The Hub of the Home

February 12th, 2013 posted by Kelly Huckaby

Kitchen My kitchen is a busy place. No, I don’t bake cookies all day, or make homemade bread three times a week. The layout of our home is such that the master bedroom is on one side of the kitchen and the rest of the house is on the other side. So, even when we’re not eating, preparing or cleaning up a meal, someone is usually passing through to get to the bedroom where the computer is located. The basement door is near the master bedroom as well, so anyone going downstairs must pass through the kitchen. I fold clothes at the table. I pay bills at the table. I write up lesson plans at the table. The majority of our school work is done at the table. We play board games at the table. My sons do arts and crafts projects at the table. I chat with neighbors at the table. I even do my writing at the table before I type it into my computer. I think you get the idea! Because my kitchen is such a busy place, it helps to keep it organized. (Some days the clutter gets out of hand, but that’s another article!) I’ve learned that I’m not the only person who feels this way. Back in April I received a wonderful letter on kitchen organization from my friend, Briva. With her permission, I’m sharing her tips, and sprinkling in some of my own. // At Briva’s house they’ve made the kitchen counters into “centers.” I was taught this concept myself in home economics class. Typical kitchen centers are “baking/cooking,” “storage,” “serving” and “food preparation.” You may have a few more of your own to add, or you may combine these to make fewer centers. Your kitchen is no doubt different than mine, in size as well as layout. Use what you can of these ideas, and leave the rest for someone else. Let’s start with the baking center. Briva has hers opposite her pantry, near her stove, where her mixer sits on the counter. She stores her cake pans and cookie sheets below the counter, and spices are above, on an open shelf. You’ll also find her knives and cooking utensils in racks above the counter. My stove has no counters near it, so my baking center is located near my sink, which is directly across from my stove. My baking center includes a linen drawer. Pot holders, towels and aprons are kept in a drawer closest to the stove, for easy access. My microwave is also located in my baking/cooking center. Briva has placed her microwave on a shelf to get it off the counter – this is a great idea if you have limited counter space and ample wall space. Consider putting your electric can opener there as well! If you bake on a regular basis, Briva suggests permanently placing a large wire cooling rack next to the stove. To keep your baking center organized, invest in some good storage containers. Tupperware and Rubbermaid make some nice ones. Herbs and spices need to be kept in airtight containers – some even in dark containers, to avoid fading of color. A Lazy Susan offers easy access to your herbs and spices. Be sure to put the less-used baking supplies in the back of the cupboards. Baking soda and powder can be located behind the brown and white sugars if you only bake a few times a month, but use sugars for sweetening on a weekly basis. You should also put your flours and sugars in airtight containers to keep the bugs out. Once they come in, it’s very hard to get rid of bugs! There are two types of storage centers in most kitchens. One is for storing food, such as in the pantry, and the other is for storage containers. I don’t have a pantry, so I keep most of my canned and boxed goods in the cupboards under my peninsula, which separates my cooking area from my dining area. As I mentioned earlier, you should put your flour and sugars in airtight containers. Cereals and pastas stay fresher longer in airtight containers once they are opened as well. Storage containers should be kept in an easily accessible area near the sink as well as the food preparation center. As you clean up after meals you can easily find an appropriate container for any leftovers you may have. For the serving center, be sure to keep the plates, glasses and silverware near the dishwasher, if you have one, or the sink. You’ll want to keep these items in the cupboards and drawers that are nearest to the place you eat (i.e., the table, if it’s in the kitchen, or the dining room.) I’ve found that the racks which store your plates upright work very well, as opposed to laying them flat and stacking small plates on top of big plates. If the plates are stacked, it’s harder for ‘little helpers’ to assist you since they must lift all the plates out to get at the bottom ones. Briva has a coffee/tea center at her house. She keeps her coffee makers (one is espresso) and her toaster on the counter, with her coffee cups, saucers, coffees and teas above in the cabinet. (I don’t drink coffee or tea, so I don’t have this center in my kitchen. The coffee maker only comes out from under the cupboard when we have guests over.) The food preparation center is best located near the sink. I have a portable dishwasher sitting in the middle of my kitchen and this acts as my food prep center. Briva’s is also near her sink, opposite her refrigerator, which allows for a convenient place to put items as she brings them out. When you set up centers in your kitchen you’ll find it’s easier for two people to work there at once. Even small kitchens can be easily maneuvered when everything is organized efficiently. Have you found something that works well for you in the kitchen? I’d love to hear about it! During the next three months I’ll talk about children’s rooms and infant nurseries. Next month I’ll focus on toys and general room arrangements (so you can organize while the kids are outside playing) followed by closets and clothes in August (just in time for back to school clothing purchases) and the nursery in September (when so many babies are due.) If you have any ideas, please feel free to let me know! Our friends at Organized Times have a great article on Kitchen Clutter here:

Kelly Huckaby (14 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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