Kitchen disorganization can be a huge source of frustration, mostly because when setting up our kitchens, we follow the standard of how the drawer and cabinet space "should" be set up, rather than what would best work for us, how we utilize it, and move about the space.
It can be tempting to quickly shove things in any drawer or a cabinet just because they fit, when its best to think about when and how you will using the contents.
Before you know it, you have every drawer and cabinet crammed with who knows what, and you constantly feel like you cannot find anything.
That is no way to live and will only cause you and your family TONS of stress and frustration. No worries, there is a better way!
One of my first jobs was in a professional kitchen, all experienced kitchen staff will tell you that the secret to productivity and stress free rushes (for me it is in the mornings, getting breakfast served while packing lunches, oh we cannot miss the school bus!) is to set up the space so you can reach all that you need without having to move your feet. With this in mind, I've set up my kitchen in zones, and I think this may help you too.
Zones will vary for us all, they can, and should be customized for you.
In our kitchen, here are the ones that work:
1- Cooking Zone
Our cooking zone is composed of: Spices and oils cabinet, pots and pans cabinet, drawer of pot holders and trivets, a drawer of measuring cups and other utensils and we keep a tray with some items and seasonings on the counter. When something is on the stove, all needed items are within reach.
2- Serving Zone
Serving zone is composed by a cabinet of ramekins for sauces or dressings, a couple of cabinets for plates and serving platters, and a drawer of serving utensils. We keep the silverware below the coffee station, this works for us because spoons are used much more often for tea and coffee and also, my littles set the table, the silver drawer keeps them away from the Hot zone-Cooking zone.
3- Drinks and Coffee zone
These cabinets are side by side, it works because as we are getting ready to leave for the day, we reach for both, a to-go coffee cup and a water bottle. The cabinets have cups and glasses at the bottom and the to-go on top, one stop shop!
Also, the littles are in charge of getting beverages for dinner as well, keeping them away from the cooking zone as we are serving.
4- Lunch Prep and Leftovers
In this zone we keep all that we need to pack lunches: re-usable snack bags, to-go re-usable cutlery (we are working on making better green choices on a daily basis) lunch bags, paper bags. And we do end up with leftovers often, in this zone we also keep food storage containers, plastic wrap, aluminum foil. Lunch packing and after dinner clean up is a breeze!
5- Meal Prep
Our goal is to make a homemade dinner every night to enjoy as a family, it isn't always easy, we succeed 90% of the time. Often we have a left over night and there's no shame in having our favorite pizza place on speed dial!
This zone supports ease to make meals quickly, here you'll find chopping knifes, peelers, and cutting boards.
6- Tidy up and Cleaning zone
The area by the sink can often get cluttered, I've set up this area to only have things we use in the kitchen: garbage bags, extra sponges, paper towels, dish soap, dishwasher soap, orange cleaner (I started making this myself with orange peels and vinegar, better for the environment and we re-use the peels of our oranges, we LOVE oranges! comment below if you'll like the recipe, I'd be happy to send it to you) Here you'll also find back-stock of all items mentioned above.
I hope this post inspires you to "study" how you move about your kitchen and how it supports your goals. Must know- it is OK to move stuff around often as you discover new roadblocks! In my kitchen, my cups and coffee station moved twice before landing on the perfect spot.
If you need help taking your kitchen from a cluttered-stressful space to one where you enjoy spending time in, reach out, we are here to help.