetop for easy access.
Dishwashing zone: Storing these items under the sink makes good sense!
Utility zone: Rubbish bins and recycling can either be stored either under the sink, free standing or on wheels.
Pantry zone: For food storage, shopping lists, menu plans.
Information zone: For family calendars, paper management, to do lists and upcoming events. Tucked away at the end of your kitchen bench is a good place for this, as long as it is visible for everyone to see.
To conclude, here are some tips for you to think about.
Declutter your pantry on a regular basis.
Review your kitchen yearly.
DON’T buy storage until you have decluttered!!
Create pull outs (drawers) where possible (including your fridge.)
Use the backs of doors for items such as: under the sink cleaning items, pot lids, spices, tins, shopping lists etc.
Use the corner cupboard for platters or items you don’t use often.
Tupperwares – DECLUTTER!! Put in drawers if possible and separate bottoms from tops.
Decant or not to decant? Only decant your items if you know you will keep this up each time you shop. Otherwise pop your items into your pullouts/drawers.
Contain your items where possible, using crates, baskets or plastic containers.
Work around your natural flow in order to create a kitchen that functions well.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on what tips here worked the best for you 🙂