Whether you are a novice cook or not, making the kitchen an efficient space is the key to minimizing exhaustion and making it a place of joy and creativity. The good news is you can do it without the hassle and inconvenience of a remodeling job! Here are four steps towards achieving the well-organized cooking space you need and deserve.
1. Get rid of the extra clutter.
Before anything else, scan your kitchen counters. Get rid of items and equipment that you don’t actually use, are broken, and are mere doubles of other items you already have. Trendy gadgets that you may have, such as ultra-modern slicers, can be donated or given away — after all, you can simply use your knives to slice food items or crush garlic!
The best way to make sure you can work in your kitchen efficiently is to set up various zones dedicated to specific tasks. Parents suggests dividing your kitchen into these different areas:
Cooking area: For the actual cooking and baking
Prep area: For preparing your ingredients and other items needed for cooking
Cleaning area: For washing fresh groceries and produce, kitchen items, and dinnerware
Snack area: For keeping ready-to-eat snacks that your kids can grab at any time of the day
Storage area: For storing extra grocery items that you don’t use regularly but want to keep in stock in case of future need, such as flour, rice, and salt
3. Have a place for everything.
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The next step is to organize the items you have in your kitchen according to the zones you have established. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
For your cooking area: Store pots and pans close to your stove. You can either hang them on hooks or place them in drawers. Make sure you also have at least one knife and a cutting board for ingredients that need to be prepped slightly before being cooked, as well as spatulas, spoons, and tongs that you use most often when cooking. Include condiments and spices in this zone as well for easy access when you’re in the middle of meal prep.
For your prep area: Ideally, your prep area is situated close to your sink so you can wash your ingredients as needed. This is also where you can store the items you use to prepare your cooking ingredients, such as measuring cups, mixing bowls, small containers, cutting boards, and other knives. You can also place your trash bin in this area.
For your cleaning area: This area is also one that might be better located near where your sink is. Store your cleaning rags and dishwashing-related items here.
For your snack area: This part of your kitchen is where you can store snacks that your family can take without having to disturb you while cooking (so, this area is ideally placed far from the Cooking Area). Parents Magazine suggests keeping the Snack Area near the fridge and at least one cabinet, which can both serve as storage places for all different snacks and treats. If you or your partner love having a cup of coffee during the day, you can also place your coffeemaker or your coffee-making equipment and supplies here.
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For your storage area: Different from the other zones in your kitchen, your Storage Area doesn’t necessarily have to be concentrated to a specific part of the room, especially if you don’t have space for a proper pantry. Instead, you can make use of cabinets installed in each zone. Parents Magazine recommends sorting every item according to whether they need to be cooked. For example, dry goods such as rice, pasta, and spices can be kept near your Cooking Area. Spreads and cereal can be kept in your Prep Area. Other dry goods that you don’t use as often, such as flour and baking supplies, can be kept in separate cabinets.
4. Create a command center.
A command center can help you make things more efficient at home because it allows you to stay on top of tasks that need to be done and important reminders to keep in mind. To make your kitchen much more efficient, a command center can be instrumental! It doesn’t have to be too sophisticated a system; a simple board on which to write down the groceries that you’re running out of at home or even a set of pads for quick messages can do the trick.
Aside from those, if you have space, you can also dedicate a space to hold your electronic device for when you need to follow a recipe you found online or to put on some nice music while you’re cooking.