Keeping your kitchen organized and efficient

Guests gravitate towards it, family members congregate in it, cooks create in it. Despite changing lifestyles, the kitchen remains the heart of the home. Here's how to keep it working smoothly.

Keeping your kitchen organized and efficient

Basic kitchen organization

There's no avoiding some reaching and bending in a kitchen. To make it easier on yourself, however, try these tips:

  • Store items that you use every day no lower than knee level and no higher than 25 centimetres (10 inches) above your head.
  • Reserve the higher and lower shelves for things you don't need to use very often.
  • You should put lightweight items, such as the stemware that you save for parties, on the highest shelves. Then you won't have to hold heavy things over your head as you remove them from the cupboard.
  • Put awkward and hefty equipment, such as infrequently-used small appliances and large Dutch ovens, on the cupboard's lowest shelves.
  • Try to store cooking tools and utensils near the area where you normally use them.
  • Keep pots and pans, spatulas, wooden spoons and oven pads or mitts, for example, by the stovetop. In the same spirit, put knives, cutting boards, measuring cups and spoons, and mixing bowls near the food-preparation counter.
  • Not everything has to go into a drawer or a cupboard. You may find it even more convenient to take the tool that you need off a hook on pegboard, or a wire rack that's mounted on a wall; off a magnetic bar designed to hold steel utensils that's fastened on the side of a cupboard; or out of a handsome wide-mouthed pottery jar or pewter mug that sits on the counter.

Clutter control

Once a year, you should go through each drawer and shelf in the kitchen, checking for unnecessary duplicates and items that you don't use.

  • Check for gadgets and tools you have more than one of, or haven't used in over a year
  • Discard any canned goods and jars that have passed their expiration dates or are more than a year old.
  • Box up the non-food items you don't need and put them in a neighbourhood garage sale, or give them to a friend who's just setting up housekeeping.

The kitchen often does multiple duty as home office, family centre and hobby room. No matter what size it is, a kitchen seldom seems big enough. The challenge is to put the space you have to its best use. Smart organization of your kitchen equipment and supplies is the quickest way to make the room seem more spacious and efficient.

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