In most homes, the kitchen is the true soul of the home. From preparing birthday and holiday celebrations to hanging out at the kitchen table gabbing with family over late-night bowls of ice cream, the kitchen is more than a place to prepare food — it is a nurturing and relaxing space where memories are created.
To honor the kitchen for its role as heart of the home, make sure it is functioning as efficiently as possible. In addition to staying on top of the dishes and cleaning out the science experiments from the back of the fridge, make sure the kitchen and its tools and appliances are well organized. With that in mind, check out these tips:
Use space to the fullest
Many kitchens have at least one cupboard devoted to pots and pans. As Good Housekeeping notes, instead of constantly schlepping to the cupboard to drag heavy utensils over to the stove, consider storing them in the often blank area above your stovetop. You can either hang them from heavy duty hooks or place them on open shelving.
This way, you are not only taking advantage of unused space—and possibly freeing up a cupboard in the process—you are also placing your most-used tools right where you actually use them.
Tame those plastic grocery bags
Every time you go shopping, you probably come home with a small mountain of plastic grocery bags. While they are handy as lunch carriers or small trash bags, they are unsightly and hard to store.
The next time you empty a box of tissues, don’t toss the box in the recycle can. Instead, stuff as many plastic bags as you can into the box. You can easily pull out the bags as you need them, but they will be stored in a much more compact and organized way.
Rethink the way you load your dishwasher
Most of us simply load the plates, spoons and coffee mugs into our dishwashers, add some detergent and let the appliance do its thing. But according to an article on Martha Stewart’s website, the way we load our dishes can really affect how well they are cleaned and how long our stuff will last.
First, note where the water supply comes from and if there are one or two distributors. This will prevent you from unwittingly blocking water flow by placing a cookie sheet in front of the distributor.
Also, place heavy items such as pots and pans and sturdy dishes on the bottom rack, where the water pressure and heat are more intense, and put the glasses and mugs on the top rack in between the prongs. When loading silverware, try to keep silver and stainless steel separate, as the metals can interact and stain the pieces during the cycle.
It is also important to make sure your dishwasher is in good working order; the last thing you want is to have it conk out mid-cycle. It’s worth looking into a comprehensive home warranty from a reputable company such as TotalProtect. The warranty will cover inevitable repair and replacement costs of not only the dishwasher, but also the fridge, range and other important appliances and home systems that keep the kitchen running smoothly.
Organize your spices
If you do a lot of cooking, you probably spend a lot of time searching for the garlic powder and oregano. While some people love organizing their spice bottles on a lazy Susan, another idea is to use a free-standing spice drawer that can hang out on your counter.
For example, Jet.com sells nifty three-drawer spice organizer that will hold 30 full size or 60 half-size spice bottles. When you need parsley, simply pull down the tilt-down shelf and easily spot the bottle you need. You might find that it’s easier to read labels when the bottles are lying flat than when they are spinning on a lazy Susan.