Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Steps to Organizing a New Kitchen

Setting up the kitchen after moving to a new space, whether in a new(to-to-you) home or a remodel, can be a big challenge. Unless your old and new kitchens are identical down to every power outlet, nook, and cranny, you will need to make changes.

  1. Clean-out / Throw Out. Moving is the perfect opportunity to de-clutter your space. If you're like me, you tend to have way more kitchen do-dads than you actually use, thanks to impulse buys and gifts from well-meaning family and friends. When you pack boxes before the move, take the time to think about which items you actually use. Make a "maybe" box for those items you aren't willing to part with, but that aren't part of your core tool set.

    As you un-pack into the new space, go through the same thinking again. Items that looked critical in the packing stage sometimes look less necessary when you are arranging your shiny-new kitchen. Part with what you aren't going to use. Plan to stow a couple of boxes away in a basement or attic of those items you aren't sure about. Remind yourself to donate anything left in those boxes a year from now if they haven't been used.
  2. Arrange items nearest to where they will be used. Pots and pans, spatulas and cooking spoons near the stove/oven. Dinnerware and flatware near the eating area. Cups and glasses near the fridge or the sink.
  3. Store seasonal items in the hardest-to-reach places. Above the fridge, the top shelves of cabinets, or in the basement/attic in well-labeled boxes.
  4. Plan for clean countertops. Having an empty swath of workspace is a must for serious cooking. Prep space. Hot pans. Sanitation. Lack of distractions and dangers. Start yourself off on the right foot by keeping on the bare essentials out on a countertop (maybe just that coffee maker that truly gets used every day, and the spoon rest by the stove top). Find a home for everything else behind a door or in a drawer. And stick to your resolution. Come Christmas-Cookie time, you will be grateful not to spend three hours cleaning the kitchen BEFORE you can bake your three-dozen varieties of treats.
  5. Consider designating a baking zone. This can be as elaborate as a large island or as simple as a single cabinet and stretch of counterspace that is left uncluttered for hot cookie trays.
  6. Don't max out your credit card in the cabinet-organizer aisle until you've lived with a space for a while. Pull-out trays, in-drawer knife blocks, cookware organizers, in-cabinet trash cans, and stand-mixer-lifts are cool and nifty and oh-so-shiny. But they require installation and sometimes a bit of de-construction of your existing cabinetry in order to install. Be sure that you are happy with your setup before you pull out the reciprocating saw and drill.
  7. Plan on re-arranging the space. Your first guess about the best placement of items is bound to be a little off. The best way to arrange a kitchen, in my experience, is to cook in it. Figure out which things you really want handy. It can take me three or four arrangements before I'm happy, and I plan to re-think the space with any major purchase (new dishware, a necessary new appliance, new furniture, etc).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago my wife and I painted a kitchen countertops wuth melamine paint. No primer needed and it adheres very well. You can also get one or more colors to dab in.