Putting a simple, nutritious dinner on the table every night is one of the best things you can do for your health and for your budget. However, if the pans are buried behind a stack of cookie sheets and the pantry is not stocked with the staples, it’s all too easy to give up and order pizza. Your kitchen doesn’t have to be decorator magazine-beautiful, but it needs to be workable.
Make some aesthetic changes.
How your kitchen looks is not really what we’re focusing on here. That said, if the yellow walls give you a headache, then change it! Give the room a pretty new coat of paint, or sand and paint your tired old cabinets. Freshen up the place with new tea towels and oven mitts, put a pot of herbs on the windowsill. Small, inexpensive changes can really brighten a kitchen – and brighten your mood when you’re in it.
Clear some space.
Are your counters crowded? Maybe they’re taken up with canisters, toaster, coffeemaker, stand mixer, basket of onions, cookie jar, blender …. It’s time to clear the counters! Do whatever you have to do to completely clear a sizeable workspace. Put the small appliances in a pantry closet or a cabinet. Hang a set of wire baskets for storage of onions, potatoes, and the like. In the kitchen, you need elbow room to sort, chop, assemble, and perform all those other food prep tasks.
Once you’ve reclaimed a functional countertop to use as a workspace, you may need to take inventory of your kitchen appliances and cooking equipment. First, sort through all your kitchen gear and get rid of duplicates, broken stuff, anything with a layer of dust on it, and any gadgets that are so specialized that you need them only once a year. Keep only what is useful and safe.
Rethink your storage.
When you’re down to what you actually use, then take a little time to think about exactly how, when, and where you use your kitchen tools. Use your existing cupboards, simple hanging or standing metal shelving, to help with the storage of your kitchen tools.
If you like having everything out in the open, visible and easy to access, think about removing some or all of your top cabinets and replacing them with open shelving. If you’re not ready for such a radical step, try simply removing the doors on your upper cabinets. With a little touch-up paint, you’ll have open shelving—and a whole new look in your kitchen for almost no cost.
If your plan is to use your kitchen to create healthy, home-cooked meals day in and day out, then what you need will be utilitarian above all else. If you can make it look decorator-cute in the process, then great! Just remember, there’s nothing lovelier than a clean, warm, well used kitchen.