I have always loved to cook. My stove gets a daily exercise, my recipe publications number in the hundreds, and I have so many dishes, baskets and kitchen gadgets that I rotate them in and out of storage. With enthusiasm comes a cost, however: an unruly mess that somehow gets overtaken every flat surface at that time that I untie my own apron.
My husband, who’s of the clean-as-you-go faculty of ingestion, is mystified at how I could use every one of our five sauté pans, or three different sets of measuring spoons, to create a single meal. Honestly, so am I I’m not sure I could tell you exactly if the jumble hits critical mass. But since the kitchen at our suburban split degree has less counter space than some New York apartment kitchens I have seen, I suppose it is time to get the clutter in check.
These ideas are all tailor made for the messily inclined, such as me. What’s your best suggestion for keeping a kitchen neat? Dish in the Comments section!
W. David Seidel, AIA – Architect
1. Block the view. If you can not avoid making a mess as you cook, then you can shield it from guests. A two-tier island or peninsula, together with the back higher than the front, screens flotsam from those seated opposite the cook.
This island has more elevation than some, so if the owners include a few bar stools which aren’t too tall, guests would be hard pressed to glimpse over a sliver of jumble.
2. Construct in garbage receptacles. I’m a bit squeamish about keeping a garbage can correct in my kitchen (yes, I know people do it all the time). So mine stays at the garage, and I gather trash and food scraps in a small grocery bag I carry out when I’m done cooking. It’s not the most effective or appealing solution, I openly admit.
But bins such as these, built right into the cabinetry, can change my thoughts. Having a place where you can sweep away waste and compost as you go is a massive part of keeping counters tidy, and built in bins sure seem better than my stash of vinyl bags out of Target.
Warmington & North
3. Choose an additional sink. As cooking progresses, dirty dishes bracket. An oversize sink can corral them and keep them under eye level. Apron-front and single-bowl versions work especially well.
See more about apron-front sinks
Mary Prince Photography
If you want the industrial look, you could even select a freestanding, stainless steel restaurant-style sink.
In Detail Interiors
4. Construct in a prep sink. If your kitchen has the space, try out a committed prep sink to keep eggshells, vegetable peelings and much more out of the primary cooking area.
8 Great Places for Another Sink
5. Insert baskets galore. When I’m making a meal, boxes and jars don’t always get returned to their appropriate homes straight away. Having a row of baskets to throw things into helps you to keep the kitchen neat. These are in a complete pantry, however you can use the same tactic on open counter space, or on built-in or freestanding shelves.
Get It Done: How to Clean Out the Pantry
Jennifer Grey Interiors Design & Color Specialist
Similarly, a shallow basket right near the work area keeps staples from migrating all over the kitchen.
Baskets at the conclusion of the island could conceal stacks of folded towels, recipe binders and assorted tools.
Apt 2B Baking Co..
6. Store utensils in crocks. Not only do crocks keep wooden spoons, tongs and spatulas clean, but they also keep tools close at hand so they’re a cinch to grab if you need them.
Obviously, you can always take it one step farther: built-in receptacles at a pullout drawer. If I could have one specialized cabinetry insert, I believe this would be it.
7. Double up on dishwashers. Wide dishwasher space means you can tuck dirty dishes as you go (or, if you’re like me, then try to be sure you do it). At a pinch you could also keep a cooler filled with hot, sudsy water near the sink when you’re cooking a significant meal.
Tinsley Hutson-Wiley Interior Design
Modular and flexible, dishwasher drawers operate well near the primary sink or prep sink.
Kristen Rivoli Interior Design
8. Slip in a mobile island. As in my case, messy cooks frequently lack enough counter space for spreading out. A small island on casters can be incredibly effective at extending the work area. Why haven’t I attempted this yet?
More: Kitchen Storage Functions on a Roll