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Kitchen: Using counter space effectively

In every place I've lived, the kitchen has been my favorite room to organize. More so than other spaces, when setting up a kitchen it is important to think about the "flow." No, I'm not talking about energy flow or feng shui, but rather, the ease with which you can move about in the space and access the tools you need while cooking. In a closet, the location of a sock drawer versus an underwear drawer is not likely to have a great impact on your daily routine, but in a kitchen, the contents of every drawer and cupboard should be carefully considered in order to maximize efficiency when cooking. This is the first is a series of posts about organizing in the kitchen!

What can I leave out?

The first thing to consider when setting up a kitchen is "What stuff can I leave out in plain view?" Particularly if you live in an apartment, it is unlikely that you will have enough storage space to conceal everything in a cabinet or drawer, so determine which items will look best "on display." Keep in mind though, the more stuff you have sitting out on a counter or surface, the harder it will be to clean that surface.

Most appliances that you use on a regular basis are non-negotiable counter-space consumers.

For me, that includes...

  • microwave

  • toaster oven

  • coffee maker

  • knife block (great way to save drawer space)

  • paper towels

  • cleaning sponges (make sure you store them in a dish or caddy, see below)

  • dish soap (in a cute bottle)

  • hand soap

  • cleaning wipes (you're more likely to wipe the counters regularly if they are sitting in plain view)

  • common cooking ingredients (for me: salt, pepper, and olive oil)

  • sugar & flour canisters (see below)

I also leave my blender out even though I don't use it regularly because I like the touch of bright yellow in the kitchen. Of all the appliances that I need to store in a cabinet, the blender looks best "on display."

A few years ago I found these yellow air-tight canisters on sale at Pier 1 Imports.

They've been on display in three different kitchens and used for a variety of different purposes, but currently they house flour, white sugar, and brown sugar. Similar to the blender, these canisters save valuable space in my cabinets, and the yellow color brightens up the room.

Over the years, I have been amassing a collection of "B" mugs. They used to live inside a cabinet, before they became too numerous. In my previous apartment, I put up an IKEA shelf for the explicit purpose of displaying my mugs.

In my current apartment, I found a creative new way to save space by using a bar with hooks (also from IKEA), which not only allows be to save counter space, but also makes use of "dead space." [Dead space is space that you can't use for storage...unless you think outside the box!]

I use a ceramic canister for storing/displaying cooking utensils that are either too big to fit in a drawer or things that I use on a regular basis.

Finally, I use an over-the-door towel rack and more hooks to store my oven mitt and potholder.

Stay tuned for the next post about utilizing drawer space!

#kitchen #home #organizing #storage #decorating