Every once in a while, I survey my readers to find out what challenges they’re experiencing when it comes to organizing in the home. This question is something I think challenges everyone, so I wanted to share some tried-and-true solutions for organizing the kitchen for healthier eating.
Stacey, I would like to know if there is a “right way” to organize a kitchen. I’ve heard that the dishes should go close to the dishwasher, etc. Are there guidelines such as this that I should consider?
-Anonymous, Charleston, SC
First off, I can’t say that there’s a “right way” to organize a kitchen. For some, placing the dishes in the cabinets over the dishwasher area would make sense, but what if you don’t have cabinets directly over the dishwasher and you need to place them somewhere else? In that case, I would say, place them as close to where you use them as possible. That’s just one example!
I can say, however, that the key to organizing any space is to think in terms of zones. Here are the recommended zones for a kitchen and what lives in those zones.
Zone One: Food preparation
Locate near: Sink/Trashcan
Materials needed: Spice rack, mixing bowls, measuring cups, wooden spoons, knives, cutting board, and miscellaneous appliances (mixer, chopper, blender)
Zone Two: Cooking
Locate near: Stove
Materials needed: Pots and pans and utensils
Zone Three: Cleaning
Locate near: Sink/Dishwasher
Materials needed: Trashcan, soap, and sponges
Zone Four: Food storage
Locate near: Refrigerator
Materials needed: Reusable containers.
Zone Five: Serving
Locate near: Kitchen table or eating area
Materials needed: Serving dishes, plates, bowls, glassware, utensils, and napkins
Zone Six: Workspace/Family Communications Center
This system is mostly for parents with school-age children who (still) bring home lots of paperwork, including homework, field trip announcements, fund-raising forms, etc. But if parents are still old-schooling it with paper copies of bills and receipts, this will be handy for you too!
Locate near: Telephone/Desk Area (if you have one)
Materials needed: Portable file box or pull-out file drawer for incoming school paperwork, mail/bills, pens, pencils, paper, and family calendar. Note: The Workspace/Family Communications Center in the kitchen should contain ONLY active paperwork. The portable file box should have a home, take it out when you use it, and put it away when finished. File paid bills (or better yet, scan them and shred the hard copy) and other Reference materials (that don’t require action but need to be saved) in a file cabinet in an office space.
Tip: A key clutter issue in the kitchen is simply having too many cups, dishes, utensils, etc. that aren’t used on a daily basis. If that’s the case, consider downsizing to what you truly only need and use regularly. Use the GOPACK Method to help you with this task.
When we can access things quickly and make space in the kitchen for only what we use on a regular basis, we are moving toward creating a healthier kitchen.