What is your dream kitchen like? Possibly a luxe modern haven with the latest appliances and a butler’s pantry? Or a more intimate and vintage styled galley? Or even a large country farmhouse kitchen? No matter what your dream kitchen is (and maybe you already have it!), the reality is that this room is one of the hardest working spaces in your home, along with the laundry and bathroom, and it needs to work for you and not against you, so that you can get in and do the jobs that must be done, and get back out to enjoy your life.
One of the things I find the hardest is dealing with the build up of dishes from boys who appear to grab a new cup and plate every time they breathe. Every. Time. Keeping the visual clutter, mess and smell of used and abandoned dishes under control is very important in our household.
Take a good honest look at how your kitchen is working for you and set some clear goals for areas of need.
- Look in your pantry and have a clean out. Get rid of any open packages of biscuits, flour and cereals that may be past their use by date, or have sat too long and are no longer at their best.
- Use some containers which have a good seal to keep your packaged foods like cereals and crackers in, to avoid this happening again. The large coffee jars are great for this. Or look at the op shop – they have lots!
- If you can shop as waste free as possible, you will have more containers that need refreshing and cleaning out – have a check on the contents of these.
- Keep tea leaves in tins and containers and teabags in a basket so they are easy to grab out of the pantry.
- Create sections for tins, packets, cartons and jars. Keep like items with like items.
- Consider using boxes or baskets to store these in and label them for easy reach.
- Give everything a good wipe over and clean
- Assess your current bench space. Is it enough? Are you using it to your best advantage? Are there ways you can reduce clutter on the bench tops and create more workspace?
- What is your general storage like? Do you need more? Consider clever ways to add storage such as using a crate on the wall for your most commonly used cups and plates, or your canisters. Add a shelf inside the crate to make it more useful
- Consider a cook top kettle and a good place to store the toastie sandwich maker and toaster if your bench space is limited like ours, as every inch counts!
- Do you have a dishwasher? If so, create a system for who stacks and unstacks it, what days they will do it and when. Create a chart for the kids so they know when it is their turn ( we are working on this one!)
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, how do you manage the dishes during the day? When do you wash up and what is your system? Create the same as above for whoever it is that has responsibility for the dishes at your place
Take a good look overall at how your space is working and whether you have a good kitchen triangle work zone of oven/cooktop, to bench top/sink, to fridge – to make your jobs in the kitchen easier. The kitchen work triangle – often just referred to as ‘the kitchen triangle’ – is a basic but time-honoured principle for designing ergonomic, functional kitchens.
The idea is pretty simple, in an ideal kitchen, you should be able to draw a triangle between these three work zones:
- The kitchen sink
- The refrigerator
- The stovetop/oven
The way light is used in every area of your home is important. So take a look at your overhead and task lighting which is critical in the kitchen, and assess whether it is working well or could do with a change. Also look at natural light and whether you are making the most of it. Maybe you can change your curtains to sheers, or open the blinds more during the day. Ensure you are using LED or CFL in all of your light globes to save energy bills and the planet. And finally, add a plant to the windowsill, or a little pot of herbs and enjoy.
Now go forth and create a happy kitchen!