Making Your Kitchen Work With You
It is that time of year again when Spring Cleaning comes to mind. Well most of us could do with a sort out of our kitchen but it is easy to keep putting it off. I was lucky enough to meet Jasmine Sleigh who specialises in decluttering. I asked her if she would consider putting a few wise words together for Penny’s Recipes and she agreed.
I hope this might be helpful
My name is Jasmine Sleigh and I work as a de-clutterer. I love my work. I set up Change Your Space in 2012 bringing together my qualifications and experience as a corporate Change Manager and as a Counsellor. I combined my skills to assist people in getting started with their own domestic projects, but at a pace that suits them and with sensitivity. If you have a spare room that needs liberating, a wardrobe that needs weeding, an office that needs organising, a loft that needs taming, or a kitchen that needs streamlining, then Change Your Space can help.
Here are my 4 top tips for sorting kitchens.
Plan Your Meals
The most common cause of overcrowding in the kitchen is purchasing too much food, and we all know the statistics on wastage. It is true that the more you have in the more you eat too.
- We know we just need key ingredients (to make some of Penny’s great recipes), and enough to get us through the week. I am all for having some tins in for emergencies, but perhaps not a whole cupboard of them.
- Once a week I look through all my food cupboards and the fridge and freezer. I then roughly list what I have. I sit down and plan what meals I can make in the week ahead, from those items, and identify what ingredients I need to buy in to complete the week. This allows me to use things up and think imaginatively, avoiding the same safe recipes I make week in and week out.
- I also keep a piece of paper on the fridge to identify things I know I have run out of once I have used them up. Bin bags, vinegar, that sort of thing. This allows me to trust I have enough in going forward and not to overstock “just in case”. My shopping list then is complete and maybe the only extras might be a couple of treats.
Zoning Your Kitchen
To create a sense of order and minimise frustration in the kitchen, I find that knowing how you use your kitchen is helpful.
- I like to have a cupboard where all the food for packed lunches are kept as then I can see easily what we have and assemble them easily in the early hours of the morning.
- I keep my pasta, tins and sauces together, then my tea, coffee and sugar together, and so on.
- With pans and plates, its always sensible to keep them at a height that is comfortable for you, and where you can see what you are reaching out. Heavy pans at a lower level for example, and plates I have at eye height but its a personal matter what suits you.
- Put things somewhere that makes sense. Pans near the cooker, plates near your serving area. Spend a bit of time thinking where you feel you waste a bit of energy or would reach for items if only they were there!
The 30 Minute Blast Clear up
It can feel like a daunting task the full kitchen clean up, but it is amazing what you can get done in a 30-40 minute blast each week so that you do not have to think about it again. Start when you happen to be in old clothes anyway.
- Set a timer.
- Pull everything out from work surfaces and clean behind.
- Think about putting as many of those items on work surfaces in cupboards away, as we tend to shrink our work surfaces by 50% with items that can be stored. A clear work surface tends to encourage a but of creativity in the kitchen, give yourself space.
- Tackle problems areas such as the oven (it does not have to be shiny, we are just managing the space), the hob, the fridge. We are not aiming for perfection, just a wipe round before you change your mind.
- Clear all washing up.
- A mop round the floor and you can leave it for a week hurray!
The One Minute Rule
The rule: If a task can be done in under one minute then just do it. For me this is clearing the kitchen table, so its clear for the next meal, or putting the dried washing up away. You can set this for others who live in your home.
- If the breakfast items take up to a minute to put away then it should be done.
- I have my calendar in the kitchen and a noticeboard for key events and activities I need to remember. Scan it for less than a minute each morning or evening to ensure you feel prepared for the day.
- Spend a minute assembling ingredients for the evening meal to ensure everything is available. May be even get ahead with some chopping or measuring before the teatime rush, when energy levels are starting to wane.
A final point is I always get asked about spare plate sets and glasses and so on. This is a personal area as I do not know how many dinner parties you have or the capacity of your dishwasher, but here are some simple guidelines.
- If it has a chip or crack, do let it go for hygiene reasons.
- If you have an appliance that has not been repaired for 3 years it can go to the recycling centre or appliance shop for spares.
- If you have a dinner set that you have not used in 5 years, think about popping it on Ebay for collection or to the local charity shop and reward yourself with a useful item that will help you with your cooking adventures.
If you would like to consult Jasmine on decluttering, simply call 07739455310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free visual assessment and project plan.
Visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ChangeYourSpace for more tips and motivational advice. (www.changeyourspace.co.uk)