10 Ways to organise your kitchen
Traditionally the heart of the home, kitchens tend to get even more use at this time of year. Whether you need room to roast a turkey or easirt access to ingredients, here's how to make the most of your space.
1. Compartmentalise your cupboards
To keep your kitchen cupboards from becoming a jumble of boxes, bags and cans, gather some flat-bottomed rectangular baskets or small wooden or cardboard boxes – shoe boxes are usually ideal. Line up the containers on the shelves and reserve each for a different kind of food—one for sugar, syrups and other sweet things, one for baking-related items like flour and bicarbonate of soda and so on. If you use boxes, you can paint them to blend with your kitchen’s colour scheme. Whether you decorate them or not, label the containers with their contents so you don’t confuse sugar with salt.
Read how to care for your fridge here
2. Organise spices by style of cuisine
Is your spice rack a mess? Can’t find the cumin when you need it? Arrange spice bottles in a low-sided, unlidded box (old cigar boxes work brilliantly) by type of cuisine. So whenever you’re cooking Italian food (or Chinese, French, Thai, Indian or Middle Eastern), the appropriate spices will be together in one place. Cumin, tamarind, coriander and chillies? Probably Indian or Thai. Tarragon, parsley, sorrel and bay? French. Label each box according to its nationality and hopefully, whenever you’re in the mood for that style of cuisine, your search for the right spices will be kept to a minimum.
Read how to organise a home bar for Christmas here
3. A new rack means less racket
If you are fed up with having to take the pots and pans out of a cupboard to get to the baking trays on the bottom, transfer a metal desk file organiser to the kitchen. This compartmentalised metal rack will allow you to store baking trays, swiss roll tins and thin wooden or acrylic cutting boards vertically. As a result, you will be able to pluck flat items out of a crowded cupboard with ease.
Read how to keep your kitchen green and efficient here
4. Newspaper buffers for non-stick cookware
When you nest non-stick saucepans one inside the other in kitchen cupboards, it’s very easy to scratch the delicate coating. Keep your nonstick cookware scratch-free by simply tucking a newspaper sheet between each pot.
5. Rack ’em up
Rummaging through a cluttered cupboard full of pots and pans in order to find a matching lid can be an exercise in extreme frustration. A solution to the problem is in your toolbox. Just mount an ordinary towel rack or two on the back of the cupboard door and slide in the lids between rack and door. The knobs on the lids will stop them from falling through the rack.
6. Keep your storage lids on
If you’ve ever found the perfect storage con tainer for a batch of pasta sauce or soup, but the container lid has made its way elsewhere entirely, you can stop it from happening again by keeping all the lids together. Store them inside one of the larger storage containers.
7. Storing fine china safely
When stacking fine china in the cupboard, keep dinner plates scratch-free by alternating them with paper plates. For salad plates and saucers, use coffee filters. China teacups are best stored right-side up. If the cupboard won’t take all the cups, create an extra tier of shelf space by putting a plastic-coated wire rack inside. But why not hang the cups from hooks attached to the bottom of the shelf above? Hooks are fine for everyday china, but hanging antique teacups means that they will be bearing their own weight—a bad idea if you want to give these heirlooms the tender loving care they deserve.
8. Let it slide
In some wooden kitchen cupboards, drawers sit on wooden slides on the bottom rather than lubricated metal slides at the sides. Dirt can accumulate on the slides and opening and closing drawers may be difficult. Clean the wooden slides with soap and water. Then, when the slides are dry, rub candle wax on all woodto- wood contact points. Friction-worn wooden slides can also be easily fixed with the insertion of one or two smooth-headed upholstery tacks.
9. Hats off to plates
Whether you keep inheriting piles of plates from relatives or you can’t resist them at second-hand markets and antique fairs, don’t let them overrun your cupboards. Use old hatboxes to store plates on top of each other, separated by pieces of soft cardboard or paper plates. Label then store them in the attic or a garage shelf.
10. Sheathe your kitchen knives
Sharp cooking knives can be dangerous, so never keep them loose in a drawer. If you don’t have benchtop space for a knife holder, create protective sheaths for knives from cardboard tubes (from paper towels and plastic wrap, etc.). Just flatten a tube, fold over one end and staple or tape it closed, then slide a knife in the other end. For smaller knives, use toilet paper tubes.
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