What do an ice cream scoop, a garlic press, and a whisk have in common? How about chop sticks, sauce spoons, and a meat mallet? Well, yes, they’re kitchen utensils, but what else?
Years ago when my kitchen was smaller, space was limited. I had only three drawers to dedicate to kitchen utensils, but each time I needed something, I had to search each drawer until I found what I needed.
“Hmm, no, it’s not in here. It must be in there. No, not there either. Only one more place to search…”
That got old really fast. There didn’t seem to be anything in common or any rhyme or reason why certain utensils should go into one drawer and not another. So I emptied the drawers and gave the contents a good long stare and noticed that all kitchen utensils are made of one of three materials: wood, plastic, or metal.
When I’m describing an object to someone, I usually say what it’s made of, or its color, or shape. Well that made it easy. I decided to put all the metal into the top drawer, the plastic in the second, and the wood in the bottom. Top to bottom, that kept it alphabetical too. The next time I needed a wooden spoon, I knew it would be in the bottom drawer. Yay! Solved.
After a total house makeover, the kitchen grew and had plenty of drawer space, but wouldn’t it be convenient to have the most used utensils easy at hand when I’m cooking? And what about the often-used spices? So again, I dug into the drawers and cabinets and took out the utensils and spices I use most to sort out what I commonly use. I grabbed a cup of java, sat down and stared at them for a while trying to figure out how to get all that on the counter, not take up too much space, and yet look good and uncluttered.
I searched through the cabinets for some sort of canister to hold the utensils and came up with an ice bucket just the right size and placed all of the utensils in it standing up. The spices were next. There was no room for a spice rack and I’m not terribly fond of them anyway. And I didn’t want to have to transfer spices to jars of a specific size to fit the rack. Time to refill that cup of java and stare a little longer!
My next thought was to find a way to see and reach all the spices while standing at the stove in the island. Realizing I could probably find some sort of revolving rack or tray, carousel or Lazy Susan, and that the ice bucket might fit on it as well, I placed all the spices around the base of the ice bucket. The diameter measured twelve inches. I trekked off to the department store and quickly found a brushed nickel Lazy Susan carousel just the right size. As luck would have it, I had a spare steam rack I never use inside one of my pots that fit nicely around the base of the carousel and firmly held all the spices. It wasn’t necessary but I thought it was cool.
The easiest way to organize anything is to gather all the items, sit down in front of them and stare at them a while. Consider how you would use these items and how often? What’s common about them that will help you find them the next time you need them? Get a little creative with your imagination. Look around your house for containers, trays, boxes, or buckets that you can re-purpose to store, organize, or display items before buying something new.