Make Your Kitchen More Functional

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Chances are that, when you moved into your home, you started unpacking boxes and selecting what seemed — at the time — like the best places for your possessions to live. But have you ever gone back and reevaluated your original choices both for functionality and convenience? You might be surprised by the changes the following considerations yield in your kitchen. Give it try!

REACH. Are most things within easy reach when you need them? For example, are pots, pans, spices, seasonings, oils and cooking utensils all clustered in close proximity to your stove? Are dishes, glasses and flatware near your dishwasher for easy emptying? Likewise, if you are constantly hauling out a stepping stool to climb for things, consider what you might swap from low to high.

GROUPING. When conducting particular tasks in your kitchen, do you find yourself moving all over the place to gather the things you need? Consider grouping and locating items for favored or repetitive tasks — such as baking, making kids’ lunches, or morning routine — rather than grouping by type of item.

DENSITY. Do you find yourself emptying cabinets or drawers every time you are looking for something? Do things fall out of cabinets when opened or drawers jam? You may have too much stuff in your kitchen, which means it’s time to start thinking about…

FREQUENCY. Every item in your kitchen has a distinct usage frequency. How much prime real estate are you giving away to lesser and seldom-used items? If you don’t use something at least once a week, consider finding a different storage solution to free up space for the things you use most often. At the same time, if you are always looking in your dirty dishwasher for that set of tongs or a veggie peeler, you might consider adding more of those items to your kitchen mix.

SEPARATION. While some items might benefit from grouping in your kitchen, others are better separated. For example, dedicating a single drawer for everything sharp — knives, scissors, graters, skewers, and so forth — can dramatically improve the safety of rummaging around in other spaces for the utensils you want.

SPECIALIZATION. Besides cooking and eating, what else do you typically do in your kitchen? Can you make space for supplies to support those tasks? If, for example, your kids do their homework at the kitchen table, you can help them to stay focused by dedicating a cabinet or drawer to all the things they might possibly need. Ditto for paying bills, wrapping gifts, family games, and so forth.

WASTED SPACE. Virtually every kitchen has some type of junk drawer — a repository for life’s miscellany that doesn’t quite rate its own place in the home, but you are hesitating to throw away. Consider reclaiming those wasted spaces for more functional uses. It forces you to find dedicated places for things you really want to keep and to discard the things you don’t.

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