The Kitchen: Where to Put All That Stuff

I have several friends who have bought new homes recently. Because they all know how I love to spend time in the kitchen, I have received several requests for suggestions on how to set up their new kitchens.

I myself have moved many times in my life; sometimes within the same town and sometimes clear across the country. The room that takes me longest to pack and unpack is… the kitchen. I do have an obsession with cooking tools and equipment. I freely admit it. I also have a weakness for pottery – especially bowls and serving dishes. So I am part of the problem in terms of the amount of stuff I have to move. That being said, each time I have moved, I try and create a more efficient kitchen.

My best advice is to make it as simple as possible. I choose the cabinet closest to the refrigerator to place my drinking glasses. I choose the cupboard closest to the table to put my dishes and the drawer under it for my silverware. Spices go in the cabinet above the stove along with my oils and vinegars for easy access. I always use the top drawer right next to the stove to put my oven mitts and potholders. I choose the cabinet above the workspace where I’ll be doing most baking to locate my flour, sugar, and other baking items. Coffee mugs near the coffee maker or visa versa. The less time you have to run around the kitchen to get the things you need, the easier your life will be. Make sense?

These suggestions may sound obvious but I can’t tell you the number of kitchens I have cooked in (at other people’s homes) where the oven mitts are on the opposite side of the kitchen than the oven. The glasses located on the opposite side of where the refrigerator is in the room. Now I have certainly been in the situation where I was trying to get things unpacked and put away as quickly as possible. So I didn’t think about where I was putting things or thought I would just change it later. I don’t know about you but once it’s all put away to rearrange it is an overwhelming task.

Now if you have the opportunity to re-design your kitchen, or your building your home and can decide where all the major appliances are placed, the first thing to keep in mind is the triangulation of the stove top, the sink, and the refrigerator. Those are the three major items that a cook uses in the kitchen so to have them conveniently located near each other is ideal. Of course having the dishwasher near the sink is important. Again I think the best advice is to keep it simple. Think about how to make your life as easy as possible in terms of having the things located in a way that makes it easy for you to cook. Keep in mind that whenever there is a social gathering people LOVE to be in the kitchen. So make a space for them to hang out and keep you company with out being in your way when you’re cooking. Better yet, have a space for them to chop or help without being in the flow of your workspace. A second sink is always a plus! Two dishwashers is a dream!

I love a good aesthetic as much as the next person. My perspective is to prioritize function in the kitchen and aesthetic in the dinning room. A balance of both is great but many times one is forced to prioritize one over the other.

So the bottom line – Keep it Simple! Take a moment to think about HOW you will use your kitchen based on where your appliances and sink(s) are located and arrange your kitchen stuff in the most convenient way. Some people like to draw it out, some people like to take post-it notes and put them around the kitchen before they start unpacking, whatever works for you it’s worth the extra step to make your life easier.