Streamline Your Kitchen
To enjoy your kitchen more and make it more efficient, work on releasing unneeded and little used items to make it more streamlined. It will make it easier to pull out and use your favorite cook ware and utensils and will give you more counter space to work your culinary magic.
I have recently been working with a client who is moving from a large home that she has lived in for many years to an assisted living condo. We have spent so far 14 hours in her kitchen area not counting a trip to her new space to take measurements.
But this blog is not really about her. She represents tendencies in so many of us.
· When a new and shinny object comes into our kitchen, it tends to stay. It might be the simplified ice cream maker, the whisk cleaner, the bread maker, the waffle iron, the panini grill, or the expresso coffee maker. This item may have been something you saw advertised or at a friend’s house and you just had to have it. You might have used it a few times and had fun with it. But soon it became more of a hassle than a help. Pulling the item out, using it, cleaning it, and putting it back away were not worth the effort. My Cuisinart fell into that category for me. However, I lugged it around for several moves until I just didn’t want to pack it up again. I maybe used it once or twice a year and it was much easier to use a good sharp knife that to lug that thing out, use it, clean it, and put it back away.
I know some people will look at the list above and exclaim, “I love my bread maker! I use it every week.” Wonderful! Keep it and enjoy it. But if you have items that you almost never use, and could easily get along without, think about letting go of them and freeing up more space.
· We are reluctant to let go of items that represent who we were in the past. While working with this client, I pulled out a rather large pot with a drainer insert from the back of the cabinet. She exclaimed right away, “Oh, I can’t part with that! I use it all the time.” As I looked inside the pot and noticed some roach droppings, I realized that what she was really saying was, “Oh, I remember using that pot a lot when I was stronger and cooking more.” The fondue set reminds us of parties we gave and family gatherings. The big soup kettle reminds us of holiday homecomings where we had the pot simmering on the stove as family gathered. While it is hard, acknowledge who you are now. Some pots are too heavy to easily lift even without hot food in them. Some pots are too large for cooking for two – and they take up so much space. Track for a while what you really do use day in and day out and let go of items that take up space but aren’t being used.
· We fall in love with the idea that buying a special gadget will make us prepare the dish – Spaetzle maker anyone? That pressure canner will make it easy for me to put up all that produce that I am going to grow or get at the market. That spinning/rotating mandoline and countertop food slicer and grater will make spiral noodles and we will eat so much healthier. So, we buy the gadgets but end up not using them. It’s OK. Just let them go now to make room for what you do use.
· Then there are those beautiful dishes for special foods. The olive bowl that has the divided space for the pits; the three lovely long plates my client liked to use to flour, then egg dip, then bread her schnitzel; and the egg cups all have fond memories but the function of each can be served with a regular set of dishes. I would never ask someone to give up all their memorabilia dishes but try to chose just one or two.
It is much easier if we start streamlining the kitchen a bit at a time now instead of waiting for it to become mandatory. Each year or heavy cooking season take stock of what you use and how you feel while using it. Notice how you feel when you must pull out a lot of pots and pans to get to something in the back of the shelving unit. Imagine how much easier food preparation would be if you could easily reach in and get what you want.
Streamline now for a happier cooking experience in your kitchen.