When you are a keen cook, you will probably find that you have a lot more food – and equipment – crammed into your kitchen than most people. After all, when you are whipping up that latest recipe that you have found, you need to make sure you have everything to hand! The problem is that many of us don’t have spacious farmhouse style kitchens with lots of storage for all of the pots and pans, the blender food processor combo, and that vast range of spices that we need. Fear not though, because here, we look at how you can get maximum storage into minimum space, leaving you able to create that chicken tikka masala from scratch without having to hunt around for the right equipment.
Shelves in kitchen cupboards can effectively double the storage space that you have available. When it is one big space, things get piled in and piled high, making it difficult to get to that pan at the bottom. By buying wire shelf risers, you can organize everything more efficiently, saving you both time and space in the kitchen.
How many times have you reached for that jar of spice or that particular ingredient and realized it is out of date? It wastes an awful lot of food and money, so try implementing a ‘FIFO’ system to your pantry. That means first in, first out. If you already have a tin of tomatoes in your pantry, put the new tins that you buy behind that, so that you are always using the oldest first, reducing the risk of food spoiling before you get the chance to use it.
In the same vein as the shelves, adding ‘drawers’ in the form of cute storage boxes can multiply the amount of space you have in your cupboards. This is particularly useful for things like napkins, or packets of sauces which are otherwise difficult to store.
While fancy knife blocks look professional and cool on the countertop, they can take up a lot of valuable space. Instead, attach a magnetic strip to your wall – well out of the reach of children and pets, of course – and pop your knives on there. Make sure they are within reaching distance of where you stand to prepare most of your meals, so you are not running backward and forwards across the kitchen with sharp knives.
Islands have been a huge trend in kitchen design over the past few years and show no signs of slowing down. Utilize this space by making sure it has plenty of built-in storage. Of course, you need to be aware of space for opening drawers and cupboards if you have a small kitchen, but you can find ones with built-in shelves, ideal for storing that vast range of cookery and recipe books!
Look at your sink – how much space is wasted around it because of washing up liquid and scrubbers and brushes? We won’t even mention the drippy marks they always seem to leave! Instead, fix your sink organizer to the wall or to the side of a cupboard, keeping your dish sponge or brush off the worktop and giving you a little bit more space for something useful – or prettier!
Shelves are ideal for storing mugs and pans but do not forget that every shelf has an underside as well, and this space just is not utilized enough in most kitchens. For example, spices can be stored there. Attach the lid to the spice jar to the underside with a nail or a strong glue gun, and simply untwist the jar when you need to use it. Mason jars can also be used to store dry goods such as rice and dried pasta.
We have already talked about using the side of the cabinet to hold your washing up equipment, but you could also use the sides of your lower cabinets to store bulkier items, such as colanders and chopping boards. This equipment is used a lot so needs to be within easy grabbing reach, but can be equally as tricky to store away.
Hang the cooking utensils you frequently use, such as measuring cups and spoons on the inside of your cabinet doors. You could also use chalkboard paint to cover them and pop up your meal plan or grocery list for the week!
If you have crammed your cupboards full, put some freestanding shelves onto your worktop. You could put your most used mugs, tea, coffee and sugar pots on there next to your kettle or stove, ready to grab when you make a hot drink, or your salt, pepper, oil, and other commonly used condiments.
If you are short of preparation space, invest in or make some wooden burner covers that can double up into chopping boards when the stove is turned off.
If you have a dining table and chairs in your kitchen, can you downsize them? Perhaps you can have one that has wings that open out to extend it, or a half moon one pushed against the wall? You could be really smart and have a table and benches with built-in storage space underneath for all of those kitchen items that you do not use very often!
By trying out some of these tips, you will have a kitchen that not only looks good but functions perfectly, allowing you to grab what you need when you need it so you can get on with what you really want to do – cook!