Making Your Kitchen Work for You
Am I the only one that gets overwhelmed when things aren’t working exactly like I picture them in my mind? I think it’s safe to say that we have all been there. The biggest one I can think of in my life has been in my kitchen. What is with these kitchen layouts? I mean for real, the sink is on the smallest counter so there is no space beside it, and it’s on the other side of the kitchen from the biggest counter, which contains the stove? What’s with all the cabinets and drawers so far from the dishwasher? Or how about this one — the dishwasher on a separate wall from the sink? Seriously, who came up with that? It can really frustrate me, but I have come up with some simple ways to make the kitchen work for me.
Work with Like Items All at Once
It is not very often that we have time to spend an hour just unloading and loading the dishwasher, am I right? And who wants to?! I decided to try this — unload and load all like items. For example, the top rack is where most of the cups go in the dishwasher, and occasionally some get put in the bottom rack to make them all fit. It seems so simple, but I have met plenty of people who never even thought of this… gather all the cups first. After all, they are all going to the same place (most likely, and even if they aren’t, all the glasses are probably going together, all the plastic, etc.). Doing this simple thing saves repeat trips to the same part of the kitchen and minimizes the number of times and ways you have to rearrange the cabinet to fit them all in.
Cook Using Less
How many times do we get home from work/school/activities/shopping (because shopping is definitely important and good for the soul) and have just 20-30 minutes before we want to have dinner on the table? Oh, and don’t forget that after dinner Jenny has a project at a friend’s house and Timmy is supposed to go to the gym, so there will not be much time for cleanup. Easy solution — cook with less. During your prep, anytime you need to use a knife, rinse the one you just used. I have one rule of thumb when it comes to knives — 1 for meat, 1 for everything else. Check out these color-coded knives, then there is no mistaking which one is for meat and which is for other stuff.
Serve the Meal In What You Cooked It In
Another great way to save on cleanup time is to serve the food in the pots and pans it was cooked in. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to set my pretty glass bowls and serving trays on the table, but when it comes to crunch time and time with my family, I put the cork pads down on the table, the pot on top of that and the serving spoon in it. Voila! Dinner is served. Another quick tip (that until recently I have not been a huge fan of) for when you’re really in a hurry is to use paper (or plastic). No need to trail dirty dishes across the kitchen from the sink to the dishwasher on a night you’re in a hurry. And look, even paper can be cute. Of course, this is not for every meal. We still want to keep mealtime environmentally friendly, but it makes for a super quick, on-the-go cleanup.
Here’s another idea. Drag the trash can over to where you’re doing your prep work. Have to wash some veggies and then cut them on the opposite counter? I grab a clean dish towel (or paper towel), lay it on the counter next to the sink, wash the veggies, and take them all over to the larger counter in the dish towel. No mess, fewer trips, and your veggies are now washed as well as cut.
The kitchen and cooking don’t have to feel like a burden, nor should they! When company is in town, it is a special night, or maybe you just have a little time to spare, go ahead, dirty some extra dishes and set a gorgeous table. For all those other times, keep making quality time with your family the priority (even if it means you have to be quick).
When it comes to the layout of our kitchens, we can pin as many pictures as we want to of our dream kitchen. Reality is, in this moment, those aren’t our kitchens. We have to make the ones we have work. By using these simple tips and tricks we have now made a full meal and only dirtied 2 knives, a couple of pots and pans, and 3 serving utensils. Talk about quick cleanup, 10 minutes, max!
This is just a short list of ways I make my kitchen work for me, and so can you. If you have any tips or tricks please share them with us. We love to hear from you and love to learn from your wisdom.