Stacey, I would like to know if there is a “right way” to organize a kitchen? I’ve heard that the dishes should go close to the dishwasher, etc. Are there guidelines such as this that I should consider?
-Anonymous, Charleston, SC
First off, I can’t say that there’s a “right way” to organize a kitchen. For some, placing the dishes in the cabinets over the dishwasher area would make sense, but what if you don’t have cabinets directly over the dishwasher and you need to place them somewhere else. In that case, I would say, place them as close to where you use them. That’s just one example.
I can say, however, that the key to organizing any space is to think in terms of zones. Here are the recommended zones for a kitchen and what lives in those zones.
Zone One: Food preparation
Locate near: Sink/Trashcan
Materials needed: Spice rack, mixing bowls, measuring cups, wooden spoons, knives, cutting board, and miscellaneous appliances (mixer, chopper, blender)
Zone Two: Cooking
Locate near: Stove
Materials needed: Pots and pans and utensils
Zone Three: Cleaning
Locate near: Sink/Dishwasher
Materials needed: Trashcan, soap, and sponges
Zone Four: Food storage
Locate near: Refrigerator
Materials needed: Tupperware® or Glad Ware®
Zone Five: Serving
Locate near: Kitchen table or eating area
Materials needed: Serving dishes, plates, bowls, glassware,utensils, and napkins
Zone Six: Workspace/Family Communications Center
Locate near: Telephone/Desk Area (if you have one)
Materials needed: Portable file box or pull-out file holder for incoming mail/bills, pens, pencils, paper, family calendar. Note: The Workspace/Family Communications Center in the kitchen should contain ONLY active paperwork. The portable file box should have a home, take it out when you use it, and put it away when finished. File paid bills and other Reference materials (that don’t require Action but need to be saved) in a file cabinet in an office space. Or, better yet, scan them and shred/discard the hard
Note: A key clutter issue in the kitchen is simply having too much that isn’t used on a regular basis. If that’s the case and you’re crunched for space, consider placing baking items, for example, in a clear labeled container and store them outside of the kitchen. Now, of course, you wouldn’t want to do this if you bake on a regular basis, but it may be that serving platters aren’t used regularly, so store those in another area. Give priority to the space in your kitchen to items used regularly.