Thursday, July 24, 2014

Work in Progress: The Kitchen

The kitchen is our most problematic space. As with many families, it's also where we spend our time. It's an odd space because it's spacious but not particularly functional. There aren't even drawers in the cabinets. That seems nuts to me! We've considered buying and installing our own, but I'm not sure if they would be worth the time and effort. The dining space does triple duty as the center for eating, arts and crafts, and recycling. The countertops, as you can see, are very crowded. There's about 3 feet linear space. We don't have a lot of appliances, but clearly stuff needs to be moved elsewhere or organized differently. I've included a photo of a typical meal prep. Dishes piled high because we never seem to have time to tidy up before or after meals. Mornings are slow because bedtime is much too late...because we pick the boys up at 6 everything gets pushed back, and then we're exhausted. Between meltdowns, fights, and general crankiness, the place deteriorates rapidly. You have to be extremely disciplined in a small space, and sometimes all you want to do is collapse on the couch instead of very very quietly washing dishes at 10 pm.

Projects to tackle in the kitchen include:
  • A shelf in the living room for the speaker
  • Relocate the charging station elsewhere
  • Install shelves on the tiled wall? I'm not sure this would be allowed in a rental.
  • A smaller dish rack might force me to deal with the dishes in a more efficient manner. This would also free up counter space
  • An absorbent dish drying mat that can be rolled up and put away when not in use
  • A nicer looking compost bin
  • Uniform clear bins in the dining space for art supplies

The nicest thing about the kitchen is that it's wide enough for everyone during our hectic evenings. But it isn't wide enough to add a narrow kitchen island next to the pantry niche. How would you deal with minimal counter space, a tiny sink, and the busy messiness of family life with two parents working 9-6?


joyce said...

I hate to say it, but dealing with dishes ASAP makes such a difference, at least for me. Once that food residue crusts over dishdoing becomes a cumbersome chore.

That is crazy there are no drawers in the kitchen! What do you use now for utensils, etc.? There are pull out basket thingys that SimpleHuman makes, I think. They run on tracks and you can pull them out like drawers.

Kate said...

Coming from someone who has no drawers or cabinets in the kitchen, I have spent a lot of time thinking about kitchen storage.

I would mount an ikea gruntal shelf in front of the window and then hang this dish drainer over the sink: We have one and it works for most of our dishes and then we just have a small drying mat to catch the left over.

I saw this image on remodelista and it opened my mind to shelves in front of windows:

You can also install an magnetic knife holder on the inside of the window and store your knives there. I try to get as much as possible off of the little counter space we have.

erica said...

I agree, washing up immediately and cleaning as you go is the best approach. We often use a soak tub overnight, but it sucks to wake up to that as well.

That's a good idea, kate. I've seen herb gardens on a window shelf rail but didn't consider a dish rack. That would definitely be easier to install than on the tiles.

Cyber Me said...

I was going to suggest exactly what Kate did (suspending the dish rack across the window), and as it looks wide enough, you could also add extra metal baskets to hold kitchen utensils and maybe some cutlery. In any event, I agree with getting as much off the counter as possible (I also have the narrowest of spaces).

One other thing I noticed - feel free to disregard! - is that you have three spaces designated as play spaces: bedroom/ playroom, living room, kitchen. Not to restrict access to play or anything, but could the arts & crafts supplies now in the kitchen be moved to one of the two other spaces to contain some of the kitchen clutter? Keeping similar items together and in a discrete space can reduce visual clutter, and also make it easier to store together and potentially sort through and edit.

erica said...

cyber me, sometimes it feels like the entire house is a playroom! I didn't even mention the bedroom, which is basically the TV room (we watch cartoons on the monitor).

i've been racking my brains about the arts and crafts center. i moved the paper roll to the new toy bench, and i think i could use some of the shelving space for their supplies.

i agree that having everything in the same area would help us sort and edit. which reminds me, it's time for another toy sweep and purge. yay!

Lara said...

I noticed that a lot of your kitchen stuff doesn't seem to stack well, and takes up extra space: like the bowls with the protruding handles, and the plastic strainer. I got a collapsible silicone strainer a few years ago, it slides in on the side of one of my cabinets and works well. Also, could you replace the shelves under the counter (where the charge station is) and replace it with a drawer set? And how about a pot rack? We have one and keep most of our larger pans on it, with just the smaller saucepans and heavy cast iron pans using cabinet space. One more idea: we hang all the awkward large utensils (like the ladle, pizza cutter, tongs) on a hanging rack next to our stove which replaced a utensil crock that took up counter space.