Contrary to popular belief, the kitchen doesn’t have to be an organised mess. Even if it’s a small kitchen, a thoughtfully organised one can run like a well-oiled ship.
Even if you’re not starting from scratch or if you’re just looking for organisation ideas for your rental unit, read on to learn how to optimise space!
Step 1: Outline Separate Work Areas
Look at your bare kitchen and all the permanent fixtures like the sink, stovetop, and electrical sockets. Based on these points, determine the wash, cook, and prep areas. Bigger kitchens will have additional areas like the island for hanging out or even working.
Once you’ve determined the different work areas, you’ll have a better idea of where to store which items. For example, the heavy pots can be placed by the stovetop so you don’t have to lug them around too much. Electrical appliances can be stored near the electrical outlets.
Step 2: Determine Public vs. Private Storage
Ideally, real life looks like Pinterest: airy open shelves, chrome-coloured pots and pans, and raw ingredients that you would be all too proud to display. Instead, real life and actual cooking leads to scratched up pots (each one in a different colour), hand-me-down appliances, and bags of half-eaten prawn keropok.
Private storage hides the less appealing stuff away from guests and dust while public storage like hanging racks and open shelves give the space an airier feel and allows easier access.
Designate things like knife sets, kitchen towels, and more oft-used appliances for the public space. Knife sets and kitchen towels are colour co-ordinated, and so will look better as display items.
Step 3: Cabinets or Drawers?
When it comes to private storage, the general options are cabinets and drawers. If you have a larger space, opt to have more drawers instead of cabinets; drawers pull out further and take more space.
Drawers are easier to use as you’d have full view of its contents and are more likely to utilise the entire space. Cabinets, on the other hand, might are usually less efficiently used as the items at the front tends to obscure the ones at the back, making them hard to get to.
Step 4: Hack It
Get creative with storage, be it private or public types. Don’t just use a cabinet as is – think organisers and filing tools to keep things more orderly and easy to access.
Pantry, Drawers, and Cabinets
Consider a built-in pantry at an empty wall or beside your fridge. It’s handy for dried foods and will free your drawers and cabinets for heavier, non-perishable items.
If you don’t want a permanent fixture, then use a mobile pantry for things like cereals and condiments that you can wheel to the dining table whenever dad wants some mustard.
Go beyond the usual use of these storage compartments by adding things like drawer organisers, risers, hooks, dividers, and magazine racks. This will keep your dishes and trays neatly “filed”, your cans properly stacked, and will optimise the space behind your doors with hanging tools.
Hooks, Baskets, and Rails
You don’t have to keep everything away. Instead, think about how often you use your different tools and appliances. Keep the regularly used ones on countertops and hanging on towel rails.
For example, place towel rails or hooks on empty vertical spaces like above your kitchen backsplash or at the side of your cabinet to hang pots, pans, or tools like ladles and spatulas.
Baskets are useful for storing items too – think kitchen towels, bag sealing clips, condiments, and label makers. Spices can be transferred to magnetic containers and stuck to the fridge for ease of use.
Step 5: Preparation is Half the Battle
Speaking of label makers, the best way to prevent clutter is preparation. Instead of 3 boxes of semi-eaten cereal and opened bags of noodles and rice, empty out dried foods into clear plastic containers when you bring them home. Then, use label makers to identify them along with their expiry dates.
This does 3 things: reduces the clutter, makes everything look more standardised and presentable, and makes it easier for you to find what you need.