10 Steps To Kitchen Space & Clarity; Part Two

By Raederle Phoenix

Click Here For Steps 1-6

Step Seven: Keep The Dishes Clean & Orderly

Avoid leaving dirty dishes around your kitchen, especially if space is limited.  A dirty kitchen disinclines you from making a healthy meal because it means cleaning up a big mess before you even get started.  Try to 'clean as you go' as you prepare meals.

For example, if you're going to chop up a bunch of produce for a salsa, you might currently leave a cutting board, a couple knives, lemon peels, the hand juicer, food processor and so forth, all dirty to be cleaned up after the meal.  Instead, try this:

Ensure that your drying rack and sink are clear and clean.

Wash your produce. Chop your produce. Put produce into the food processor.

Wash your cutting board and knife(s).

Set out your serving dish or eating dishes.

Pulse your ingredients into a sauce or chunky salsa.

Put salsa into a serving dish or directly into the dishes that are being eaten from.

Wash the food processor.

Wipe down the counters and table.

Eat your meal and enjoy it.

Wash the plate(s)/bowl(s) and utensils used for eating.

In the above example, the washing is spread out. This means nothing sits around getting sticky and difficult to wash. This also means nothing gets forgotten. Also, it feels much less overwhelming to wash a couple items than it does to wash an entire sink full.

If drying rack space is limited, wire frames can be used to somewhat extend the space.  This is especially helpful if you often don't have room to dry your large appliances.  If on Saturday you make a smoothie for breakfast, juice for brunch, and use your food processor to make a grated salad for lunch, you'll quickly run out of places to put appliances to dry.

As shown to the right, a small wire extension can make a large difference. The blender in the photograph would otherwise be entirely unable to fit. Shown in the third photo, the simple addition also gives a few more inches off the edge of the sink, covering up a worrisome gap between sink basin and wall.

If your drying space can not be extended, you can place kitchen clothes on the counter or within shelves so that appliances can be put directly into their place without creating pools beneath them.

Step Eight: Filling Hollow Spaces

If you've got a microwave, an oven, a dehydrator, a cooler, a rice-cooker, a large cooking pot, etc, then you've got a lot of hollow spaces in your kitchen.  You can store dry goods, pots and pans, cutting boards, knives, tea boxes, etc, in these hollow spaces to create more free space for preparing food.

For example, if you own a rice cooker, you can store the bags of rice inside the actual cooker.  When not currently drying food in your dehydrator, you can store dry foods in sealed bags within.  When not using your oven, you can keep it full of pots, pans and baking trays.  

A cooler may be filled with napkins, disposable cups and plates and other items you may have around specifically for when you go on a trip.  You may even use your cooler to store your reusable grocery bags (as long as it is easily accessible).

Step Nine: Square Containers

If you're using circular containers, consider switching to square.  The more square they are (not tapered down to a smaller size at the bottom) the better.  Circular containers leave a lot of empty space between them.  When you store your nuts, seeds, powders, spices, teas leaves, sprouting seeds, grains, dry beans, dried fruits, etc, in square containers instead, you get the most out of your space.

Another option is to use bags with a clip, rubber-band or tie.  Bags will fit into whatever space you put them in.  This is especially advisable if you're using the drawer of a fridge to store your dry goods.  If you're prone to in-fridge spills, consider double-bagging dry goods within the fridge.

When traveling, carrying square/rectangular containers in a square/rectangular bag is very convenient.  Instead of containers sliding around and turning over in the bag, they sit snugly together without wasting any space.  One standard-sized rectangular reusable bag with a reinforced bottom can be filled with an entire set of rectangular glass-lock containers.  You'd be able to take enough food for an entire day for two people in just one bag.  (I know, I've done it over and over again.) 

The largest rectangular container may be used for a large salad (drizzled with fresh lemon juice for freshness), the other two rectangular containers for salsa-type dishes, the large square containers for fruit salads, the small square containers for trail-mix-type snacks, and the smallest rectangular containers that come in one set of glass-lock containers may be used for hummus, seed cheese, or some other dip or spread.

Insulated reusable bags are a great alternative to coolers. The bags fold up and vanish from sight, whereas the coolers take up a lot of space in the kitchen.

Step Ten: Look Deep Into Your Fridge & Freezer

Do you have a large fridge or a tiny one?

If your fridge is large and spacious, and usually sporting excess space, then relocate dry grains, nuts, dried fruit, vinegar, condiments and spices to the fridge until your fridge is periodically full.  A full fridge is more electricity efficient.

If your freezer is spacious, you may put fruits, nuts and seeds that you intend to cook or blend in your freezer.  Frozen bananas make an excellent base for a vegan and raw ice cream.  I usually have ten bananas in my freezer.

A tiny freezer can be frustrating, but because frozen items don't really get “squished” you don't have to stress about a small freezer. You can fill metal bread pans will fruit, cover with parchment paper, and then throw bags of frozen produce on top, or a bowl of leftover ice cream.

The tiny freezer to the right can hold six small bags of frozen berries, two bread pans filled with approximately twenty five frozen bananas, and three to four pounds of nuts in the door.

In a small fridge, consider rotating condiments.  For example, this week use horseradish, next week ketchup, the week after sauerkraut, vinegar the week after that, and so forth.  With some creativity and the help of the internet, you can use one condiment twenty different ways throughout the week until it's gone and then replace it with something different.

Also, consider what you may be keeping in your fridge that would do just as well on the counter. A citrus bowl of grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges on your dining table is festive and practical.

Another festive addition to your table can be greens put into vases.  Instead of tossing kale, chard or celery into the fridge, cut a very thin layer of the bottoms of the chosen green and then put it into a decorative vase on the table or counter.  

This will remind you of the beauty and health that greens have to offer while leaving more room in your fridge for tubs of pre-washed spinach or jars of kim chi.

Using seasonal food as decoration as well as eating the food gives you a perpetual small creative “chore” that provides a continually changing atmosphere. I find this not only helpful with limited space, but with finding peace in the home.

I wish you merry holidays, a clear-of-clutter kitchen, healthful eating patterns, and an excellent digestive system.  Namaste.  

~ Raederle Phoenix

5 Comment(s)

  1. Good ideas and information. For more II suggest you check out my website for more pictures of how to use glass jars for efficient storage. I don't keep anything in plastic containers or plastic bags. I always know how much food I have and when I am running low. A side benefit is no bugs invading your kitchen. The odd time I have brought something infested home the problem stays neatly in the jars not in my cupboards, I also easily create extra shelving and show you how to do this. With basic skills (know how to use a hammer and nails) and getting your boards cut at the lumber yard you can create a lot more space in your cupboards for minimal cost. You would be welcome to pass this idea on to your readers. Look under photos, then shelving. 
    Abundant Living by Design

    Edie | Reply

  2. Thank you so much! Your ideas are stimulating and the care with which you present them is very welcome. Thanks for helping us to change our habits and methods. Barbara

    Barbara Beierl | Reply

  3. Love the greens in a vase idea!  No more out of sight, out of mind.

    Donna | Reply

  4. Good tips– thank you!
    I find I can store more in my freezer by using various sizes of freezer bags.  When empty, I wash them, shake them out, and let them dry to reuse. I freeze banana halves this way by wrapping each in plastic wrap so they don't stick together. I freeze grapes this way by washing them in a colander, letting them dry and then putting them in the bags. This goes for other fruits and veggies, too.

    Osheena | Reply

  5. Edie, Osheena, Barbara & Donna — Thanks so much for your feedback guys!

    Raederle | Reply

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  1. May 7, 2013: from Creating Kitchen Space & Clarity; Part One | Vegan Recipes Blog

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