The first step to improving any kitchen is to clear away unnecessary items and re-organize. This may sound like a simple task, maybe something you can do in an afternoon, but things can get out of hand quickly if there are not some rules-of-thumb to follow. Here is the Hello Kitchen method to help you along:
Download it here and get started!
As you can see, it’s pretty hard core in terms of what stays and what goes. Note that all items should fit on the allotted quilt space (albeit stacked, nested, or in crazy leaning towers). The list above is exhaustive, and at some point, a person with a smaller kitchen just needs to prioritize. For serious cooks (Julia Child, for example) the collection of cookery, gadgetry, and appliances will no doubt spill over. This is an indication that you need a bigger kitchen, and it will be worth it!
I also feel strongly about what kinds of cleaning products live in the kitchen. The standard seems to be for people to keep all manner of ammonia-based products and other toxins in close proximity to our food prep area… and this just seems like a bad idea. Find a new place for the cleaning supplies, like a hall closet, insulated garage, or powder room. Baking soda, dishsoap, and vinegar are all that should remain.
Another issue I have noticed is that people tend to keep a larger number of glassware or serving ware than they will ever use. Sets of 8 will easily accommodate a family of four who is on top of their dishwashing duties. Dinner parties with more than 8 people should trigger a call to the party rental supply… because if you’re cooking that much food, you’re doing plenty of prep already! Make it easy on yourself and let the rental place wash those glasses and silverware.
Finally, most categories have a ‘specialty’ item included: this might cover Aunt Bea’s jello mold or Mom’s fondue set… but don’t let these items overwhelm your storage capacity. If you rarely use it, consider selling it on Etsy to someone who will!
So good luck, and off to Goodwill with you! Let us know how it goes.