Part of having a kitchen that functions well for you is having it planned out properly. I wanted to give you a few of my tips for planning out your kitchen so that it flows well. You can have each cupboard organized, but if you have your dishes in with your food and your oven mitts way across the kitchen from your oven… then it isn’t going to function and flow smoothly.
1) Plan Your Space – Have Kitchen Zones

Be sure to keep zones in mind when planning where things belong in your kitchen.
Cooking/Oven zone – Think hot food on the stove & what you’ll need.

1) Have your oven mitts within reach of the oven.
2) Have pots and pans by the oven
3) Keep spices near by
4) Stove utensils such as spatulas, tongs, large stirring spoons etc.

1) Have your dishes between your dishwasher and table if possible.
2) Have your silverware near your dishes
3) Keep your glasses in this same area

kitchen
1) Have your flour, sugar, baking soda in this area
2) Have your mixer, measuring cups, mixing bowls near each other
3) It should be near the pantry and refrigerator if possible.

Peter Walsh describes in his book, It’s All Too Much, the kitchen “magic triangle” as the area formed by the sink, oven and refrigerator. He calls this area “sacred ground where the focus is food prep, serving and clean up takes place. (I’m cursed lucky enough to have a galley kitchen – 2 long rows)

kitchen triangleHe also discusses zones, but he divides them into four zones: Preparation area, cooking center, eating area and clean up area. Maybe that is easier for you to think in those terms.
2) Keep What You Use

Don’t keep everything! You may get plastic cups from every restaurant you go to, but how many can you use? Is the cupboard over flowing?

Go through any cupboard in your kitchen. Take everything out. Sort it. If you have not used that item in the last 1-2 months put it in one pile. Everything in the “used frequently” pile goes back in for sure.

Now go through that pile of items you have not used in the last 2-3 months. Go through it again. If you have not used that item in the last year then it sure go for sure. (If it is something like the electric knife that your husband wants at Thanksgiving – put it in the Thanksgiving bin that is in storage. Same with the pumpkin carving tools or Christmas only item.)
Things that you have used in the last year, but not often you need to evaluate.
3) Keep Like with Like

Keep items together that go together. Baking items in the same cabinet. Dishes together etc.

If you don’t use it in the kitchen – take it out of the kitchen! The kids baseballs don’t go in the kitchen.
4) Use Your Space Wisely

Make good use of your space. Use the cabinet doors & walls – I showed you how easy it can be with the command hooks. No excuses that you are renting or you have melamine and you can’t screw into it.

You can use wire racks to greatly improve the space. Look at the space in your cabinet. How much room is above that bottom layer on the shelf. Is there enough room for a 2nd layer? If so… use it!

Think under the cabinets, back of the door, wall space (shelves) Be creative
5) Have routine food checks and clean outs

Mark on your calendar at least every 6 months to clean and reorganize your pantry and refrigerator/freezer.

Check for out dated food items. Make sure things like flour and sugar, boxes of pancake mix, instant potatoes and Bisquick mix are in sealed containers and if not, be sure there are no bugs.

If you have any problems with mice (it’s not unusual especially if you live in rural areas…. mice want to get warm in the winter too. lol)then be sure that you always keep your food in sealed mouse proof containers. Check frequently your cabinets and silverware drawers for any signs of mice (their poo!) and if you see signs of them… work on getting rid of the mice, but be sure to wash out all those items and sanitize the drawer before you put anything back in.

If it is a big problem with mice, then I would suggest that you even keep your silverware and dishes in plastic storage containers in the cabinets.

Our farm that is about 45 minutes from our house has an older house and we do get mice off and on different times of the year. So I have to keep a close eye on dishes etc.

Do you have your kitchen divided into “zones”? Does it flow easily from preparing a meal to clean up?