*This is a guest post.
The kitchen is the heart of every home, and a well-designed kitchen helps the whole house feel more organized. Because they're the center of so many activities from cooking dinner to gathering with friends, kitchens work hard. Whether you love cozy country styles or sleek contemporary designs, proper kitchen organization will help ensure you keep everything within easy reach.
Expect kitchen designers to use the guiding principle of the work triangle when planning the room. Many experts describe the points of the primary work triangle as the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. These three areas see the most use in a kitchen, and you're constantly moving between them. An efficient work triangle, they suggest, should have sides between four and nine feet in length. Longer distances mean wasted space, and shorter lengths make conditions crowded if more than one person is using the space.
Depending on how you use your kitchen, the room may have additional triangles. Anytime your routine leads you to multiple points, you have an opportunity for a more efficient kitchen layout. Let’s say you have a new home in Philadelphia for example, chances are your new home builder paid greater attention to secondary triangles because so many owners crave kitchens that are as functional as they are beautiful. By organizing your kitchen according to the work triangle principle, you take full advantage of great design.
Keep Cutlery Close
In a professional kitchen, chefs are never far from their knives. If you have to cross your kitchen to reach your knives, you're making extra work for yourself. Having knives near your preparation area is also important for safety. Martha Stewart Living recommends a magnetic knife strip, but a tabletop knife block near your cutting board works just as well. If you keep your cutlery in a drawer, make sure it’s in a drawer closest to the dishwasher and sink to cut down on the distance you have to go when putting the dishes away. This also makes them easier to reach for when you’re getting ready to eat a meal.
Create Work Stations
Another tip you can borrow from the pros is the concept of workstations. Each chef has a station on the line, and each station has everything it needs to produce the dishes that come from that station. Consider how you use your kitchen and make your own stations with everything you need nearby for your most common kitchen tasks. For example, you might store your coffees, teas, cups and sugar near your coffee maker so everything is within reach. If you regularly prepare lunches for work or school, have a sandwich station with bags, wrappers and condiments on hand.
Install Revolving Shelves
Cans and boxes invariably find their way to the back of a cabinet, but with lazy Susan shelving units that revolve, nothing gets lost. This pantry organization can also save on grocery bills. When you know what you have in your kitchen, you're less likely to spend on duplicate items or let foods expire.
Choose Function over Fashion
Those sparkling glass bottles of oils and herb vinegars look beautiful on your windowsill, but spices, oils and other ingredients lose their flavor when exposed to sunlight. So be practical in your kitchen layout and store these items in a cabinet or pantry, above the oven or stove if possible. Keep food safety, freshness and flavor in mind when filling your new kitchen.
Eliminate The Junk Drawer
Almost every home has a junk drawer for kitchen odds and ends, but yours doesn't have to be one of them. Peter Walsh, author and frequent contributor to Oprah.com recommends a divide-and-conquer strategy for kitchen junk drawers. Clear, labeled containers ensure that everything has a home and finds its way back to it.
A new kitchen is a fresh start. Make the most of it with kitchen organizers that let you spend your time enjoying your new home instead of hunting for that elusive wire whisk or walking half a mile to make an omelet.
*Byline: Alison Johnston, a blogger for Richmond American Homes, One of the nation’s leading Home Builders writes about organizational skills and DIY home improvement projects.