We know that even though technology has advanced in the kitchen in recent years, it’s still mostly manual work. Tasks have to be done by hand, and that means having your kitchen arranged so it’s easy to move through the steps of each task.
Experiments show that with a well-configured kitchen, it is possible to save up to 60% of time spent walking, bending and looking for items. It’s all about where you put appliances, countertops and cabinetry.
This is true for both small and big kitchens. Big kitchens can be more inconvenient than you might think, causing you to walk a lot between steps. And while walking is good for you, having to do it during the stress of timing a meal correctly isn’t ideal.
In a wide kitchen, the distance between appliances can be too far. You can end up constantly walking between the cooktop, refrigerator and countertops.
Best Way to Organize Your Kitchen
If you’re building or remodeling a kitchen, keep in mind that the ideal natural flow for a kitchen is something like this:
- The refrigerator
- A countertop beside it
- The sink beside that
- Another countertop on beside the sink
- The stove and cooktop
This enables you to get food from the refrigerator, set it down, begin washing it, transfer the washed food to the counter on the other side of the sink, and finally cook it. That’s usually how
Leading kitchen manufacturers follow the advice of ergonomics experts and design kitchen appliances in ways that allow us to use as much space as possible.
But this isn’t what a lot of kitchens have. Reconfiguring your kitchen for this flow might be impossible, and would almost certainly be very expensive.
Reorganizing what you have
The trick is to get the best flow you can. Let’s say the refrigerator is opposite the sink, but the sink still has countertop space on either side of it. Your flow becomes:
- Walk food from the refrigerator over to the countertop by the sink further the stove and cooktop.
- Wash food at the sink.
- Prep food at the countertop on the other side of the sink.
- Cook food at the stove.
So what does this mean for organizing your pots, pans, canned food, silverware, etc.?
No Pantry? Maybe you can create one
Pantries are wonderful. Even a small closet off the kitchen can hold canned goods, dry goods, snacks, cleaning supplies and any foods that don’t need refrigeration.
But loads of houses don’t have them. You can buy a hutch or sideboard instead. If your kitchen is too small, you can put it in an adjacent dining room, breakfast nook or even living room.
Of course, this isn’t ideal for having everything you need at your fingertips. It’s better than nothing in a kitchen without enough room. But ideally you want pantry items close at hand.
If there’s any room at all, you can install shelves on the wall to create more storage space. This is an inexpensive and potentially DIY way to make for a more organized kitchen. Be sure you know what you’re doing if you try to do this on your own. There are lots of videos on YouTube and elsewhere showing you how to do this so it won’t all fall down.
The way to get the best use of pantries or sidebaords is to organize them instead of just putting things in. Storage baskets can be a big help, as can other bins.
Making the best use of drawers
Designate one drawer for silverware and cutlery. Get a drawer organizer to keep it tidy. If you have utensils that won’t fit easily, like long handled spatulas or tongs, get a kitchen caddy for the countertop and keep them all in there.
Store cutting boards vertically
Instead of letting cutting boards take up a drawer, store them vertically in a narrow cabinet or even on top of a counter. You can do the same with baking sheets and other flat items.
This is not only helpful when kitchen space is at a premium. It also means none of the cutting boards are underneath the others, so you won’t need to waste time pulling all of them out to get to the one you want.
Small appliances and counter space
You’ll probably want to keep small appliances out on the countertop. This is another area where you can think about flow.
For example, it makes sense for a toaster and coffee maker, both typically used at breakfast, to be near each other. Just be sure there’s countertop space to put food on once it’s done in the toaster.
Pots and pans
Buy a set of pots that stack the next time you need new ones. This saves a ton of space in the kitchen cabinets or cupboard where you’re putting them.