Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Maximum Efficiency...

It occurs to me how much time I spend in my kitchen.  I'm not sure it's always been this way, but rather a more recent trend.  By recent I mean in the last five or six years. 

Today I'm having ice water, again.  I'm trying to hydrate my body for maximum efficiency. Which brings me back to kitchen efficiency.

Our first apartment had a large kitchen, an eat in kitchen as it were.  Rather large in that it had a dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, double farm sink and the eat in area was large enough to house a table and 6 chairs.  I was 19 years old and didn't spend a lot of time in my kitchen, neither cooking, nor cleaning it.

Our first house had a small galley kitchen.  You literally couldn't walk through if the dishwasher door was open.  I didn't spend a lot of time in it, either.  It was a hallway between our dining area and the laundry room, but more than that, I did minimal cooking, and a small amount of cleaning.

Our second house had a larger kitchen.  I had one child, aged four and another on the way.  I spent more time in the kitchen, both cleaning and cooking.  I loved my kitchen.  It was decorated in a coffee house theme and I loved the feeling I had in that room.

Present day - our third house.  It has a rather large kitchen (by my standards) and it opens to the breakfast area and more importantly into the great room.  I can be in the kitchen but still feel like I'm with my family.

However, if my kitchen didn't work efficiently, I couldn't be efficient working there.  Here are a few tips you might want to consider whether you're setting up your first kitchen or whether you've lived in your house for 20 years.

1 - Silverware.  I find it's most efficient to place your silverware in an upper drawer near the dishwasher or sink.  It's all about easy clean up and easy storage after a meal.  If you have to walk across the room to store your silverware, then... maybe it's not the most efficient placement.

2 - Everyday glassware and dinnerware.  Again, near the dishwasher is the most efficient placement for cleaning up.  I like to use the opposite side of the dishwasher.  For instance, if your dishwasher is to the left of your sink, place your dish ware in an upper cabinet to the right of your sink.  If your dishwasher is to the right of your sink, then placement could be to the left.   However, if your kitchen is not set up in the standard triangle, then dish ware might be more efficient near the stove for serving up meals efficiently.  Whichever placement you choose, think it through.  Which is more effective for your family.

3 - Open storage is a classy option if you have decorative dishes.  If you consider removing a cabinet door or two for the look of open shelving, remember that keeping this area tidy is key!  Also, think about contrasts in color.  If you dishes are all white, think of a dark color for the inside or back of the cabinet shelves.  If your dishware is a bright color, then a more subtle color or neutral would be a nice contrast. Either way, keep things simple and keep it neat.

4 - Decorative items can be displayed nicely above a refrigerator.  If you don't like the idea of displaying items directly on top of the appliance, try removing the cabinet doors above the refrigerator.  Add a wine rack, display cookbooks, or even decorative bowls.  This tends to be dead space or used for infrequently accessed items, so turn this wasted space into a focal point instead.

5- Pots and pans should be stored in the most logical place - beside the stove.  I like to stack my skillets and sauce pans like nesting bowls.  Lids are stored vertically in a display rack designed for plate display, and two stock pots are stored, with their lids and steamer inserts together, on a small shelf inside this cabinet.  

6 - Rubbermaid or Tupperware items are easily stored in a deep drawer if you have the space.  However, I also find it just as efficient to store them in a lower cabinet.  I keep my square dishes together, stacked, my round dishes together, stacked, and my rectangular dishes together stacked.  Lids are stored inside the rectangular dishes in the back of the cabinet.  All lids are stored upright on end inside one large container and I can find them when I need them according to the size and shape dish I'm using.  However, I love the idea of storing them all in a dish drainer under the sink, as well.

Whether you're moving, reorganizing or just cleaning out some old clutter, I find it's sometimes a great inspiration to buy a new utensil now and then.  Try a new spatula, whisk, or turner.  Having to put these new items in with the old is often enough motivation to clear out the whole drawer.

How is your kitchen organized?  Do you have what you need when you need it?  Is there room for improvement?

Only By His Grace,


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