I had a quiet snicker to myself when I joined the blog and was assigned “Simple Kitchen” posts. Why? I have to rein myself in on a regular basis. I can take a baked potato and turn it into an all-night affair. There’s just something excessive about my personality, and I have to temper myself constantly.
Or maybe this is God’s way of making me watch over myself and keep in line.
Then there’s the small fact that my kitchen is . . . well, small. I can’t house everything I’d like to have. And although I love to cook, I have to remind myself that I only have four burners on the stove and don’t need three sets of pans.
With all these reminders you’d think that I have it all under control, but each year I do my best to clean through all of my “unnecessaries.”
So I decided for the New Year to make some changes in my kitchen, and I thought I’d share them with you. As I see it, there are two types of changes to be made: organizing and cleaning.
Here are a few organizing ideas:
- Use a tension rod across the cabinet under the sink and hang your spray bottles on it for easy access. (This won’t work in my cabinets—they don’t have dividers—but it’s a fabulous idea nonetheless.)
- Use photo protectors and sheet protectors to store recipes. The plastic is easy to wipe clean of splatters and both store easily in a three-ring binder. (They also lie flat on the cabinet when you’re cooking and are very easy to add to.)
- Use a serving tray as a shelf divider. Make sure the tray will fit into your cabinet. Line it with a non-skid shelf liner so the dishes/glasses stay put and their rims are protected. Large glasses go upside down on the shelf, set the tray on top, and arrange the smaller glasses upside down on top of tray.
- Arrange your kitchenware by frequency of use, with everyday dishes on an easy-to-reach lower shelf and special-occasion pieces up above.
And now for the clean up:
- Single-Use Appliances and Tools—how often do you really use them?
I have a smaller crock pot that cooks a perfect pot of chili. I use it at least once a week in the summertime, even more in the winter. It’s definitely a useful item in my kitchen. I have a large one (that I inherited from my mother in law) that I have used only once in the last four years. It’s time for it to go. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just a little big for what I cook and thereby unnecessary.
- Clear through Your Unnecessary Multiples
Most of us need to have a few mixing bowls, measuring cups, and knives. But there are multiples in our kitchens that are redundant and just take up precious space in a small kitchen. These include bottle openers, peelers, ladles, pots and pans, spatulas, colanders, and tongs, to name a few. That’s not to say that you should get rid of all of the extras if you truly use these. I have one peeler but five spatulas. And I like it that way. Keep the balance that works for you, but get rid of all the multiples that you don’t use to make your kitchen time easier.
- The One-Year Rule
Some people—like my mom—use their garlic press every day; some people—like me—think that owning one is useless. Don’t get rid of anything that you actually use, but don’t keep things because you think you should have one to have a complete kitchen. If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. There are exceptions of course. There may be cookware that you don’t use but every few years—like a turkey frying pot. Family heirlooms fall into this category, as well.
I’ll be the first to admit that I fall in love with kitchen items. I love dishes and plates and gadgets. But having a small space limits how many of these treasures that I can actually have. I pared down last year. I’m about to do it again. Why? Because it makes for a brighter and more functional space to cook. And that’s what I really love.