This is a question that many of us have asked—and answered—these last few months. As we adjusted to a new stay-at-home work/school environment, we have experienced just how functional our home truly is. The kitchen has long been the hub of the home. But as this space continues to be asked to do more, we are seeing how the kitchen plays a vital role in the overall health of our home’s ecosystem. And the more organized it is (based on each family’s needs), the better it functions.
Here are a few of the big benefits of having an organized kitchen:
- Saves time—When you can see what food you have, you’ll spend less time searching for ingredients during meal prep because you know precisely which kitchen nook it’s in.
- Saves money—When your food and cooking gadgets are organized and visible, you are less apt to purchase something you don’t need.
- Better planning—Meal planning is much easier when you have a system in place for easily accessing recipes, ingredients and cooking utensils.
- Less frustration—Whether you enjoy cooking or see it as a necessary task, it becomes an easier and less stressful process when you are organized.
Kitchen Storage: Now and Later
You have probably noticed a few areas you’d like to improve in your current kitchen. Here are some ideas for maximizing the current space in your kitchen now and later.
Storing Small Kitchen Appliances
Small kitchen appliances are fun to use and add an element of convenience, but they can also take up a lot of space by cluttering up the most precious real estate in your kitchen—your countertops.
Think strategically about what you’ll keep on your countertop all the time, like the coffeemaker, and what can be moved to another area or be stored. You can keep small appliances that you use frequently (ex. toaster or Instant Pot) nearby. But the ones you don’t (ex. waffle maker or immersion blender) can be stored elsewhere.
There are lots of innovative ways to upgrade your kitchen cabinets to more efficiently store those small kitchen appliances. An appliance garage is a compartment that can store—and conceal—a few of your frequently used kitchen appliances. Pull-out drawers can easily hold and help you maneuver heavier and bulkier machines.
Kitchen Drawers and Cabinetry
The area of the kitchen where you have the most potential to organize and maximize functionality is with the kitchen drawers and cupboards.
Go through all of your cabinets and drawers with the intention of organizing and purging. You will find a lot of additional space simply by removing the items you rarely use. For instance, you may have a drawer full of plastic utensils but only a few that you use often. Keep those you use regularly within reach, and put the rest elsewhere.
The days of having to crawl on your hands and knees to reach into the back of the cabinets are over.
Today’s kitchen cabinet manufacturers have developed some fantastic options for maximizing storage space and keeping everything visible and easily accessible.
- Tip-out trays
- Sliding spice racks
- Lazy Susans
- Utensil bins … and more.
Blind corners can now be adapted for their optimum potential as the perfect spot to store bulky small appliances or serving dishes that you only use occasionally. Peg board pullouts can organize pots and pans, dishes and more. Kitchen islands can reach maximized storage potential with built-in waste containers, microwave drawers, pet feeding stations and additional storage built into the backside.
The most important organizational tip for a pantry of any size is that everything needs to have a place so you can see everything at a glance.
Clear containers are good for organizing dry foods and for protecting food, too. Group like-items together, such as breakfast foods, baking goods, canned goods, etc. If you have kids, make a kid-friendly spot with a few plastic bins for them to store their own snacks.
Just like with the kitchen drawers and cabinetry, there are many options to update your pantry space to make it more functional. If a walk-in isn’t possible, you can install a pantry cabinet. Incorporate pull-outs for easier access to those lower spots.
More Drop-Zone Storage
The kitchen is often the “drop zone” for everything—shoes, backpacks, sports equipment, cell phones, wallets, purses and keys. While the kitchen is usually the most convenient spot in the home, this extra stuff adds clutter and decreases the functionality of the space.
Now and Later
Look around your home to identify other places where a drop zone would make sense, such as adding cubbies to a laundry room or creating a charging table at an entrance. Later on, consider adding an improved entrance that integrates a drop zone/charging area as part of a larger project, such as a kitchen renovation.
The key to keeping your kitchen organized and less cluttered is to make the most frequently used items easy to access. For the rest, find another spot. If you’d like to discuss updating your kitchen for better functionality, contact us.