Keep kitchen chaos at bay

Keep kitchen chaos at bay

8 clever ideas to create a clean and calm workspace in the kitchen

Running around the kitchen searching for misplaced items wastes time and creates stress we could all simply do without. This can be especially troublesome when a pot is reaching the boiling point. You need your tools, equipment and dishes in their rightful spots so you can focus on preparing a delicious meal.

Try these easy fixes to organize your kitchen and keep the cook relaxed:

1. Location. Location. Location

Where you put things will make all the difference. Divide your kitchen into "stations”, just like at a restaurant, with the proper support pieces nearby. Consider the areas where you:

Chop and mix
Carve and plate
Pour drinks
Stack dirty dishes
If you place the right utensils in easy reach of related stations, you'll stay on task and save time.

2. Easy fixes for drawers

Determine the appropriate drawers to store items from napkins to tools so you aren’t moving across the room for things you need closer to the sink or oven. Separate cooking items from beverage gadgets so you’re not hunting around for the wine corkscrew.

-          Fit trays of various sizes in each drawer to hold gadgets (such as measuring spoons). They'll be easier to spot.

-          Keep flatware in the drawer closest to the dining area for easy access.

-          Remove tools, utensils and clutter that you don't use —toss them out or recycle.

3. Open space in your cabinets

These practical plans make cooking and cleaning simpler:

-          Set everyday plates and bowls on bottom shelves nearest the counter for easy reach.

-          Move seldom-used items to the highest shelves or display elsewhere.

-          Stash heavy pieces such as mixers and appliances below the counter; it's safer to lift them up than to pull them down.

4. Create categories in your pantry

Divide your packaged goods into categories like the market, logically grouping similar items together. That way, you’ll always know where to find them. Stash them in a cupboard near the station where you’ll use them most (olive oil near the stovetop):

-          breakfast cereals, breads

-          canned soups, fish, fruit, vegetables

-          baking supplies: flour, sugar, spices

-          condiments

-          grains, rice, pasta

-          coffee, teas, cocoa

5. Think vertical

Choose decorative hooks and hangers to display attractive pieces and place on walls, overhead and over-the-door spaces:


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-          Pot and utensil racks

-          Aprons, bags, baskets, key hooks

-          Grids for spatulas, tongs, stirring spoons

6. On countertops

Keep counters clear and clean for preparing food. If you don’t have much counter space, use a cutting board that hangs over the sink or a rolling cabinet with a cutting surface. Utilize corners and nooks for items you need often:

-          Small appliances

-          Knife rack

Use neglected spaces for decorative pieces, such as:

-          Framed photos or children's artwork

-          Pretty storage jars

7. Use “good china” everyday

Why keep your nice dishes hidden from view and saved for another day? Your meals deserve the best presentation. Other ideas:

-          Display plates and bowls on shelves and counters.

-          Keep fruit and vegetables on platters.

-          Fill ice buckets and teapots with flowers.

-          Use old sugar bowls and pretty pitchers to hold utensils, wooden spoons, pencils and pens.

8. Storage boxes

Food containers, from flour to rice, should be located adjacent to the station where you prepare and put away food.

-          Toss lids and boxes that don't match or fit into the recycling bin.

-          Store containers you use most at the front of the drawer or shelf.

-          Collect lids in a vertical lid rack.

Now that everything is in its designated and appropriate place (and you're not hunting for the zester, cherry pitter or melon-ball scoop) you'll have more time to enjoy a pleasant meal with family and friends.

Just remember to put things back where they belong!

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