How to Maximize Your Kitchen’s Efficiency

How to Maximize Your Kitchen’s Efficiency

Yes, I'm an interior designer who has designed homes with mega budgets. But here is the reality: I live in a 1990s home with an original 1990 kitchen; I’ve painted the oak pulls on my kitchen gray and added peel-and-stick wallpaper as a backsplash to jazz it up; some of the cabinet doors are hanging on by a thread, but hey, wood glue. 

My kids are elementary-aged and are starting to help in the kitchen. We routinely trip over each other as the morning arrives. As I unload the dishwasher, my husband tries to get coffee made in the corner I’m in front of, and the kids need me to move aside so they can get bowls and spoons.Then they deposit their dirty dishes into the dishwasher of clean dishes I’m unloading. 

It’s real life.

Whether you're planning your new kitchen cabinet layout or just re-organizing, maximizing the efficiency in your kitchen can make a huge difference in how you feel about your space. I found myself feeling desperate for change—the dysfunctionality of the current layout endlessly frustrated me.

What could I do to ease the frustration I felt every time our family of four worked together in the kitchen? 

I could help my clients out of any design dilemma with my out-of-the-box problem solving, so it was time to be my own client. I started by writing down each mealtime and what tasks each family member usually took on, then what tools, appliances, and food they needed to complete each task. 

What I ended up with were work zones. 

What are zones?

Zones are dedicated areas in your kitchen positioned according to how you use them. Having dedicated work zones maximizes functionality, versatility and assists with organizing. 

So how did we use zones to fix our kitchen?

 

4 Ways To Maximize Your Kitchen’s Efficiency

1) Create zones by grouping "like" objects by task type

Every object in your home serves a purpose. Creating zones considers your lifestyle and makes life easier by separating your appliances, tools, and items in a way that makes sense. Here are some examples of zones and the way you can fit them into your own home.

  • Coffee: Caffeine-driven residents need an easy way to grab their morning coffee or tea. Positioning this zone close to the breakfast table along with water, mugs, tea, and spoons will kickstart the morning right.
  • Cooking: Group your pots, pans and oven mitts nearby. Inset shelves or drawers can hold spices, oils, and utensils.
  • Baking: Place baking utensils, measuring cups, bowls, cookie trays, and other baking equipment in a drawer or cabinet. A low counter may also be a good investment if you frequently knead dough.
  • Snacking: Store snacks away from the fridge and cooking areas and outside the main workspace, so kids can grab them when needed without disturbing meal prep.
  • Cleaning: Put cleaning sprays, garbage bags, and other essentials in a cabinet or pull-out shelf next to the sink.
  • Table-setting: Have cutlery drawers, dishes, and cups in cabinetry or on shelves close to the table and dishwasher. Ideally, this is also on the outer edge of the kitchen, so as not to impede a cooking or chopping work zone.

2) A place for everything

When everything is grouped by like items, you can find organizers specifically built to make those items more accessible, such as, tray dividers for a deep cabinet that store cookie trays and cutting boards, making it easier to grab.

After grouping everything, I imagined our busiest kitchen time, which happens to be dinner, and sketched out our existing kitchen to create a zone for each task. For me, this meant moving all the dishes and glasses from the traditional upper cabinets to the pantry (located out of the main workspace and subsequently closer to the table itself). It was like my magic. Now whoever sets the table never enters the cooking or prep areas.

3) Bring everything forward

Rather than digging through low, 24" deep cabinets, add a pull-out shelf with low sides, use bin/baskets that contain “like” items, or install a heavier duty organizer like Richelieu's Magic Corner to locate items easier.

4) Minimize stacking

Stacking makes it harder to access dishes. By adding more shelves to a cabinet versus stacking a tower of dishes in a vertical space, you’ll have fewer dishes in a stack and easier access to them.

Maximizing the space in your kitchen isn’t difficult. It just takes a little time and organizing it in a way that works with how you live.

My point here is: think about how you use your space. With thought and some planning, a little game of musical cabinets might make a world of difference and save you a whole lot of cash until it’s time for “The Big Makeover.”

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about our services! Our team of Designers are ready to assist you in getting un-stuck so you can make your house your dream home.

xo Leanne