Kitchens can be cramped rooms overflowing with things you rarely use – often at the expense of things you do.
Chipped bowls and plates you’d be embarrassed to serve from languish at the back of cupboards making it impossible to find a home for more essential items like the new dishwasher your kitchen deserves.
Well no more! Follow this simple guide to free up space – and time – in the kitchen.
It’s all in the preparation
Get together all your cleaning products, a box for charity, strong bin liners and a big bowl of hot soapy water. Pull out the contents of your cupboards until everything you own is on the table, in the middle of the room or in another room. That way you can start with a clean slate…
Box it or bequeath it
Big serving dishes for dinner parties? The smoothie maker you only get out in the summer? The chocolate fondue set? They’ll only clutter your kitchen and eat into your space. Box them up in plastic stacking boxes with lids to keep them clean and dry and store neatly elsewhere (the loft or garage maybe) or give items you know you’ll never use again to charity. If it’s a fancy, expensive gadget you might even be able to get some money for it via a selling website such as eBay. That little bit of extra cash can go towards something you’ve wanted for the kitchen for a long time – a new dishwasher!
Do you really need 20 table place settings and 50 fading tumblers – none of which match? If you’re unsure do a trial separation. Pack up what seems like excess and move it away from the kitchen. If you don’t find yourself retrieving any of it, perhaps it’s best in the charity shop or being sold. Vintage tea sets, old cutlery patterns can be extremely desirable. Anything that’s chipped or you wouldn’t give to guests, throw away.
Split wooden spoons and greasy or rusting cookie tins once used for the school bake sale are a no-no. Get rid of them. Any oven tins you haven’t used for over a year can go too, along with saucepans with wobbly handles – dangerous – or frying pans that have lost their non-stick coating. Kitchen towels with holes in them can be thrown away or used as cleaning cloths.
… And check
Look at the use-by dates on tinned foods and packets and be realistic. If you’ve had a half-used tube of tomato paste for over a year, the best place for it is the trash. Wipe everything clean and where possible put food into labelled plastic storage containers so you can easily lift them out of a cupboard and see what you’ve got. It prevents things getting pushed to the back and forgotten about when you’re putting away groceries and storage baskets are a great kitchen space saver, especially if they stack.
Take a step back
Now the cupboards and work surfaces are empty take a good look at what should go where. Think about plug sockets, how you use your kitchen and which areas you go to most. Create a tea and coffee station. Cups and mugs, tea bags, sugar and the coffee jar live above the kettle that lives not far from the cutlery drawer and perhaps the fridge. If possible, the toaster should be near the bread bin / bread cupboard which could also be near your chopping board. Hardest-to-reach cupboards should contain the items you use least. Don’t overfill cupboards but don’t put so little in each that you use space needlessly. Leaving cupboards empty shows you how you could re-model your kitchen to install that new dishwasher. A compact countertop dishwasher is a fantastic space saver measuring as little as 440 x 550 x 520mm, while an under-the-counter slimline dishwasher can wash nine place settings but is just 450mm wide – the width of a standard cupboard.
So there we have it, a tidy kitchen with everything you need including the kitchen sink – but most definitely something else to do the washing up!