The first thing that I organize, like sit down and plan out, when I move to a new place is the kitchen. Having that space planned out is the trick to a happy life, or at least is my trick to a happy life. How do I do it? How do I make my kitchen into a well-oiled machine of efficiency? First, I watch a lot of the British Kitchen Nightmares – it is on Hulu and wildly superior to the American one – then I learn from those mistakes. So here are just a couple of tricks that I have picked up to make my kitchen a dream.
Go in With a Plan
There was a trick that I learned while working in film production: the best way to have good audio is to not have bad audio. Obvious though it may seem, it is best to start from a good place and improve upon it than it is to try to completely reorganize your already existing kitchen. This isn’t a matter of difficulty, but more a problem of breaking habits – like remembering where to put the bowls after a wash.
Make Work Areas
Arrange your kitchen so it flows naturally, keep cooking and bakeware in a different part of your kitchen than eating utensils. Keep these areas separate. All your cooking prep, cookware, and eating utensils should stay within their kitchen zones – both when stored and when in use. Do not allow the breakdown of the system or the whole thing will be chaos. Chaos I tell you!
Utilize the Cabinet Door
Pot lids might be the closest thing that I have to a nemesis, they ruined my plans time and time again. They always show up at the least opportune moments as if to just ruin my life. Then I realized that I could put little hooks on the inside of cabinet doors to hold the lids. Now they are exactly where they should be all the time; they don’t ruin the organizational flow; and it impresses every guest I have in my kitchen. Wow your friends, dazzle your enemies; reorganize your pot lids now.
Ditch Single Purpose Things
I grew up watching Good Eats, the only show on Food Network that was worth anything other than the original Iron Chef. In it, Alton Brown rails against uni-tasking kitchen tools, like strawberry core removers, or breakfast sandwich makers, or panini presses. They take up a whole lot of space and do not offer a whole lot of utility to them. Instead, figure out what your needs are, how often you utilize these tools, and then toss them. Realistically all of them. No one needs a panini press. You have pans. Put some ciabatta slices in the pan, lightly oiled, with whatever toppings you’d like, toast lightly, reduce heat and cover for about a minute to melt the cheese. You just made a panini. Took a minute, maybe two.
Vertical Space is Your Ally
Put some tension rods under the sink, boom. Can hang the cleaning sprays. Got some S-hooks to hang from the ceiling, boom. All pots and pans are within reach all the time. Take advantage of the space you don’t use. That’s the whole trick to organizing a kitchen. It’s brilliant, it’s easy and it looks cool when done well.
Toss Store Bought Cookbooks
Let’s be real. Who buys cookbooks anymore? Like an actual physical cookbook? No one, it’s all on kindle or some other e-reader anyway. So, toss your Ina Garten cookbooks, and welcome yourself to the future by using an e-reader. They take up no space and can be stored pretty much anywhere. They are handy, they are cheap, and if you hide them after you cook they make you seem more impressive – because no one can see the stack of cookbooks you used. Be sure to hang on to those family cookbooks. No one in my family can make grandpa’s favorite chocolate pie because his mom tossed the cook book instead of passing it on.
Make Sure You Can See All the Stuff
Never, under any circumstances, put something behind another thing. You will never use that hidden item, because you will forget that it is there. When you are organizing your pantry or cabinets, be sure that you can see everything that you are storing. If you don’t, you may as well throw away the hiding items. They are useless to you now anyway.
This is just a starting point, something to get the juices flowing so you can organize the kitchen the way you want to. No two kitchens are or should be alike. Everyone has different needs, and these are the things that work for me, and hopefully some of it will work for you.
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