The heartbeat of my home is my kitchen! AND it also happens to be in the center of my home so that anyone entering our home find themselves smack dab in the middle of my kitchen “bizness”! This hub of activity is most likely the same at your home….that is to say, the very place that all meals are prepared, snacks are nibbled and lots of entertaining, whether formal or informal or just plain cozy. The kitchen space is the place it all happens. And with those thoughts comes the need for my kitchen to not only be functional, but to look pretty as well. I want, …no, I need… the kitchen space where I spend most of my time to be a space that I enjoy. A work space that is easily maintained, manageable and Mahvelous!
So with that in mind, I will share with you a few ways that I manage and maintain my kitchen.
I love to decorate… and my kitchen is no exception. My first thoughts are to bring in items that I love. However, I have to be careful because if I allowed myself to do that….there would not be any room in my kitchen to prepare meals. I would have lots and lots of pretty “stuff”.
Many kitchens have both great and not-so-great features and one of the not-so-great features in my “comfy” kitchen, is the area around my cook top. You see, my cook top is an island…with literally no space to the right of the stove top (well, about 5 inches) and on the left side I have about 2 feet of counter top….so I do as most of us do…we make the best of what we have.
Let me share with you a few of the tips I have found helpful in my own kitchen when creating a work space and a pretty space.
Because my kitchen is surrounded by doors…it is very easy to fall into the habit of walking in the door and depositing mail, papers, keys, magazines and yes even my purse onto the counter. Not only does it look unsightly, I find it difficult to cook with clutter around. So, I have made it clear to my loved ones AND myself….do not use the counters as a dumping ground.
Also, keep your counter tops sparkling clean. It’s harder to clutter them up when they look so neat and shiny….whatever the surface, cleaned off counter tops will give you a good feeling.
- Removing Appliances:
Another tip or trick I use is to stow away all appliances….at least the ones that you do not use every day. Pretty as they are, too many appliances can make your kitchen look cluttered.
I am fortunate to have lots of counter space and cabinets and to prevent me from utilizing every single inch of counter top space with every single appliance I own….we come up with a solution. Several years ago, the Captain installed roll out shelves in all the bottom cabinets. These shelves hold items like the toaster, coffee pot, the pressure cooker, the electric mixer, the slow cooker, plastic storage bowls, pots and pans and lids and other items. The shelves make it so easy to pull out and reach that lid or hand mixer without getting down on hands and knees. Roll out shelves can be found at any home improvement store and are very reasonable in price. If you don’t want to put in roll out shelves….perhaps you can store your seldom used appliances out of sight. We have a cupboard in the garage for any overflow…and lets face it….the few steps I have to take are good exercise.
- Create task stations:
Example: My coffee maker is put away in a bottom cabinet because I mostly drink hot tea. It is so easy to bring it out when I need to make coffee. Directly above the counter top, in the upper cabinet… are cups, sugar, creamer, teas etc. I like to keep everything in the same area to complete a task.
I do the same with my baking station, see above pic. I like to use the large counter top beside my pull out pantry shelves, which are on the right. The drawers below hold rolling pins, cookie cutters, measuring cups and spoons and everything I need to bake/make a recipe. My microwave is also a built-in below this counter top which makes it very handy. Above the double ovens, I store cookie sheets and baking pans in a slotted organizer. One other tip I use, The Captain installed hooks inside the cabinet doors above the ovens and below the cook top to hold hot pads. This not only saves me countless steps, everything is organized which saves time too.
I also keep my oils, salts and peppers in one area next to my stove top… where they are ready to be used when I’m cooking on the stove top. Many of my spices are labeled and on the door at the bottom left of the stove top which comes in very handy when seasoning food. If I need more exotic spices, all I have to do is turn around and the upper cabinet holds labeled spice drawers. No more searching for spices.
Another handy feature in my kitchen is the metal caddy that holds my every day Fiesta dinnerware. It is not only within easy reach of my stove top, it is close to the dishwasher for ease in unloading.
- Have one designated prep and work area.
I touched on my large counter top above…as my baking station. All cooks need a workspace with room to work! And the bigger the better. If you have a large space or island, that’s probably your best surface to do prep work. Some kitchens do not have islands or specialized prep areas and if that is the case in your kitchen, the need for clearing and removing items from your counters becomes a necessity. The more cleared counter space you have the more area you have to prep, bake and cook!
I have several cutting boards for various uses, but I keep a large butcher block cutting board near my work area. I also have a “garbage bowl” that I use for food scraps, that saves me steps to the trash can. My knives occupy a single drawer and everything is within easy reach.
- Create a pretty focal point or vignette
You knew this was coming didn’t you? I have to confess that there are times that I have used my whole prep/work space counter to display seasonal decor. I have also found that by doing so… it hampers my cooking and I end up moving it all to one side which can be a chore. So, limiting my “pretty stuff ” is more conducive to a more functional kitchen. Which leads me to my last suggestion.
- Use items you truly love in your kitchen:
The kitchen is where I spend the majority of my time, so I need to surround myself with things that make me smile. When testing and creating recipes, I want and need to be inspired. Fragrant smelling herbs in a small white vase or fresh flowers from my Secret Garden are wonderful, sensory inspirations. And yes, amazingly real looking faux flowers can do the same.
So that about covers my kitchen…..
My dear readers, how do you manage and maintain your kitchen?
Have a great day…and as always Hugs and blessings!