Small kitchens can be tricky to cook in due to limited cupboard and counter space. These three steps will help you learn how to organize your small kitchen for efficiency.
Why Organize for Kitchen Efficiency?
Whether you are a busy college student, full-time employee, or a stay-at-home mama with five kids to care for, kitchen efficiency is vital. The ability to throw together quick and healthy meals can help you both save money and eat healthier.
I have been cooking in small kitchens since my husband and I got married almost six years ago. We went from a single square of counter space in our first apartment to a slightly larger space in our 800 square foot home.
I could write the book on cooking and kitchen efficiency failures. To give you an example, let me tell you what a typical busy night used to look like for us. My husband and I would get home late from work and walk into a messy one bedroom apartment with dishes piled high in the tiny sink. We would leave our stressful jobs only to enter a messy home environment that neither of us had the energy to deal with. The end result was typically ordering a pizza, which was far from ideal for both our finances and our health.
Now, I am not saying that there are never nights that warrant takeout. Having just had our second baby, we have ordered that wonderfully luke-warm pizza (that I didn’t have to cook) several nights in recent weeks. Zero regrets here. However, for the most part I make three meals from scratch every day and go to bed every night with a tidy kitchen.
3 Steps to Kitchen Efficiency
So how did I go from kitchen failure to kitchen success? It was definitely not a simple overnight change. Like pretty much anything in life it did require some effort on my part and will for you too. But if a tidy, organized, and efficient kitchen is what you’re after, I encourage you to keep reading. Learning how to organize your kitchen for efficiency is absolutely possible!
Step 1: Adjust Your Mindset
As I discuss in the About Me section of this blog, the reason for everything I do is to glorify my Father in heaven. It took me far too long to understand that even the most mundane tasks (like cooking and cleaning) were to be done for His glory. If I cook and clean all day, but resent the fact that it requires significant time and effort on my part, am I really doing it for His glory? I resolved that no matter how hard my day had been or how simple the task, I was going to do it joyfully for the glory of God.
I also had to accept that if I wanted to go to bed every night with a clean and efficient kitchen, I would need to do the hard work myself. For me, this meant recognizing that marriage is not always 50/50, and really shouldn’t be. As Paul says in Philippians 2:3-4:
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
This doesn’t mean that my husband never helps. In fact, I have been blessed with a wonderfully supportive husband. This simply means that I am going to fulfill my responsibilities no matter what, and I am going to do it joyfully to the glory of God.
Step 2: Organize
If you struggle with always having a messy kitchen, part of the problem might be that you have not efficiently organized. I am far less likely to put things away if they do not have an easily accessible designated home. For example, I used to despise getting pots and pans out because I had so many stacked on top of each other in a tiny cabinet. In order to get to my soup pot, I would typically have to pull out stacks of other heavy pots and pans. Definitely not convenient.
This will look different for everyone depending on the size of your kitchen. However, downsizing your kitchen tools and only keeping necessities on hand will help you clear out the space you need to sufficiently organize. You can find some tips for how to accomplish this in one of my previous posts.
You should also try to keep your most used items closest to your stove. This will ensure that they are easily accessible when cooking.
I have now reached the point where I do not have to stack any of my pots and pans. They each have their own designated home that I can easily access. This allows me to spend less time getting things out and putting them away and more time cooking.
Step 3: Clear off Counters
If you have a small kitchen, limited counter space may be your primary challenge. I remember the frustration of having to clean up after each step of cooking just to have open counter space. This resulted in very inefficient meal prep.
My solution to this problem was to keep as little on my counters as possible. I started by taking every single thing off my counter top (excluding my coffee pot) and cooking like this for a week. This included any decorations, cutting boards, appliances, mail, keys, or anything else that tended to live on my counters. This was a game changer as I had so much more counter space available. I have since made it my goal to keep as little out on my counter as possible.
Bonus Step: Learn to Cook Efficiently
In order to have an efficient kitchen, it is important to learn how to cook efficiently. Having the ability to prepare simple meals from scratch on even the busiest nights is so important for healthy eating. However, this is an entire other topic in itself, so I will discuss this in detail in a future post. Stay tuned! For now, I hope you have gained some helpful tips and learned how to organize your kitchen for efficiency.
I hope this gave you some inspiration for how to put together an efficiently organized kitchen. It is absolutely possible to cook quick and healthy meals every single night for your family. You just have have to be willing to adjust your mindset and put in the time to set up an efficiently organized kitchen. Why not get started today?