Organize the kitchen
"The kitchen is the heart of the home," says Hellen Buttigieg, certified professional organizer, life coach and TV host.
"Organization in this key area will make or break your household routine."
It's one of the most used rooms in the house: families eat, entertain, relax and do homework in the kitchen.
"We go there when we are tired, hungry and stressed so there is a big payoff in getting it organized," says Buttigieg. "A well-organized kitchen is welcoming, and also saves time, energy and money."
Here are Buttigieg's tips to help create a "nurturing yet functional kitchen."
Set up an efficient workspace:
- Set up your kitchen work area to avoid unnecessary steps and extra trips. In an efficient work area, the sink, stove and fridge should create a triangle. Ideally, they should be no more than a step or pivot apart. It can be hazardous if it requires too many steps to carry a pot of boiling water from stove to sink.
- Treat your counter as prime real estate: keep only the appliances you use every day here. Not enough counter space? Improvise by getting a board wide enough to fit over the sink or fasten a hinged board to the wall and lower it when needed.
Buttigieg is a certified professional organizer, life coach, TV host, author and founder of We Organize U.
Products to help maximize kitchen space:
Drawer dividers: Choose ones with slots that aren't molded to specific shapes, such as spoons. You won't limit your options or waste space.
Three-tiered wire shelf racks: Create two or three shelves from one.
Revolving shelves: Use for spices and cans.
Double-tiered lazy Susan: Give access to a seldom-used corner space.
Dish organizers: Store plates upright to save space.
A narrow box: Keep pouches of soups and pasta organized and stored upright for easy access.
Paper & plastic wrap organizer: Save space by installing on cabinet doors.
Jugs or vases: Use for small utensils like spatulas and serving spoons if drawer or cupboard storage's tight.
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Find storage space for kitchen supplies:
- Store items for easy access so you can see what you have - and get what you need quickly and easily. Rearrange all items in cabinets to correspond with frequency of use. Often-used items should be easy to reach. Items used less often can be stored higher. Post a list of contents on the inside of cabinet doors to remind you what's in those hard-to-reach storage areas.
- Stow items near their point of use: toaster near the plate cupboard; coffee maker near the sink; coffee, measuring spoon and filters close to the coffee maker.
- Nest frying pans to save space, placing the largest on the bottom.
- Keep pot lids in plastic baskets on the inside of cabinet doors.
- Store cutlery, plates and glasses that you use every day near the kitchen table to save steps when it's time to dine.
- Stand baking sheets and pans on their sides on wire divider racks, largest to smallest.
- Stack plates and bowls but don't mix sizes and types. Put tallest items at the back of the shelf and shortest in the front.
- Hang cutting boards for easy access and save space.
- Use permanent marker to code plastic containers to match their lids. Try letters of the alphabet.
- Install a rack for wine glasses on the underside of a shelf.
- Store kids' cups and plates at kid-friendly height to encourage independence.
- Avoid extra trips by putting the tablecloths in a dining room hutch rather than a second-floor linen closet.
Organize your food items:
- Group similar food categories so it's easy to see what you have available and prevent overstocking. Materials used together should be stored together to save time (i.e. pasta with sauce).
- Avoid storing canned foods next to or over the stove to prevent deterioration in quality. Opt for a cool, dry cupboard.
- Keep spices on a tiered platform so the ones at the back don't disappear from view. Buy only the quantity you can use within six months to a year. Spices lose their flavour over time.
- Pour sugar, flour, cereal and pasta into clear plastic containers to keep bugs away. Round containers waste storage space. Choose square, stackable pans and containers.
More: Organize the house