Before we dive headlong into overhauling the kitchen, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Relationship Building. I knew I would find the opportunity to use some wanky corporate jargon one day… You might like to get to know RB (look at that, an acronym too), because he makes most kitchens a lot more functional and saves a lot of time without having to renovate.
This is lucky because I have inherited my family’s grand tradition of temporary kitchens. My savings plan for a non-temporary kitchen started with making some of my own cosmetics and seems to be working. In the meantime, we cupboard shuffled to keep the old duck running like clockwork.
The main aim is to keep things you use regularly in easy reach and things you only use occasionally further away.
Relationship building and cupboard shuffle basics
1. Pantry items like to be close to the fridge. 2. Pots and pans are friends with the stove and oven. 3. Knives like to get up close and personal with the work spaces and benches. 4. Bins get uncomfortable if they are too far from the dishwasher and sink. 5. Crockery, glasses and cutlery like to hang around the dishwasher and sink, too.
Clear the decks
In an ideal world, we should have 45 cm of bench space next to the fridge and 30 cm either side of the stove and sink. Yep, yep, not likely right now, but it does bring me to the one area where I am ferocious about decluttering.
We don’t have much bench space in our kitchen, so it’s very valuable real estate. I only have a clear bench because I set up a table on the other side of the kitchen for appliances and other things that need to be readily accessible.
We’re trying to store things in glass jars now and storing the jar with the lid is definitely the way to go. I confess we just use a permanent marker to write on the glass, as it can be wiped off with a scourer, but you can get all fancy with some lovey labels.
We’ve come to love glass for a couple of reasons, it lasts longer, can be cheaper if we use recycled and because this whole BPA free thing seems to be getting a bit silly. You see there has been very little regulation in the rush to get BPA free plastics on the shelf and some companies could be making matters worse in terms of other chemicals, because BPA isn’t the only problem it’s just the most publicised. Here’s the World Health Organisation’s Endocrine Disruptor report, if you’d like a spot of light reading. However, it’s not the end of the world using plastic, as the problems are mainly when the plastic is heated and even then it seems to be a long term thing. Did I mention glass looks pretty?
A few years ago I stared at my three utensils drawers, dumbfounded. Somehow amongst the overflowing and randomly placed utensils, I saw the light. It occurred to me that I could divide the quagmire fairly equally into three categories: knife-related (scissors, graters, peelers, and the like), spoon-related (tongs, spatulas, scoops and so on) and miscellaneous. This has worked quite well for me, but another approach I have seen work well is dividing items in to cooking styles: stove top cooking, oven baking and miscellaneous.
In the name of optimum efficiency (I’d love to pretend they were my middle names…), I’m going to put our most favouritist implements next to the stove in lovely upcycled tins – stay tuned over the next couple of days. The legendary stylist Megan Morton will be sharing one of her favourite thrifty kitchen tip.
Storing pots with their lids makes things quicker and it’s even faster and space saving if you can hang your pots as display options. We have ours hanging from an old railway luggage rack with the lids sitting in the tray on top.
A little love note to wooden chopping boards
Megan Morton says, a beautiful, weathered chopping board can double as an artwork that looks better with age. Display them with pride and for easy use.
And yes, wooden chopping boards can be hygenic options. My local butcher laughs, because he has to use plastic now for occupational health and safety reasons. He buys new boards all the time, because the nasties get stuck in the crevices. And where do all those little chips of plastic end up, he asked me.
In the good old days, he scrubbed his timber block, scraped off the top layer with the edge of his blade, dowsed the board in methylated spirits and set it on fire everyday. If there was a deep crevice he could sand it out. That’s all without mentioning the tannins in the timber helping as well.
Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine