This week I have a series of questions to ask you all.
- What do you like about your kitchen?
- What do you dislike?
- Do you have things from past generations that don’t give you any value other than family devotion?
- If you are sharing your home – do you have a lot of duplicate items?
- Are you using chipped plates and cracked cups/glasses?
- Is the lighting adequate?
- How much of every day is spent looking for things?
- Do you have adequate storage for the things you need in the kitchen?
- Are there things in your kitchen that don’t belong there?
- Are you making use of all of the storage areas in your kitchen (top shelves/under sink area etc)?
- Do you have clear worktop space to prepare meals or is that taken over with paperwork, unused gadgets, work things?
- Are the things in your kitchen the right size for your family? For example: do you have a two slice toaster but live with your partner and three children? Are there two of you in the house but you have 26 odd cups (some chipped)? Is the rubbish bin overflowing because it is too small?
As you look around your kitchen, if you see other points I haven’t mentioned please write them down too, perhaps you have an incoming damp patch you really meant to get fixed or the bulb under the extractor fan still hasn’t been replaced. Does the washing machine door leak?
Now you’re not just standing there saying “my kitchen is a mess” you’ve got specific points to work on.
Although much clutter can accumulate over time, a kitchen can fall into disarray from the very start. You move into your new home and you bundle things into cupboards and drawers in an effort to quickly get unpacked and settled. In many cases a friend or relative is doing this for you or even someone you’ve hired to help with the move. You get used to this hap-hazzard arrangement and it sticks.
Now basically, now you’ve listed what you dislike you simply go about changing it.
Throw away those stained tea-towels and chipped cups. Look under the sink – if you’ve three started bottles of cream cleaner or bleach can you decant them all into one? (same product, don’t mix chemicals or you could end up with no end of explosions).
Do all of your plastic storage pots have lids? Do you in fact use them? Did you buy them five years ago for carrying home made soup to work in and are yet to make any? If they’re just taking space them ditch them.
Don’t forget what’s in your drawers too. Consider throwing away Aunt Florence’s ancient potato peeler. If she were alive today would she have a new one? Would she also wonder what on earth was wrong with you for keeping such a rusty antique?
If you have little gadgets that you can’t identify then toss them too – if you can’t remember the last time you used your melon baller or bean slice then get rid of it.
Did you use the pasta maker once 9 years ago when you had Italian exchange students and are yet to do it again as it was such a palaver? Get shot of that too.
Of course you’ll need to consider some items carefully but don’t let indecision slow down your progress. If you need to make a decision with your partner then make a list of these items and choose an opportune time to discuss them – not in the middle of a blazing row. “… and while we’re at it, what do you want to do with Aunt Lorna’s tea service?...” is not ideal.
If you’re not using all of the shelves of the kitchen or even the top of the cabinets as they’re too high to comfortably reach then consider getting a stepping-stool. You can even get a tiny one that folds flat and sits in the gap between your washing machine and dishwasher.
When storing thing on open shelves or cabinets, only store pretty things, if it’s something ugly empty jars ready for jamming in the summer or food items then consider placing them in a basket. A row of baskets looks far prettier than bulging knotted carrier bags.
Set yourself a target “I’d like to get at three bin liners for the charity shop” before you begin and try desperately to reach it.
Good luck and feel free to ask if you’ve any queries.