It’s been said for a long time that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and I’d have to agree. We spend so much time gathered in our kitchen around our island. Whether it’s just my husband or I or a group of twenty friends or several family members, our kitchen truly is the place where we always gather. It’s funny how kitchens have this effect on people. I believe it’s because we were designed to gather and share in community and life with others by breaking bread together. I am a firm believer that community and breaking bread with one another is vital for our holistic health and wellbeing. Research has shown that those who live in community and have strong support systems have less depression, stress, and are at a lower risk for various preventable diseases. Creating a functional kitchen space as a means to foster this type of gathering will make hosting and breaking bread together with friends and family easier and less stressful for all involved. It doesn’t have to be perfect- just purposeful.
Now- we won’t always have people other than ourselves or our immediate family gathered in our kitchen, but even if it’s just you and your little tribe, it’s important that your kitchen space is a place you enjoy being in because after all, we all need to eat to live. Having a place that makes sense for you to make healthy meals to stay on track with your health goals is so important.
So, how do we create a functional kitchen space that we can enjoy but that also makes sense for the needs of us and our families?
Curating an organized kitchen space takes time and energy, but the effort spent on the front end is far outweighed by the functionality and ease of using your space on the back end after all that hard work. One of the biggest tips I tell people when organizing their kitchen space is to think about where they place their items. Think about the placement of your plates, bowls, cups, silverware, baking dishes, cutting boards, spices, cooking utensils, etc. You do not want to have to walk to the other side of the kitchen to grab a wooden spoon out of a drawer while cooking at your stovetop. Instead, think proactively and have a crock right next to your stove with utensil essentials that are quick and easy to grab while cooking.
When re-organizing or setting up your kitchen, think ahead to the tasks you will be doing in that space on a daily basis and how to ease and simplify the process. If you have a dishwasher, perhaps you will use a cabinet near the dishwasher to place all of your plates and bowls for ease of unloading the dishwasher.
Purposeful placement also involves placing like items together in drawers and cabinets. Keep all of your utensils together or all of your serving dishes in one cabinet. For example, I have a drawer of all of our glass storage containers and their lids along with our Pyrex or Corningware baking dishes that have storage lids- anything that is glass and has a lid for storage is placed in this drawer. Keep like items together.
Knowing where everything is and maintaining this purposeful placement will cut down on prep time and ease your mind when you are in the kitchen cooking and preparing.
Cleaning out the fridge is one of my least favorite home chores. It’s never pleasant to deal with old, yucky food that is expired or having to wipe down sticky shelves. Instead of letting your fridge/freezer space get really out of hand and gross, try to do a quick inventory, toss, and clean each week before going to the grocery store.
Knowing exactly what is in our fridge and taking a quick inventory weekly not only will keep your fridge fresh, but also help you to save money by not wasting food or re-buying mustard for the third time. We’ve all done it, right?!
If you really want to take it to the next level, purchase some produce storage containers that you can use to keep your fresh produce in each week. Containers like this not only help to preserve your produce so it’ll last longer, but it also gives your fridge an aesthetically pleasing and organized look, which goes a long way. It’s nice to be able to open the fridge and find exactly what you are looking for without having to take five things out to get to the container in the way back.
And just like your cabinets and drawers, keep like items together in your fridge. Keep your eggs in the same place, milk, drinks, produce, meat, etc. This keeps your fridge organized and predictable and optimizes your space, too.
DON’T DIG, DECLUTTER
Clutter. It’s in all of our homes but how do we get a handle on it? That’s the infamous question, right? How often do we just cram that random item in a drawer or cabinet because we aren’t quite sure what to do with it. I am so guilty of this myself.
For years I have been saying that I don’t want to be a stuff manager. When I think of all the stuff I have and having to manage it, it gives me anxiety. How often do we just move and relocate our stuff from one area to another without really actually using said stuff?!
Give your kitchen a thorough once over and toss or donate anything that you no longer use, need, or has seen it’s day. No use in keeping old, worn out items that you would never use anyway.
Make sure that everything is clearly visible and easy to grab in your cabinets and drawers. Having to take items out and shuffle everything around to get to an item in the back is not only frustrating but it also takes up time and inevitably makes us not enjoy being in the kitchen as much.
Keeping a clean, organized, and functional kitchen space could be the difference between you loathing being in the kitchen to cook and prepare food and finding enjoyment and ease in being in this space of your home. It could also be the difference in you continuing to spend money going out to eat and making unhealthy food choices and getting on track with your health goals by meal planning and preparing healthy meals at home. I hope these tips will give you the boost of motivation and inspiration to curate a space you love to be in; a place to prepare healthy, fresh food and fellowship with your community and family.
If you desire to create a kitchen space of your dreams but aren’t sure where to begin or how to tackle such a daunting task, check out our ‘Healthy Eating Made Simple Bundle’ that includes a personalized two-hour kitchen re-haul where I come to your home and help you execute all of the above tasks so that you can have a fresh and functional kitchen that you enjoy being in! Having a space you enjoy and that is functional is so crucial in helping you achieve your health and wellness goals.