As with so many other parts of our lives, kitchens often drift into a state of low-level inconvenience. If you're feeling frustrated and thinking major changes may be required, start with this quick fix to clear the slate and reconnect with what is most useful and attractive to you.
This won't take long at all and it will feel great when you see the difference you've made. You'll be running three short laps. You can do these all in a row or spaced out over a few days, depending upon your available time and energy. Each lap should take about twenty minutes.
#1 – Move out the old and cold.
Look quickly through your cupboards to find clots of things you haven't used in the past six months. Move those things out to cold storage elsewhere in the house (e.g., a clearly labeled storage bin in the garage such as "Holiday Baking Tools") or to your charity box. If you don't need it more often than a couple times a year, it should be out of your daily way.
When we did this on our kitchen we came to terms with the fact that we haven't made muffins, cupcakes, or bread in the over five years since moving in. Off to a new home with those pans and liners! We located a few large but only occasionally needed items that were able to move to a closet. We also purged a batch of cheap empty water bottles which never get used on hikes since we have a nicer reusable bottle.
Finish this lap by wiping down the newly cleared space with a lightly moistened paper towel.
#2 Clear the decks
Your target now is the countertops and open shelving. What is out in plain sight, taking up space, but which you haven't used in six days? Get those things into a more appropriate location out of your view and your way. If you don't use them more than once a week (or if they're ugly), they don't belong at the ready. Take advantage of the space you've cleared in lap #1 to store things conveniently out of sight.
We had allowed our counters to be populated with many things which seemed convenient but which we didn't actually use often enough to warrant losing so much of our limited task surface. Spice and herb boxes moved into a cupboard. Ramekins moved into the dish cabinet. Spare cutting boards shifted from a visible location to an unnoticable spot on top of the fridge where they are still handy but less ugly. We also put our least favorite one into the Goodwill box. A broken slate trivet headed out to the garden for use as a different sort of pot rest. Pot lids moved from being propped behind spice racks to their new home behind the pots in the cupboard under the sink. Lastly, some old decorative items such as a fruit basket moved out to leave more room for their more attractive successors.
Again, we finished the lap by wiping down newly exposed surfaces.
#3 Improve the new reality
Now that you can see more clearly and the items ready to hand are the right things, take a last few minutes to see if you can arrange them more effectively or attractively. Look at the kitchen with fresh eyes, acknowledging your progress and seeing the opportunities it has created for you.
We found that our attractive breadbox, which had been jammed on top of the microwave under a cupboard could now move to a more convenient spot on our sideboard, next to where we actually prepare things like sandwiches. The breadbox's top now became available as a home for a few small, formerly counter-cluttering items such as tea, honey and a small decorative pitcher. Two decorative dishes for fresh fruit were then able to move from the sideboard to the top of the microwave and free up even more of our work surfaces. Our SodaStream carbonator changed from blocking access to cooking utensils and a standing spoon rest (which Joe hadn't even noticed we had!) to live on the other counter closer to the fridge and its chilled water bottles. The kitchen now looks like we got rid of half the stuff we'd had in there even though we primarily just made better use of our space.
What can three little laps do to make your everyday life even nicer?