How To Get Organised

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Getting organised is the first step towards making cooking an enjoyable experience. Just like in a professional kitchen, all the elements of a home kitchen must work in an orchestrated flow to make staying organised and cleaning easier, which will give you more time to focus on the fun stuff. 

How To Get Organised

De-cluttering

  1. Take out all of your kitchen tools and sort them into a few piles: set aside and keep useful items that you use all the time, carefully consider what utensils you could donate, or give away based on how often you use those items. For example, how many times have you used that fondue pot haunting the back of your corner cupboard? Were the cobwebs lining it 2 or 3 decades old? My general rule of thumb is to remove from my kitchen any tools or utensils I haven’t used in the last 6 months- a year. Nostalgic or special technique based equipment can be moved to deep storage. There’s no point in having that tortilla press you use once every 2 years clogging up any of your useable, in kitchen space.  
  2. Think about what multipurpose items could cover the functionality of multiple, single-function items. For example: do you really need a countertop deep fryer when you could fry things in a large pot of oil fitted with a thermometer. Instead of a panini press, do you instead have 2 heavy skillets you could use to do the same job? Sometimes less is more. Having 3-4 solid, well-made pans that suit 95% of your cooking needs is better than having 10 okay pans, half of which you hardly ever use. 
  3. Get rid of the excessive duplicates of items. Do you really need 4 spatulas and 4 peelers? How about 2 well-made and comfortable spatulas and 1 sharp peeler? 
  4.  Smell all of your grains and nuts and make sure none of them has gone off or turned stale. Most nuts can last for around a year without spoiling and whole grains last about the same amount of time. If the jar smells stale at all, it probably is. Get rid of its contents and start afresh. The same goes for dried spices.  
  5.  Most ground spices aren’t useable after a year in storage. If they’re older than that, they’ve probably gone off. Don’t count your losses and just move on to greener pastures with a fresh bag.  
  6. Also, give your soy sauce bottle a sniff. Once opened, soy sauce doesn’t usually last for longer than 2-3 months at room temperature. If it’s older, it’ll impart a strange flavour to all of your Asian cooking. In fact, one of the reasons why people often complain about not being able to make Asian food taste like a restaurant at home is because they’re using old soy sauce
  7. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better with more space and room to breathe 

Organising

Before putting all of your items back away, think about how you can efficiently place your kitchen items so they can be easily accessible where and when you need them. For example: 

  1. Everyday items such as plates, plates, bowls, glassware, cups, cutlery items should be to be closer to the dishwasher or sink so you can load or unload them more easily. Place items that you use more often in the most reachable drawers and cupboards so you have the most access to the items that you use most frequently. Rewrite the placement of any kitchen item based on how functional it is in the space and don’t fall back into old habits. 
  2. Cooking items such as pots, pans, dishes, cutting boards, spatulas, wooden spoons, measuring cups/spoons, mixing bowls, baking items should be close to your stove and cooking area. Theses should all be at an arms reach so you don’t have to go wandering back and forth across your kitchen all the time. 
  3. Pantry Consider having a designated area for your pantry and dry storage items. Store heavy and large containers of flours or grains on the bottom shelf so you don’t have to lift them. Sort items by type and shape of containers. For example, all liquids and bottles of vinegar can be grouped together. All cans, since they have a similar shape can be grouped together. If you have the time, try labelling some of your dry items using a piece of masking tape and permanent marker to make finding items easier.
  4. Drawers use small boxes or baskets in drawers to sort and keep tools and utensils separated.  

Use Chef's Tips 

  1. Use one or two types of containers so you can easily see and reuse them. Ideally transparent containers.
  2. Get rid of the dead space by installing lazy susans in your corner cupboards.
  3. Make sure you can see everything in your pantry by placing items strategically.
  4. Consider the kinds of containers you’re using to store things and keep them organised by shape. Move larger containers to the back of shelves and smaller ones that might get lost in the cupboard closer to the front of the shelf where they’re more accessible. 
  5. Consider storing frequently used hand utensils in an upright canister near your stove for easy access. 

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