Planning for a clutter-free kitchen – Metro US

Planning for a clutter-free kitchen

Store tools, appliances where you use them

andrew stawicki/torstar news service

This file photo shows a vignette of a “work centre,” in this case a countertop area where food is prepared. All the implements one would use in this area are stored on the backsplash within easy reach. When you think of your kitchen in terms of different functional areas, and then store related tools, appliances and ingredients near that area, you reduce clutter and frustration.

Kitchen décor looks a thousand times better when your kitchen is well organized. The design team knows that even the most stylish kitchen can be ruined by the clutter of everyday living. And we have some great kitchen organization tips to keep the good-looking kitchen looking even better.

First of all, keep in mind that kitchen organization is highly personal — it must fit you and your needs. The first thing to do is to determine your needs in the kitchen.

Do you bake a lot? Do you engage many little helpers in the kitchen as you cook? Do you have a lot of company? Factors such as these will help you determine how to best organize your kitchen.

Once you have identified your needs, you fit them into functional areas or work centres, where you do most of your work. In a kitchen, tasks typically include washing dishes, cooking at the stove, serving food, washing and preparing vegetables and mixing ingredients. You may have more tasks to add to this list, depending on your needs.

The important thing about work centres is that you store the appliances, tools and ingredients you need for that function near that area. If you don’t, you’ll just get frustrated as you repeatedly trek from one corner of the kitchen to the other to gather what you need.

A good way to decide what belongs in your work centres is to list on paper your kitchen appliances and tools and divide them up among your work centres.

Some functional areas will overlap in most kitchens. For example, a dishwashing area should include the dishwasher, the sink for rinsing dishes, the compost and garbage containers, dishwasher soap and sponges and washcloths, and also space to store drying racks. Ideally, the dishwasher should be close to the cupboards used to store crockery, glasses and cutlery.

A food preparation area is also centred around the sink where vegetables are washed and prepared. Access to water and to compost and garbage must be close. Here is a good place to store commonly used vegetables such as onions and potatoes.

Another functional area would be the cooking area, and here, accessibility to pots, oils, spices and cooking utensils such as spatulas and cooking spoons is important. At least three feet of countertop is helpful in this area. Easy access to a fridge is handy for gathering ingredients such as butter or milk, and access to the sink is also great for filling pots with water.

A mixing area might be used primarily for baking, and should also include at least three feet of counter space. This area should be close to the cabinets used to store dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, spices and small appliances. Electrical outlets are important in this area as well.

Arrange appliances and dishes so frequently used dishes are closest to the front and less frequently used ones are at the back. If you haven’t used something for a long time, consider getting rid of it. Concentrate on the basics, and store infrequently used things in another room, like the garage or a cold storage space.

Above all, keep up the effort to stamp out clutter in your kitchen. When everything has a place, the stylish kitchen waiting in the wings will emerge — believe us.

Jeffrey Fisher & Tammy Schnurr


Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.

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