From fun summer barbecues to a hearty holiday feast, nothing brings my family together faster than a tasty meal. With everyone’s busy lives, nothing gets in the way of family gatherings more than a poorly thought out and designed kitchen. Hopefully you’re reading this article because you’re ready to solve the problem of a hard to use kitchen. Let me start by saying, there is no right way to organize your kitchen, nor magic solution or formula. You have to dig in, discover, accept and plan for a kitchen that’s easier for preparing food your family and friends. Your kitchen is yours alone. You deserve one that is organized to your tastes and workflow. After years of experience listening to homeowners, both husbands and wives attempting to organize better kitchens, I’ve come across some fundamental questions every homeowner should ask themselves about their kitchen, and steps to organizing properly.
In the beginning you need to discover which organizational problems you have. Once you discover them you can face them, admit to them, and understand them. Spend a week or two using your kitchen with this mission of discovery in mind. Once you recognize your organizational problems while performing your daily routine, write them down. If you can, wait for a time of the year where an entertaining event or cooking holiday, think Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. is thrown into the mix. Since your kitchen is the heart of your home, entertaining is often the most stressful time spent in your kitchen preparing food for guests. These are the times when a hard to use kitchen will rear its ugly head.
As you discover your demons, you are going to realize how you use your kitchen. This is why your kitchen is unique to you. Friends, with the best of intentions, will tell you how they've organized their kitchen. Their organizational solutions may not suit your needs. Beyond the basics, nobody else's opinion matters because your kitchen should match your lifestyle. Now that you’ve identified your problems, write down how the problem areas that affect your workflow and daily routine. Take pictures. Smartphones and tablets are perfect for documenting your project. Open the cabinet doors and shoot. Name, label and add measurements (use a tape measure while shooting images) to your images for easy reference. Having the measurements in the image should eliminate purchasing an item that is the wrong size for your cabinet. These images come in handy when shopping online from your computer or while you are in the home improvement store. Consider the ways your workflow interacts with how you have unknowingly or intentionally organized your kitchen. Do you find yourself leaving things that aren’t supposed to be in a certain cabinet right there, rather than relocating them to a better area of your kitchen? Take a picture and note it for future reference when you begin your search for products to better organize your kitchen.
Do you usually have help in the kitchen? In today’s families preparing a meal and entertaining is often a team effort. In lots of families Mom, Dad, relatives, and even the kids might be in the kitchen all at once. Reflect on the fact you’re your children might enjoy helping in the kitchen. While you want them to learn the responsibility this teaches, you also want to make sure you are considering their safety. Creating an area in your kitchen for the little one’s, with access to the items they are allowed to use makes them more self sufficient and gives them the satisfaction of doing it themselves. But the most difficult thing to plan for is the peak usage times when you might have multiple people running through your new kitchen.
Congratulations! You’ve laid the foundation to enact an informed solution to organizing your kitchen, and now the solutions can come in many forms. The easiest can be a simple move of items from one cabinet to another. Others can involve installing permanent cabinet organizers to control the storage and access to items. I suggest some research and inspiration at this step. Online resources abound for home improvement projects, especially for the kitchen. I’m a big fan of Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to see photos of products and creative DIY solutions in the real world. In addition to pinning, I also like to use Evernote and the browser add-on, Evernote Clipper, to record and organize my finds.
So now you have some inspiration. You have seen some really cool ideas and products. What’s next? If you’ve followed the previous steps, you probably have a really good idea of what you need, want, and have to have. Let me give you a few fundamental, universal concepts you shouldn’t forget: · Put the items you use most as close to waist level as possible. · Put light, frequently used items at eye level. · Put heavier items where they are easiest to access. · Plan around the refrigerator, trash can, and sink. These high use areas. · Screwed in organizers tend to keep things organized for the long term. · Pull-out organizers provide a larger surface area of usable, accessible storage. · Take into account any physical limitations you or a family member may have, that limit your range of motion.
Change is inevitable, we get older, we have kids, the kids grow up, jobs change, lifestyles change, and well, you get my drift. Your kitchen, and sharing meals with your family and friends will remain the center of your home life long after the dust has settled on your remodel. Think about the kitchen that you would really want to have for years to come, and make it happen.