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Since the kitchen is the backdrop for most of the action in the house, it is essential to make it your partner in efficiency. You’ve probably heard the kitchen referred to as the heart of the home, but I refer to it as the stomach. Kitchens act as the hub of the home, especially as they’ve grown in size. Inevitably, all that moves through the house seems to find its way, at one point or another, into and out of the kitchen. We come to the kitchen to be nourished not only by food but by the company and conversation.
Have you ever noticed how the kitchen is the most crowded room at parties? We’re drawn to this room because no matter how the house is decorated, we are sure to find a refrigerator, stove, and sink in the kitchen and immediately we feel at home. We talk of certain items as being comfort food and the kitchen represents the most popular comfort zone in our homes.
The kitchen is the prime example I employ to illustrate the beauty of zoning a room which places items closest to their point of use. Zoning saves precious time and energy when looking for cooking items and accessories. There seems to be an abundance of specialized gadgets and gizmos to cut, slice, dice, and mix, to name just a few. There are a plethora of items for the kitchen. Has one of these gadgets ever caught your eye and you said to yourself, ‘I wish I’d thought of that!’ Drawer dividers are golden in the kitchen so that you can find just what you’re looking for when you need it.
Consolidation is key when kick starting a kitchen clutterBusting project. Begin by weeding out the one-offs or hang-ons that get chosen for use last or not at all: chipped plates or dishes, glasses, mugs, utensils, old spices or expired food items. If the decision is taking too long then put the item back in its place for the time being. This is just a sweep to get your energy flowing. Set a timer for twenty minutes for this exercise and see if you can get through all of your cabinets and drawers. Have you ever noticed that when we have the least amount of time, we get the most done?
Once you have removed the one-off items that you realize are taking up precious real-estate, put them in a box and bring it to a donation site. Whether a few items or a lot, donate the box as soon as you can. Leaving the box in your house contributes to your clutter. It’s also important as you clutterBust to experience the great feeling of lightening your load and giving to others.
Next, get out a piece of paper and sketch out the counter space and cabinetry of your kitchen in squares and circles. The most important thing with this step is to know the number of drawers and cabinets you have.
My first key to clutterBusting is to Visualize your goal; therefore, this step is critical before you start moving things around. Have you ever found yourself in an organizing frenzy with two minutes left to get an area straight and you’re not sure how all the stuff you took out of the cabinets is going to fit back in? Well, that is the scenario that this step will avoid. Being patient with yourself by playing with your cabinet space on paper first is just the way to do that. Remember always that organizing is fun when you make it fun.
Jot down the broad brush categories of items you have in your kitchen and determine whether they are stored near to where they are used. These questions may help you:
➤ What are you doing in the kitchen and where do you typically do it?
➤ Are electric appliances stored near outlets?
➤ Do you have an island where you eat, and how close is the silverware to set the places?
➤ Is there a phone in the kitchen, and if so, is there a pen and pad handy to write a note if the need arises?
Think of your counters as activity space rather than storage space. For example, I use a cutting board every day so I keep it just below the counter space where I like to use it. My brain knows that when I want to cut something, I can walk to theat counter area, reach below and pull out the cutting board.
Are plates kept in the cabinet nearest to the dishwasher to make it a mindless task to put them away? Is that cabinet near the stove to easily pull out plates to serve at mealtime?
The key reason why people want to get organized is to save themselves time and energy and to stop wasting time looking for things they know they have but can’t find. Since it takes me a couple of hours to wake up in the morning, I like to have the coffee near the coffee maker and the cups. This way, I can literally make my coffee even if I am only half awake! I cannot stress to you how much energy you can save by not having to hop all around your kitchen first thing in the morning – or ever.
If friends were staying in your home for a week while you were out of town, how many days do you think it would take them to find everything they needed? Room arrangements tell the story that we create.
Once you’ve assigned uses for cabinets based on the activity going on near them,
re-locate items and keep only one item category on a shelf. For example, keep dishes on one shelf and glassware on a separate shelf. Uniformity of objects on shelves helps to keep your items looking more cohesive, and, therefore, easier to maintain organization. Personally, I think they look happier.
When the lights turn off and the kitchen is clean and organized, you can rest assured that the day has been fully digested. The new day ahead will start off fresh in the morning, awaiting its dose of nourishment in body and soul.