- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Friday, September 23, 2011
7 Steps to Organizing a New Kitchen