The immediate benefit of a kitchen cooking center: Two people can work at once without tripping over each other.
While this might be OK for a night of Twister among tipsy newlyweds,
it's not so good for grown-ups-with-children types packing butcher
knives on their way to the sink.
Here's how to organize your cooking area:
Pots and pans go in the cabinets directly underneath. Hang hot pads by the range.
Put a jar of utensils on top of the range, but include only those utensils you use at least once a week.
Near the sink, create a work station with all the paraphernalia you
need to wash, peel, and chop foods, including knives, butcher block,
peelers, scrub brushes, bowls, etc.
Here's where to group scrapers,
colanders, mixing bowls and spoons, whisks, measuring cups and spoons,
blenders, and your food processor. Try to contain them all in one
Arrange all the things you'll need for baking in one cabinet. Group like items together in plastic storage containers.
For example, I put the collection of cake and ice cream sprinkles and candy toppings in a big plastic box. When it's time to frost cupcakes for class, the kids know right where to go.
Nearby, in a second see-through container, they'll find baking soda, baking powder, and sugars, everything they'd need to make cupcakes.
(Except the flour. To chill out any wiggly creatures that might make a home here, I put my flour inside a zip-close bag that calls the freezer its home.) You don't have to be so finicky.
But you should at least place your opened sugars (brown, powdered, and regular) and flours in airtight plastic containers or zip-close bags to close in freshness and contents and close out nasty bugs that love to cozy up, then divide and multiply there.
Make kids more independent and let them fix their own breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.
In an accessible, low kitchen cabinet (far away from the stove), station snack foods for the kids: peanut butter, bread, jelly, raisins, cereal bars, cereal, chips, and zip-close bags.
This is also a good spot for storing lunch boxes. Grouping these items makes it easy for kids to pack their own lunches.
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.