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My Small Kitchen

Posted on: May 27, 2010


I used to have a really small kitchen in an apartment I rented after I got divorced. I hated it.   It was so small that I could not open the refrigerator at the same time I opened the dishwasher because the doors would collide.  But then I got married and then moved into a home that is much more spacious.  The refrigerator and dishwasher doors no longer touch and I actually have an island in the middle.  One thing has remained the same and that is the way I approach organizing them and keeping them free from clutter.

So how does one approach keeping a kitchen organized especially if one has a particularly small one? 

First of all,  one of the big clutter spots in any kitchen is right at the sink.   It’s a highly visible area and people notice the sink as soon as they come into the kitchen.  It is important to keep dishes washed and out of the sink as much as possible.  I have always been fortunate to have a dishwasher so keeping the sink area is very easy. I don’t even own a dish drainer.  If I am cleaning pots or pans that don’t go into the dishwasher I will wash and dry by hand and then put them away right away.    However I do know people who don’t have dishwashers and the luxury of having an easy place to put their dirty dishes.  To them I suggest getting a dish drainer and placing it in the sink (if space allows).  Once the dishes are cleaned and drained they go into the cabinets where they belong.  It’s no more work to put the dishes away as soon as they drip off than it is to do it the next day so why wait?  Make it your priority to have all dishes out of the dish drainer after dinner and before bed. 

The next obvious area of clutter are the countertops themselves.  I have seen kitchen counters that have so many appliances and do-dads on them that it’s impossible to use the countertops for real function like meal preparation.  My rule of thumb is that appliances should be stored unless they are used on a daily basis.  Other do-dads, containers, and non-essentials should be stored or eliminated.  On my countertops I have a toaster.  Nothing else.  At my stove I have salt and pepper shakers and a glass olive oil jar.  Everything else (which is pretty minimal) is in a cabinet underneath the countertops.

Speaking of cabinets, there are all kinds of ways to find space in your cabinets for your items.  The first obvious way is to get rid of anything you don’t use or haven’t used for over 6 months.  Think about all of your items and ask yourself if you really need it?  If you don’t it should go out.  Do the same exercise with your food storage containers like tupperware.  I don’t understand having more tupperware containers than your refrigerator will allow you to store.  If you have more than that then you have too much. Purge this area really well.  Ditto for all of those plastic cups you may have in the cabinets. Think about how many people are in your family and how many plastic cups you own and then ask yourself what you can and should be getting rid of.  You could potentially free up a lot of space.

The pantry should not be neglected either.  It should be cleared and sorted through each week before the grocery shopping day.  Ditto with the refrigerator.  Don’t just look through the food on the shelves.  Look in the doors at all the condiments.  If there is anything there you have not eaten in a year (EWWW) or something you no longer will eat, toss it.

There are many kitchen organizing gadgets in the stores today that may also help you to free up some kitchen space.  One example is shelf helpers.  These helpers are little stand along shelfs that you can stack dishes on top of to fill in the dead space in your cabinets.  If you have adjustable cabinet shelves you may not even need to buy shelf helpers. Simply adjust the shelves and watch the freed space grow!  Every drawer should have a drawer organizer in it whether it is silverware, cooking utensils, or baking supplies. 

And last but not least, get rid of the junk drawer.  I have to laugh at this and I used to have one in my earlier years.  Now I just don’t understand the logic behind a junk drawer.  I mean if it’s filled with junk why isn’t the junk in the garbage?  If the drawer is filled with items you don’t have a home for, then find a home for those items.  Everything can be categorized.  And when you have tossed the junk in the junk drawer, you will have one more drawer space that you can use to your advantage.

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