Friday, March 23, 2012

Kitchen - Part One

As everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home.  If the kitchen is messy then so goes the rest of the house.  I try to make it a point to tidy my kitchen every night after dinner.  There is nothing worse than getting up in the morning and having to face last night's dirty dishes before your day has even begun.  It makes me want to go back to bed!

Having a tidy kitchen also helps when it comes to cooking.  No one wants to have to clean the kitchen before starting dinner.  And everyone has heard of the tip to fill the sink with hot, soapy water and clean as you go.  But there are a few other tips that can help get dinner on the table with much less fuss and stress.

This is my kitchen.

I love my kitchen but it is 29 feet long and only 9 feet wide.  All of my cooking is done in the far 1/3 that you see which makes counter space and cupboard space limited.  This area is what I call the high rent section of my kitchen.  Items in this area must earn their keep.

The dishwasher and the microwave are in a spot that previous owners had placed a refrigerator.  When we moved in we quickly realized that a fridge that small was not going to work for our family.  We placed a portable dishwasher and an over-the-stove mounted microwave in the space making dinner preparation and clean up much more convenient.  I also try to keep the counters clear.  It again makes getting dinner on the table much more stress free.

Yes, that is my stove!  I love my stove and it truly deserves a post all it's own.  Perhaps in a future blog post.  What I am trying to show on this side of the kitchen is that I have my cutting board in a convenient spot right next to the stove.  Because there is no space in this end of the kitchen for a good sized garbage pail I placed a small galvanized bucket under the stove to save me from having to walk to the pantry (where the large garbage pail is placed) for smaller things like empty Splenda packets or bread clips.

Now for the spice cupboard next to the stove.  This is the before photo.

My pet peeve are those yellow, No Name spice packages.  I had them everywhere!

I had them in containers in a lower cabinet but it was still difficult to find what I was looking for and there was so much in them that the contents did not fit into those little spice jars.  I was losing them into the dark recesses of this cabinet!

I thought very carefully about how to arrange the spice cabinet  to best utilize the space.  This is the after.

I used larger, square containers that I picked up a Dollarama to hold the spices that I use regularly.  In thinking about containers for the space that you wish to organize consider square or rectangular ones.  Round containers (which is what was originally in this space) have a lot of dead space between them.  They also didn't stack well so I lost the use of perfectly good vertical space.  I can now see everything clearly.  I moved the salt, pepper, butter and olive oil from other areas and placed them on the bottom shelf so that they are right next to the stove and easy to reach while cooking.  For the spices that I don't use as often, I emptied a junk drawer and placed them in there.

I am now down to only 4 of those dreaded spice bags!  You may have noticed that not all the containers in this drawer are square.  This was not by choice.  I cleaned two Dollarama's out of all their square containers!

For those of you wondering what the rest of the kitchen looks like, here it is.

This end contains our coat closet.  Some day it will become a pantry but not until we renovate our mudroom and add a couple of closets in there.  The door directly beside the fridge is the hallway where the pantry is but that's for another post.

In organizing your own kitchen really think about how you move in the space.  Keep everyday items at your fingertips.  Having a clean working space can help you clear your mind to create some culinary masterpieces!  And if a culinary masterpiece is not up your alley then at least you will know where your strainer is to drain the macaroni and cheese!

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