By Refilwe Boikanyo

The modern kitchen is a busy place. In addition to being the area where food is stored and cooked, for an increasing number of home owners it’s also where family gatherings take place, guests are entertained, hobbies are pursued, homework is done, and so much more. To make it a pleasant area that functions at optimum efficiency, both now and beyond, try some of these tried and tested tips for reorganising the kitchen.

Purge

In a quest to make cooking quicker and easier, home owner are constantly filling their cabinets, drawers, shelves and countertops with the latest appliances, knick-knacks and gadgets. Ironically, these items can ultimately make cooking more trying, because you end up digging past them to get the essentials. As a result, kitchens can become a major collection point for junk.

So before you can streamline and reorganise your kitchen, you have to sort through the clutter. Start by looking through all of your storage and display areas, and consider whether you really need the items in your kitchen. According to experts, if you haven’t used an item in the past six to 12 months, or it doesn’t work properly, it’s time to get rid of it.

Locate

Now that you’re left with the essentials, where you place them is important. According to Philip Richards, brand manager at blu_line, you should always avoid placing all major storage in one part of the kitchen. For instance, if you have a waffle maker on the countertop but only make waffles once or twice a month, while your coffee machine is on the top shelf and every morning you get on a stool to get it, it’s time to reconsider their location. In order to save time and increase efficiency, put all of your frequently used items in accessible places.

Grouping the items is something else you should do when choosing locations. Space organiser and de-cluttering consultant Tonya Lehtinen from The Space Whisperer says that, depending on our needs, we all have various workstations throughout our kitchen, and it’s important  for the implements we need for a task, to be near the relevant space.

Zone

Regardless of their style and layout, kitchens consist of three zones: a preparation and cleaning zone, a storage and refrigeration zone, and a cooking zone. Experts refer to these zones as the work triangle, and believe that in order to get the most out of a kitchen, it needs to be organised according to these zones.

If you are about to build a new kitchen or update your current one, consider installing smart storage for cookware, cutlery and utensils near the stove (cooking zone), and make provision for chopping boards, knives, fruit and vegetable baskets and a bin near the sink (preparation zone). Since the refrigeration zone caters only for cold storage, you will also need to create a storage  where you will keep non-consumable goods such as china, glassware and plasticware.

Maximise

Ashleigh Blackman, Sterlings’ kitchen designer, adds that from pull-out pantries and recycling bins to built-in wine storage and appliances, kitchen trends are about maximising space. So where possible, try to fully integrate your appliances into your cabinetry.