The kitchen is the hub of the home, AND it tends to collect the most clutter. But I believe a well designed kitchen is an organized kitchen. When we create kitchen designs for our clients – whether new construction or renovations – we focus as much on organization as we do aesthetics.
In a former life, I was the General Manager of a busy restaurant in the Los Angeles area. One of the key tenets of a successful restaurant kitchen, is the French term “Mis En Place”, which roughly translates to “everything in it’s place”. And while this relates specifically to the preparation of the ingredients and the cooking of each dish, it’s still very applicable in other areas of an organized kitchen.
When we design a kitchen, we begin by discussing how our clients use the kitchen space already…do they cook or generally eat out? And what meals? How often do they think they will be entertaining? And for how many? How tall is the person doing most of the cooking? Are the left or right handed? All sorts of in detail questions. We will often open all of the cabinet doors in their current kitchen to see what they own…and probe to find out exactly what is working and what isn’t.
It’s a common misconception is that all of the “daily” dishes need to go together, or at least in the general area. But why would you put your coffee mugs in the same area as your dinner plates if your coffee maker is on the other side of the kitchen? That’s just too much work to get coffee in the morning. We love to create a “coffee station” for our clients – in any sized kitchen – where we locate the coffee mugs, hot tea & hot cocoa preparations, coffee syrups, sweeteners, and even the “to go” mugs. What a convenience!
Here are a few more details to consider when organizing your kitchen:
- Put drinking glasses in the cabinet closest to the refrigerator
- Place salad and dinner plates, bowls and pasta dishes on closest to the stove and preparation areas.
- Pots and pans should be located in cabinets below and surrounding the stove & oven.
- Spices, oils and cooking sprays should go near the stove and preparation areas.
- Cooking utensils on the countertop or in a drawer near the stovetop.
- Create baking cabinets, if you have the room. One for the baking dishes and the other for the ingredients used (i.e. chocolate chips, containers of flours and sugars, cupcake liners, etc.).
- Larger appliances such as an Instant-Pot, food processor, Vitamix, and so forth – if not utilized regularly – should go in lower cabinets or in the pantry (lowest shelves). I put my toaster in a lower cabinet instead of keeping it on the counter, especially since I don’t eat toast daily. But really, even if I had toast everyday, I would still put it out of sight.
Clearing just one area of the kitchen at a time is a reasonable task if you’re currently not in a place to renovate but want to get organized.
- Begin with your countertops. What can you put away behind a door? Put all other items where they belong and leave a small bin or basket to collect items that don’t belong in the room.
- Examine your pantry and throw away any expired items. Donate any goods that are still edible, but you know will go uneaten.
- Move to your fridge and throw away your expired items. Hello Wasabi Paste from 2010. Yah. That was mine.
- Address your dishes in the cupboards (or maybe they live on shelves). Toss or donate any chipped dishes. And if there are any pots, pans, bakeware or anything else that is damaged beyond repair, why are you holding onto it? Throw. It. Away.
Reclaim your kitchen from clutter! You may find you have more room than you imagined. But if you’re thinking of remodeling, give us a call. We’re happy to help you design an organized kitchen that meets your specific needs…and looks really pretty.
Originally published Dec. 12, 2009 and updated today…because these tips still hold true!