Organize kitchen cooking area into activity centers; cooking can be subdivided into smaller sub-activities to make every step of daily meal prep a snap.
Such a plan not only saves steps, but it also enables two people to work at once without falling all over each other, which is suitable for a night of Twister among tipsy newlyweds, but bad for married-with-children types packing butcher knives.
Here's how to organize kitchen cooking into these groups to make meal prep quicker and easier - and safer for all.
How to organize cooking (as in the actual heating of food): Around the range, put all the things needed for cooking.
Pots and pans go in the cabinets directly underneath the range. Hang hot pads by the range.
Organize kitchen drawers by grouping the most frequently used cooking tools in ceramic jars or other attractive holders on top of the range. But Include only those utensils you use once a week.
The drawers will be neater - with more space for other cooking items.
Near the sink, create a workstation with all the paraphernalia you need to wash, peel, and chop foods, including knives, butcher block, peelers, scrub brushes, bowls, etc.
Here's where you would group scrapers, colanders, mixing bowls and spoons, whisks, measuring cups and spoons, blenders, and your food processor. Try to contain them all in one cabinet.
Arrange all the things you'll need for baking in one cabinet. Then organize the items inside plastic storage containers for grouping like items.
I put our 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 the 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.
Below are three more activity areas to consider as you organize your kitchen:
Make kids more independent and let them fix their own breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. In an accessible low cabinet (away - 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.
Our pullout breakfast drawer was instituted when my kids were 3 and 4 years old.
I'd leave a small cup of milk on the lowest shelf in the fridge.
In the morning, they'd pour their cereal and milk with no help required from Mom, who was rewarded for their creativity with an extra hour of sleep on Saturday mornings.
In the cabinet above the coffeemaker, store filters, flavorings, grinder, coffee beans or pods, sugar, teas, and all the stuff you need to perk up your mornings. That way, you can enjoy your first cup without having to search around the kitchen with your eyes half-open.
Oh yeah. You eat in the kitchen too! So you'll need to make room for your daily dishes, your serving dishes, glasses, and utensils in here, as well.
Put them all in one area, please, and as close to the sink and dishwasher as you can get them to minimize the time spent putting clean dishes away. Kitchen organization can make all the things you do here daily quicker and easier.