GETTING IT TOGETHER: YOUR KITCHEN ORGANIZATION ACCESS GUIDE
It is the New Year and your resolution is to finally do what you have been promising yourself, for what has seemed like forever – get organized!
It takes more than merely wanting to get it done – you need to take action. So whether you get the assistance of a designer or you do it yourself, we have some recommendations from a few experts on how to get your space in order.
“The most common complaint among homeowners is there isn’t a spot for all the stuff that comes through the door,” said Stacy Lores, Cabinet Designer, Ashland Millwork, Inc., near Chicago.
As the hub of your home, the kitchen becomes the landing place for family items – mail, shoes, toys, backpacks – and when you put all these together with the rest of the kitchen clutter, it can become a little overwhelming.
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
“The key to getting organized is planning to stay organized and build it into the planning process,” said Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS, of JG Kitchens in Tampa, Fla.
“Create a landing zone near the kitchen for each family member to put their belongings when they come into the home, a space that has outlet accessibility and closed storage for mail. This prevents countertops from becoming the landing zone.
“And when you plan the space, personalize it for each family member, so if the kids have a 12” wide backpack, you have enough room for them to tuck it into the cubby when they get home,” said Goldberg.
However, if you don’t have a large space to spare for cubbies or to add a mudroom, Lores suggests an alternate solution for putting everything into place; assign everyone a drawer and dedicate charging stations for cell phones and MP3 players behind a door, so the kitchen remains clutter free.
It may also be a good idea to make the drawers relatively small. It can take a while to fill a 36” drawer with junk – but if you only allow half the space, everyone will be forced to clean out their drawers more frequently.
ACCESS TO EVERYTHING
Another suggestion is to keep kitchen items used more frequently in easily accessible locations, near point of use.
“It’s really about access,” said Susan Serra, CKD, of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., in Huntington, N.Y.
“There are creative and interesting ways to combine access and function to help keep everything organized,” said Sera, who believes that creating efficient storage solutions that allow easy access to the objects will make life in the kitchen much simpler.
“Kitchen essentials that are accessed more often should be at eye level; items you use less frequently at waist level and everything else at the top,” said Lores.
“You can make better use of your cabinet space if you use the space above the refrigerator or ventilation hood for things that you don’t use daily. This frees your prime kitchen real estate for items that you use more frequently,” said Goldberg.
Goldberg also recommends adding dry food storage areas near cold food storage to make unloading groceries easier, adding rollout trays to give a better view of drawer contents or taking advantage of the unused space in the kitchen, like the range backsplash, to store utensils, or the backs of closet doors.
Most homeowners feel that their kitchen is too small and they do not have enough space. Using the hidden space for storage provides the storage needed but does not add to the clutter or take up space in cooking or prep areas.
HAVING TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING
Another common problem that leads to disorganization is excess.
“Over time, people seem to accumulate multiple items of the same things, especially in large kitchens, whether it’s pots, plates or cooking utensils. And what happens when you accumulate things if you are not organized efficiently? It becomes chaos,” said Serra.
If you cannot see it, then you will not use it. It is important to go through your stuff frequently and eliminate anything you do not use, so you can have better access to those things you do use.
Cooking can be stressful enough, especially when you are trying to prepare dinner for five in 15 minutes, check homework and provide needed counseling, all at the same time.
“When you add clutter and disorganization to the process, it just makes the experience much more stressful instead of a pleasurable experience,” said Sera.
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