Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Organize your Kitchen

Cleaning out your kitchen cabinets and drawers might not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but it offers some real benefits.

  • An Organized kitchen
  • Less clutter; more space for everything; less breakage when rooting in the cabinets
  • Time savings – no more searching through a drawer full of utensils for the potato peeler
  • Money savings - you won’t waste money on duplicates or things you don’t need

Are you with me? Then let’s get started.

First decide how many dishes your family needs. If you have a family of 3 like I do, a service for 4 is enough. If you have a family of 6, a service for 8 will give you 2 extra place settings. If you have guests often, then you will want a few extra, but don’t have (buy) more than you need.

Why? Because the more dishes you have, the stronger the temptation to let them pile up. If you have just enough dishes for everyone, they will be washed quickly because they are needed. They won’t be piling up in your sink.

Now, open the cabinets that hold your dinnerware. This is where you will start. Once you get your plates, bowls, and glasses pared down based on your family size, other decisions come easier.

Take out any dishes that your family doesn’t (or rarely) uses. Do you actually use those small glasses? What about coffee mugs; how many of those do you actually use?

Do your plates all match? Do you want them to match? Pull out what you don’t use.

Second, move to the silverware drawer. You might want to keep extra forks or spoons. If your family is like mine, you have a problem with disappearing forks or spoons. So, pare down based on your family size (2 of each utensil per person), but keep extra disappearing utensils (we keep extra forks).

Third, tackle the preparation and cooking utensils. Take your time here and really think about whether these are actually used. Most of us have too many cooking and preparation utensils, and we don’t use most of them.

The cook in the family usually has a favorite spatula, slotted spoon, ladle, potato peeler, paring knife, and carving knife - and she/he doesn’t use anything else. But, count how many spatulas, spoons, peelers, and knives you have. Wayyy more than you use, I bet.

If you don’t use it, get rid of it. It’s just taking up space and making it difficult to find what you need.

Fourth - on to the mixing bowls. Unless you mix and bake several things at the same time, you only need 3: small, medium, and large. If you have several sets of mixing bowls, keep the glass bowls and get rid of the rest. Glass is best because it won’t react with anything you put in it, unlike aluminum (which doesn’t get along with acids).

Last, take a good look at your cookware. How much of it do you use? Does anyone actually use that little saucepan that comes in the set of pots and pans? I think my daughter has used ours for hot dogs a couple of times, but mostly it just takes up space.

If you get stumped along the way, or just have a difficult time letting something go, put it into a box and set it aside (in the garage or shed). If you find you need it, it gets to come back inside. If you don’t go looking for it, you don’t need it. Pass it on to someone who will use it (donate it).

There, now you have an organized kitchen. You can reach your mugs without knocking the glasses over. You're saving time because you know where everything is. And, you won't be wasting money to buy duplicates of things you can't find.

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