The Clutter Cleanse (Part Four)
The kitchen and food preparation used to be hidden in the back and food was transported to the dining area. Today the kitchen can be a focal point of the house, open to the living room, sun room, dining room and even play area. The kitchen is a source of nourishment, we gather there, we cook, and we eat there. Regardless of whether your style is ultra modern or an old country kitchen, they still have the same needs for uncluttered, clean space with adequate lighting and ease of movement.
In the kitchen especially, the food, storage methods, and tools all contribute to your health and the health of your home. I will address health practices in the kitchen in a later blog, and today I will discuss organization as it relates to healthy living. If you are wealthy, you have staff who can keep your kitchen organized. Many of us need fundamental and automatic organization because we do our cooking and serving. An organized kitchen can save plenty of time as well.
Furniture that functions well is essential to an organized kitchen. Cabinets, dressers, and armoires can add surface and storage space to a kitchen. Walk-in pantries are wonderful; we don’t always have space. This is when those furniture pieces can come in handy. The top shelves can hold special ingredients along with measuring cups and baking staples. The bottom can be used for towels and dishcloths, placemats and food wraps.
Tables work for food preparation, casual dining area, and storage or display. If the table has shelves, all the better. Taller 42″ tables can be used for a quick breakfast. Counter stools are handy for the quick meals and also to sit while you chop vegetables and fruits. Step stools, especially cute and original ones; like a library ladder or a vintage look are always nice in a kitchen. Folding chairs can be stored in a nearby closet, pantry or hallway by hanging them on the wall and offer additional emergency seating.
To declutter your kitchen follow these steps:
- Clear your counters.
- Leave the coffee pot, toaster, canisters and salt and pepper shakers.
- Evaluate everything and if you do not use it daily (like the waffle iron), put it away.
- Mount your television set if you watch it. Put it in a different room if you do not.
- Find a cubby hole for mail/school papers and establish a weekly ritual to sort and disburse.
- Make sure you wash your dishes immediately after eating, run your dishwasher nightly. Empty your dishwasher first thing in the morning before dirty dishes can stack up.
- Designate containers. Cooking utensils, fruits, and vegetables all can be placed in baskets and stored on the shelves of an island or bakers rack that is open and can easily be seen.
- Clean as you go while cooking.
- Place several garbage bags at the bottom of the can so you don’t have to search when you empty the trash.
- Rotate your dishes, so you don’t use the same ones over and over.
- Write the purchase date on your herbs and spices.
- Hanging cookware on the wall can be attractive and save time.
- If you have the room, have twin trash cans for easy recycling.
- Add a bookcase to the kitchen for your favorite cookbooks.
- Place a magazine rack near the kitchen table for breakfast reading and establish a ritualized time to empty it out.
- Fruit stands and cake stands are handy for storing fruit decoratively.
- Hang some of your collections on the wall. Cookie cutters, platters, and cups all double as a display.
- Don’t just throw things on top of your refrigerator, it is okay to put things there, but plan it, so it looks nice, like baskets, flowers, boxes, something that looks nice besides a hodge-podge of whatever you need to get off the table tops.
- Convert a kitchen closet into a pantry. If the kitchen is small, put a glazed glass door on to open up space. Other options for the door is a screen or to paint a door with chalkboard paint and leave notes or allow children to create art for you there.
- Your pantry should have good lighting. Under cabinet lighting works nicely in a pantry.
- Use the pantry floor for storage space too. Basket, paper towels, jars and water bottles can utilize this space that is often ignored.
There are so many clever ways to add organization and storage to a kitchen. You’re almost always rewarded with time saved and frustration avoided when you know where to find something, and everything’s in its place!
Get rid of:
- any foods that are out of date
- plastic containers (convert to glass or stainless; Homegoods can be an economical option for switching out plastic for glass)
- papers you don’t need daily or file them away
- any of those fancy tools or appliance you haven’t used in the last two years
- dishes you don’t use
- glasses and cups that have been sitting forever
- pots and pans you don’t use all the time
- bowls and serving trays you don’t use
Turn it into a game.
What did you get rid of that’s been the longest without being touched?