Choose locations strategically. An efficient kitchen won’t have you walking back and forth to unload the dishwasher or prepare a meal. Follow these tips.
- The upper cabinet closest to the dishwasher is prime real estate. Store your plates and bowls there, but make sure you can easily reach the cabinet when the dishwasher is open.
- A lower cabinet or large drawer closest to the stove is best for pots and pans. Categorize pans by skillets, sauce pans, stock pots and lids.
- An upper or lower cabinet close to the oven is perfect for cookie sheets, baking stones and muffin tins. Narrow cabinets work well for this.
- Keep kids plates, bowls and cups down low where they can reach them. Drawers or lower cabinets with baskets are good choices.
- Determine which area of the counter you use most for food preparation. An upper or lower cabinet near this area should be the place where you store things like mixing bowls, colanders and liquid measuring cups.
Let go of the excess. Paring down your kitchen will keep things simple. Here’s a list of things to let go of.
- Extra mugs. Most people have more mugs than they could possibly use. Eight to 12 mugs should be plenty.
- Pans you no longer use and pans where the non-stick coating is significantly scraping off. You don’t want that stuff in your food.
- Plastic cups of every size, shape and form. Choose plastic cups that stack inside one another. Let go of odd-shaped, cracked or complicated cups with multiple parts.
- Plastic containers. Choose two shapes and stick with them. Let go of other shaped containers, containers without lids and containers that are stained or ruined from the microwave or dishwasher.
- Duplicate gadgets. How many wooden spoons, can openers and potato peelers do you really need? Having multiples takes up precious space.
- Appliances in multiple sizes or with specific functions that are rarely used. The latest craze in appliances come and go. Remember when every one you knew owned a bread maker and a grilled sandwich maker? The more you have, the more you have to manage, clean and store.
Use products to help you access items quickly and easily. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Using vertical organizers to store baking sheets, pizza stones and cutting boards upright will keep you from having to dig for the one you need.
- Turntables allow you to access things in the back of the cabinet easily. I often use them for spices or vinegars and oils.
- Helper shelves give you an additional shelf for shelves that don’t adjust or when you need a double shelf on only half of the cabinet.
- Pull outs assist when cabinets are deep and hard to reach. They are particularly helpful for storing heavy or bulky items that are difficult to pull out from the back of a cabinet.