“Order in the Kitchen,” Ensign, Jan. 1982, 60
As you begin to equip your first kitchen, you will accumulate more than you realize. There are more single items in the kitchen than in any other room in the home. By the time you acquire a few cooking and baking pans, mixing bowls, and serving dishes, the items in your kitchen will number in the hundreds—and as your culinary interests expand, the storage problem gets worse.
I’ve found the following ideas helpful in eliminating clutter and maintaining an efficient, well-organized kitchen.
First, remove some of the larger awkward gadgets and spoons from already bulging drawers and put them in baskets or crocks. These provide excellent storage and are attractive to display. Use two—one for all the wood spatulas and spoons, the other for all the whips and other tall, cumbersome items. Now these tools will be at your fingertips when cooking. Drawer dividers work well for the remaining small tools, keeping vegetable peelers, pastry tips, melon ballers, and measuring spoons organized and accessible.
Baskets are also handy for storing potatoes, onions, and garlic; the basket’s weave allows fresh air to circulate around the vegetables.
Knife blocks or magnetic bars to hold knives are essential—unless you have a special drawer in your kitchen outfitted to hold knives properly. A five-inch-square knife block will hold more knives in less space than any drawer, and it will help to maintain sharp cutting edges. One of the slanted blocks makes for easier knife removal and placement.
Trays and baking pans get to be real storage problems. If possible, have a cupboard separated by vertical dividers. Here the trays and pans stand on their sides and are easily stored.
Shallow shelves built into a kitchen closet can convert a broom closet into a pantry. Line all walls with shelves, but be careful not to make them too deep. (Food boxes and cans get shoved to the back of a deep shelf and are too often forgotten.) Build your shelves to allow for a variety of items, with the largest and heaviest stored on the bottom shelves. Shallow baskets can be used to store small envelopes of seasoning mixes, salad dressings, or gelatin.
Pot racks, hanging from the ceiling or mounted on the wall, provide excellent storage space. Pots, skillets, saucepans, and collanders can be removed from cupboards and hung on the rack; it unclutters the cupboards and at the same time makes the pans easier to reach and use.
If you have collected kitchen artifacts, use the walls to display them. Bread baskets, pans, and molds can make striking arrangements while being readily available for use.
Most difficult of all items to store in the kitchen are the lids to pots. Irregular in size and awkward because of their handles, the neither stack nor nest well. The best solution is a special rack for lids; attached to the cupboard door or wall, it will hold lids in a upright position.
Under-the-sink cleaning supplies should be kept well-organized for safety and convenience. Place any poisonous or caustic substances under lock and key; the rest may be kept in a caddy to carry with you as you work around the house. Less frequently used items can be kept on rotating carousels or trays. Carmen I. Jones, Houston, Texas