A good kitchen design will have streamlined workflow patterns and also compliment your family’s lifestyle and cooking patterns. This article is written to help those in the process of remodeling and others that simply wish to streamline the working areas within their existing kitchen.

Consider the flow patterns within your kitchen. Examples of flow patterns will be; prep, cook, bake, clean, incoming and store. A well-planned kitchen will flow smoothly. Simply stated, things will be at your fingertips when you need them.

Start by considering the prep area. This space should be located by the sink and should have an ample amount of open countertop area. The best position for this area would also be adjacent to the refrigerator. Knives, cutting boards, colanders, mixing bowls and related tools should be within arms reach.

The cook area positioned around the stove naturally should contain all devices related to cooking. Pots, pans, lids, spoons, spatulas, tongs, and spices should live within this space.

The baking zone is flexible depending on the amount of baking you perform. One client’s baking area is very large and comprehensive because she is the official cake baker for every birthday in the neighborhood. Obviously, she needs a lot of drawer space for cake décor, icing, coloring packets and all of the other goodies bakers use. She also requires extra space for specialty baking molds and platters. This area also contains mixing bowls, blenders, toothpicks, hot pads, cooling racks and trivets. Some people rarely bake and use their oven once a month for the pot roast. If this is the case in your household, simply store your baking dishes and potholders within this zone.

The cleaning zone will include the sink area. If you are lucky enough to design a large kitchen, consider installing a separate sink by the prep zone to keep your areas more sanitary. The clean zone will contain sponges, dishcloths, soaps and towels.

To simplify your grocery shopping, use one area consistently for your incoming groceries. This incoming zone should be positioned next to the fridge and pantry and have a wide-open counter area for unloading grocery bags.

Many kitchens also function as the family hub. If this is the case, make sure to create a zone for family members to congregate and also participate in the cooking process if desired. This is where islands can come in very handy. While side of the island typically faces the stove, the ideal island will include a small sink close to the other side for food prep so that others in the kitchen can be out of the way and still participate in the cooking process.

If kids come to this area directly after school, install hooks for backpacks on the side of the counter and a few shelves close by for school supplies. Accommodating these items will alleviate stress and clutter in the kitchen. It also provides a great space for family members to congregate, do homework and other projects while the meal is being prepared. The pantry can also double as a school supply cupboard.

The pantry location is optimal when it is positioned between the outside door and the refrigerator. Pantry storage and optimization is a whole topic on it’s own. Check back for an article dedicated specifically to organizing pantries.

Kathi is a Professional Organizer, image Consultant based in San Diego California.

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