If you’re like most home cooks, you probably keep a lot of items on your countertop for easy access. Unfortunately, this also results in a cluttered prep area that’s difficult to work in.
Transforming even a small kitchen space into a functional one is simply a matter of cutting the clutter and finding a place for everything. In fact, one in 10 Aussies lose something every day and spend an average of 29 minutes searching for the misplaced item (that's 7.6 days a year!).
Fortunately, there are some storage solutions that not only declutter your space but make kitchen organisation and meal prep fast and simple. The 29 or more minutes per day you’ll save can certainly be better used for trying out new recipes or cooking for the week in bulk.
1. Buy all-in-one appliances.
Reduce the clutter on your countertop with appliances that serve multiple purposes. For example, you don’t really need a toaster oven, sandwich press and a toaster. An Instant Pot has multiple functions and can even replace slow cookers for some foods. Similarly, the Thermomix combines the functions of 12 kitchen appliances into one. Seek out appliances that have multiple purposes and you’ll save money and loads of storage space.
2. Add prep room.
If you do large batch meal prep, one issue can be lack of counter space to lay out your containers while also chopping, mixing and cooking those meals. Burner covers allow your stovetop to turn into counter space when you need more prep room. Or, add a rollaway cart with drop leaf sides for temporary extra counter space without the full-time commitment.
3. Create storage under the sink.
You likely have a lot of space in the cabinets under your sink just waiting to be better utilised. In addition to installing shelves that pull out for easy access, install a pegboard on the back of cabinet doors. This allows you to hang baskets, caddies or other small items to store things you’d normally leave out, such as a spoon rest, oven mitt or dish rag.
4. Purchase dual purpose gadgets.
One of the reasons our kitchens become cluttered is because we have too much stuff. What if an item served double duty, though? Some examples of dual-purpose gadgets include measuring spoons that also clip a bag together, egg beaters that lay flat and can be used to flip an omelette or a potholder that also serves as a jar opener, trivet and large coaster.
5. Invest in stackable containers.
Whether you meal prep for a few days ahead or the entire week, you’ll need containers to store the meals. Stackable containers take up less space in your cabinets. As you eat meals throughout the week, you simply wash the container and return it to its spot, stacked inside the other containers. Online retailers and restaurant supply companies offer BPA free, dishwasher safe and microwavable plastic containers. If you’re trying to avoid plastic there are slightly costlier but similar stackable glass containers.
6. Store spices & seasonings behind doors.
If you’re like most cooks, you probably own more spices and seasonings than you can count. These take up space in cabinets and create a lot of clutter. One simple storage solution is to invest in magnetic spice tins and magnetise the inside of a cabinet or pantry door. These magnetised containers can also be placed on the side of a refrigerator or behind a stove (be cautious of heat though, which can lessen the freshness of spices or melt plastic canister lids).
7. Store cutting boards on a magazine rack.
Cutting boards tend to take up a lot of space, whether inside a cabinet or on your countertop. Combat this with an inexpensive metal magazine holder. Simply place cutting boards standing up inside the holder. If you have a number of boards, buy additional racks, or one that has several slots. Need more room? Hang the magazine holder on the wall to open up your countertop space.
Meal prep & an uber organised kitchen
The more organised your kitchen is when you start meal prep, the faster the entire process will go. If you have to spend 30 minutes tidying up before cooking, then you’ve put your project 30 minutes behind. There are many organisational tools and gadgets that will help with your storage goals, but the key to a well-organised home is decluttering, creating assigned space for items and staying on top of the organisational system.
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