Of any room in the house, the kitchen is my least favourite to be in, not because of the way it looks - itís a lovely kitchen - but for what it represents. I see it as where my least favourite chores need to be done, like cooking and dishes (yuk!)
So of course Iím going to simplify things as much as possible and spend as little time as necessary in there. If you feel the same way I as do, here are some ideas to make it a little easier and more pleasant:
Your kitchen should look, feel and smell good. Keep the fridge clean and fresh, make sure you donít allow grease to build up on your grill and oven, and empty the bin regularly. A bin with a lid keeps odours contained
If youíre planning a new kitchen, write down all the things that are wrong with your current kitchen and plan with these in mind. Remember that the best working arrangement is a triangle between sink, stove and fridge, separated by only a few paces.
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Washing up is easier if you have a double sink. Either wash in one side & hot rinse in the other, or soak in one, wash in the other. If you donít have a double sink, consider a square plastic bowl. I have one that fits nicely into my sink. Dirty dishes are put in there and then when Iím ready to wash I simply lift it out and have a nice clean sink underneath ready to wash. I then fill the plastic bowl with hot water for rinsing and tip the water onto the garden when Iím finished.
If you have a large family or entertain regularly, consider a dishwasher. Well worth the investment.
If you have a gas stove or one with removable elements, line the bowls underneath them with foil. It will help speed the cooking process and make it easier to keep the stove clean.
Arrange your cupboards so that items are grouped for convenience near each work station. For example, tea, coffee, mugs etc. should be handy to where the kettle is. Pots and pans should be near the stove. Be careful not to store perishable foods too close to the stove or where steam from the kettle can affect them. Also (as I learned the hard way) be sure the steam from your kettle or the heat from toasters and other appliances doesn't affect the underside of your overhead cupboards.
Try to stick to light colours in the kitchen. As a lot of our time spent in there is at night, make use of reflected light. You can buy strip lighting that attaches on the wall or under your overhead cupboards.
Install an exhaust fan to dispel steam and odours quickly or keep a window open when cooking.
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Have washable curtains (or no curtains) at your window. These quickly trap dust, cooking grease and smells. I prefer wipe-over wooden shutters that are kept up during the day and closed at night.
Keep your most regularly used utensils in an attractive jar by the stove or in a cupboard to save rummaging through drawers.
Use drawer dividers, cutlery trays or baskets to organise drawers. Either invest in a knife block or store sharp knives separately and with the blades facing away from you.
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If you are limited for space, only keep what you really need at hand and store other items elsewhere. For example I keep four glasses, coffee mugs etc. in the cupboard and extras in a lovely old wicker picnic basket on top of the cupboard. Easy to get to if needed but not cluttering up the cupboard.
Keep an old cloth under the sink especially for wiping up floor spills. I find an old hand towel does the job well.
Itís a personal choice whether to use a dish rack for drying dishes. I donít use one myself as I find that not only is it hard to store but itís just as easy to dry them on the sink or a tea towel.
Try to keep your bench space clear of clutter. It makes preparation easier because you have room to spread out and work with your ingredients, cooking is easier because you have space to put hot pots and utensils and of course, cleaning is easier Ė which is always good.
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Encourage children (and spouses) to try their hand in the kitchen. As long as itís edible, praise their effort, and hey, practice makes perfect. One day you may be able to sit back while they take over all together (my idea of heaven!)
If you have the space, incorporate some greenery into the room. Small herb pots on the windowsill look good, smell good and are useful as well.