Simplified 365: The Kitchen - Day 29: Organizing the Tableware

Simplified 365 - Day 29: Organizing the Tableware

Ok, we’re getting down to brass tacks.  It’s time to plan the tableware.  This includes dishes, glassware, and silverware.  We will also tackle the utensils, pots and pans and bakeware.  

The process will be the same for each category:

  1. Identify a place for each class of items
  2. Remove the current inhabitants of that space
  3. Replace with the new items.  
  4. Put the displaced items on the counter and retrieve them when it’s time to organize their group

You know the drill.  Set your timer for 20 and let’s get started. 

Dishware and Glassware: 

First, the dishes and silverware should either be near the table for easy placement or the dishwasher for easy putting away after washing. Same for the glassware.  If you have place that is both, then great.  Put them there.  If it’s one or the other, figure out which is most annoying to you: having to hike to the table to set it or having to hike to the shelves to put things away.  The most important thing is flow.  Flow from cleaning to putting away to brining out for cooking and placement on the table.  Make this easy on yourself. 

Once you’ve decided where you’d like them, go ahead and move them.  If the move displaces other kitchen items, just put those on your counter for now.  

Silverware:

The same consideration goes for silverware. You want the drawer to be close to the dishwasher or close to your dining area; thus alleviating some of the stress of either setting the table or putting away clean silverware.  If you’re moving your silverware, empty it’s new drawer’s current contents onto the counter.  We will deal with it in a bit. 

As you may have guessed, I tricked you with the whole “set your timer for 20 minutes” thing.  It probably is chiming now. Set it for another 20 and  carry on. I promise it’s worth it.  It should take less than 2 hours to do the final organizing.  Less than 1 if you have a small kitchen. We will just work for an hour today and an hour tomorrow.  Set that timer for 40 more minutes.  

Shall we continue? 

Utensils:

When considering where to put your cooking utensils, I would recommend one jar on the countertop holding:

  • 1 or 2 spatulas
  • 1 large spoon
  • 1 large slotted
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 ladle
  • 1 whisk

If these items are in a jar on the counter near the stove, they are easily accessible when cooking.  

For the utensils drawer, consider storing:

  • 1 can opener
  • 1 garlic press
  • 1 largemouth canning funnel to aid in decanting food to glass jars (see bonus day on food storage)
  • 1 small funnel for liquids
  • 1 potato peeler
  • 4 skewers for kabobs
  • 1 nutcracker
  • 1 citrus squeezer for juice (lemon sized can be used for lemons, limes and small oranges)
  • 1 small strainer with handle

After you’ve thought about where each of these items will live, or if you’re going to just wholeheartedly follow my list, it’s time to pull out all of the utensils onto your counter and then put them back in their newly assigned homes.  

If, after placing these items in your utensil drawer, you are left with a pile of homeless utensils, I urge you to put them in a bag in the garage for a month and see how often you go out to retrieve another item.  

Pots & Pans

If you have an under stove drawer, this can be an ideal place for your pots and pans.  Ideally you will only have 3 of each and a place to store them together along with their lids. If an under stove drawer isn’t available, chose a cabinet or drawer near the stove.  Empty it’s contents out, and put the pots and pans in. 

Bakeware

If you have the luxury of a slotted, upright storage cabinet for your baking pans, great.  Put them there.  If not, and you have a small under stove bin (that doesn’t fit pots and pans) consider putting them here.  Third choice is an upper cabinet assuming you only use them seasonally.  If you haven’t baked since your 23 year old was 5, consider donating all but a:

  • Muffin tin
  • Cookie sheet
  • Cake pan

 Those 3 items should get you through any baking surprises.  If you’re really honest, and you don’t bake at all, donate them and content yourself with knowing you can always purchase a lovely cake at the local bakery. 

Once the bakeware is done, it’s time to quit.  The kitchen is still probably a bit of a mess, so feel free to order takeout tonight and not cook.  We’ll finish it tomorrow!

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