Conflicted Cupboards

By Teresa Iqbal

March 16, 2016 5 min read

It's often said that the kitchen is where we spend most of our time. So why not make that time more enjoyable by organizing it in the way that works best for you? How you organize your kitchen should depend on how it's used on a daily basis. That is, do you love to prepare professional grade dishes regularly and need access to lots of kitchen gadgets? Maybe you're a large family who needs a setup that is sturdy yet efficient and makes the most of every nook and cranny available. On the other end of the spectrum, we have those who have embraced the new trend known as minimalism. If so, you may be looking for a way to organize your limited set of kitchen supplies and dishes. Regardless of your family's particular lifestyle, the kitchen organization tips listed below can help you create a space that reflects your needs and makes cooking and gathering in the kitchen that much easier.

For those with a passion for cooking, finding a way to efficiently store your ample supply of kitchen gadgets can make all the difference. Try separating tools by their purpose. Hand mixers, cake decorating tools, flour sifters, and other baking tools can share space on one shelf while the meat thermometer, box grater, vegetable peeler, and other gadgets typically used for cooking main courses can share their own shelf. Organizing a tool by its purpose will lessen the chance that you'll need to reach behind other items to get what you need. Take the same approach and apply it to your pantry. Baking soda, powder, brown sugar and flour can all sit on one shelf while you group pasta, broth and other similar items together. Having a general idea of where a tool or food is can make all the difference when pulling together a complex recipe.

If you have a large family, then simply finding a place to store all of the pantry goods can become quite the task. There are several clever ways to approach a full kitchen. If you or someone you know is handy with some basic tools, then consider making a large, vertical pullout drawer on wheels that can fit between the refrigerator and the wall. Fashion on some shelves that are the appropriate size to fit canned foods and you've instantly made valuable pantry space available for other big items such as small appliances, Tupperware or large boxes of staple items while making canned food easy to view and find. Consider using other spaces in your kitchen efficiently as well. Rather than a knife block taking space up on your counter, consider a magnetic knife holder. Use the space above the cupboards for storing rarely used items such as a turkey platter. Consider even using the space below your cupboards by hanging wine glasses from them.

Clearing your kitchen of unnecessary and unused gadgets is a great approach if you're looking for a more accessible kitchen that won't overwhelm. Misty McNally of Modern Earth Living points out the transforming effect that ridding a kitchen of these unused items can have as she claims, "The first step to a great kitchen isn't to remodel, but to clear away the space and energy guzzlers that clutter your counters and eat up storage. Underneath all those gadgets, you might already have the kitchen of your dreams." Swapping out large appliances such as food processors and electric mixers with their more simple counterparts, such as a box grater and small hand held electric mixer can prove sufficient while leaving you with ample space to maneuver around your kitchen. This transition may best benefit smaller families or individuals who do not cook large amounts of food on a regular basis.

If you find yourself opting for a more minimalistic approach to your kitchen, then there are a few tips to keep in mind, starting with opening up your cupboards, which can easily transform your space. This is because open cupboards allow you easy access to your dishes while simultaneously showcasing them. This approach arguably looks much better with a tidy set of dishes and a few memorable statement pieces, rather than a large amount of dishes that may be a little too cluttered for the eye to look at. Another great tip comes from Abby Stone of Apartment Therapy. She says to consider the items that you plan to use in your kitchen, "If the canister that you use to store flour is hard to open, it's not useful. Before you buy something, try it out in the store and consider how you'll use it." This practice ensures that you are only filling your kitchen with items that you'll get lots of use out of, allowing the opportunity for maximum efficiency, which of course means less time between walking in the door and sitting down to your next home cooked meal.

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