Make Your Kitchen Work for You

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Small kitchen? Problem kitchen? These issues can keep you from cooking the healthy food you and your family need. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your kitchen work for you by turning a problem kitchen into one that works for you.

Make Your Kitchen Work for You

As a general rule, your basic kitchen layout, where shelves, counters, cupboards and appliances are placed, can only be altered with a major kitchen remodeling. However, there is a great deal you can do to create an efficient work space.

  • Be aware of your ‘work triangle.’

    The work triangle is the link between your stove, your sink, and your refrigerator. Think of it as a walking path between these areas, and realize this is the path you will continuously use as you move from storage areas, to prep areas to cooking areas to cleaning areas. Your most essential and most used kitchen items must (somehow, someway) be placed close to this triangle.

  • Designate a food prep area.

    Although you may have very limited counter space (I certainly do), you still need to designate space for food prep. My main food prep area is only about 18″ wide, but I make it work for me. Read on to find out how.

  • Organize essential items where you use them most.

    Prioritize your essential items, and then find a place for them near the stove, prep area, sink, or main storage area (which always ALWAYS includes the refrigerator). Store items by frequency of use, for example, place everyday cookware, and utensils in an easy to reach location.

The handy graphic below details which items should be placed close to which space.

kitchen graphic

  • Add organization in each and every cupboard, drawer, wall, and inside door.

    No, this doesn’t mean you have to invest in numerous storage units. Although a few of these will probably come in handy, you don’t need them for every cupboard. What you do need to do is again, organize. That means place like with like, put smaller items on top of larger, and use the inside of your cupboard doors for things like lids.

    Think about what essential items need to go where, then figure out a way to fit them there. While you’re doing this, prioritize.

  • Think vertical.

    Hang as many of those essential items as you can. Magnetic hooks, knife holders, pegs, and hanging shelves and baskets are space and counter savers (not to mention, life savers) in the kitchen.

  • Be willing to make sacrifices for efficiency.

    AND to break the rules when you need to. For instance, even though bowls should theoretically be kept close to the prep area, I keep no bowls close to mine. Why? Because I have too danged many (big surprise there). And I need the space to stores spices, oils and vinegars (I have a lot of these as well) which should be kept close to the stove area, but not too close (excess heat will degrade them)

  • Think outside of the triangle.

    My main kitchen issues are very limited counter space, and not near enough storage. There is no way to fix these issues AND keep inside the work triangle. So what have I done? I’ve added prep space and storage outside of the triangle.

    My dining table doubles as prep space, and I’ve added two stackable bookcases that I use for bowls, glass cookware, and some of my bakeware. I added a small book case that I use for cookbooks (I have tons of those, too). Lastly, I added a huge credenza and storage hutch that was part of an old home office. Tons of stuff ends up in there, from herbs I’m drying to bulk paper supplies. While the counter top holds the bread box, appliances, a few tea canisters.

    It’s not ideal, but whose kitchen is? The main thing is, it works for me. Take the time to work through your own kitchen issues, and make your kitchen work for you.

This link will take you to a site that is filled with handy ways to organize your cupboards and drawers so you can make your kitchen work for you.


Food is one of my passions, one I’ve been exploring for over 50 years. I love cooking healthy, delicious food for my friends and family and am constantly in search for new (or updated) recipes. I grew up in a family that cooks, so a huge portion of my cooking knowledge came to me through osmosis. Hang around in the kitchen long enough, you pick up some things. But, what if you’ve never cooked before? Where do you start? It’s hard to know where to begin, especially when common wisdom is that cooking is easy. Cooking is easy, if you have the right kitchen equipment, years of experience, and an abundance of knowledge AND recipes stored away in your brain. If you DON’T have those things, even the most basic of food preparation can be wrought with difficulty, not to mention very time consuming. My main goal in creating this site is to give both novice and practiced cooks the confidence they need to be their very own cooking guru! I hope you enjoy my site; please feel free to respond to it’s content.

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