As someone who spends most of your time cooking, the kitchen is like your place of refuge. It is an outlet where you pour out your heart into every meal and each recipe you make. Your kitchen is also the heart of your home. You do not only cook and prepare food there. You also spend ample time talking and bonding with your family over simple or hearty meals.
But as a homemaker, who has a long list of daily chores, managing your kitchen can be a little harder and exhausting. The clutter has piled up on the countertop after preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is a daily scenario in your kitchen, causing you to sigh every single day.
Here are some ways to help you minimize the clutter and maximize efficiency in your kitchen.
Divide Kitchen Into Stations
Regardless of size, it is essential to divide your kitchen into five different stations. You can set up a preparation station, cooking station, cleaning station, food, and non-food storage station.
You can store your everyday dishes near your dishwasher and sink, which serve as your cleaning zone. Your prep tools, such as mixing bowls, knives, and chopping blocks, can be stored closer to your preparation zone. It will be easier to access them while you are preparing some ingredients.
The cooking station is where you make your food and should be free of unnecessary clutters. Perishable products should be placed near your food storage station while you put plastic containers in your non-food storage station.
With each station serving its purpose, you will be able to perform kitchen tasks more efficiently. It will also lessen the mess on your countertop by using the appropriate station. Divided stations also minimize hassle and save time, whether you’re preparing, cooking, or cleaning your kitchen.
Categorize Kitchen Utensils
To maintain efficiency in your divided stations, you have to categorize your kitchen utensils. It is a continuation of setting up stations in your kitchen.
First, identify the essential tools you need for each station. Once identified, categorize them into most used and rarely used items. Place your most frequently used items at the front of every station’s assigned storage for easier access. Bowls and glasses you use for special occasions can be stored in a hidden corner, whereas you place everyday favorites within your reach.
Categorizing your kitchen utensils can reduce stress because everything is in place. You don’t have to look at the wrong storage, especially when you are in a hurry. Returning your kitchen tools after use will also be trouble-free.
Invest On Kitchen Organizers
You need enough storage to accommodate all the essential items in your kitchen. Without proper storage, every organizational skill you learn will be put to waste. Apart from setting up stations and categorizing your tools, you have to invest in kitchen organizers.
Most homemakers tend to maximize whatever is available at home. Practicality-wise, there is nothing wrong with that. However, it will encourage you to keep more junks that occupy more space in your kitchen.
With the right kitchen organizers, like ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets, you can maximize your storage without worrying too much about the cost. They are flexible to use and make organizing your kitchen much more manageable.
Prepare A Daily Menu
Kitchen layout and accessories are only external factors for better efficiency. They are essential, but at the end of the day, the more significant factor lies in you. Organizing your kitchen does not end with putting every item in the order. It also involves planning your kitchen tasks ahead of time.
Preparation is another key to efficiency. When you have already planned the menu for the day, you can have more time to prepare the essential tools and ingredients. It will keep you from rushing and making your kitchen messy. Aside from that, preparing your menu ahead of time helps you manage your resources more efficiently.
Check Your Kitchen Equipment Regularly
Another factor that can contribute to efficiency is the quality of your kitchen equipment. You have organized every part of your kitchen and already planned the menu. But it turns out that your knife, pressure cooker, and oven are not working properly.
Any damaged equipment can significantly contribute to your kitchen’s efficiency. Instead of moving on with your tasks, you could end up spending more time fixing or trying to use these defective kitchen tools. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you maintain and check the quality of your kitchen essentials regularly to save time and maximize productivity.
Maximizing efficiency in your kitchen is not a one-time deal. It requires constant discipline and deliberate effort. You have to master the skills of planning and organizing. It may sound strenuous, but it is worth your time and effort.
Jen Lin-Liu is the founder of Black Sesame Kitchen. A Chinese-American writer and a nationally certified Chinese chef in Beijing. Jen is the author of two memoirs, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta.