Posted Dec 26, 2014

Kitchen Organization: Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef

One day, I will have a dream kitchen. It’ll feature a glass tile backsplash, stainless steel trough sink, custom cabinets, chopping block counters and top-of-the-line appliances.

Kitchen Organization Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a ChefBut alas, that ultimate chef’s kitchen is so far in my future, I don’t know when it will happen. For now, I have my small apartment kitchen and outdated units, but that doesn’t mean I can’t cook up a storm! In fact, I frequently do.

Having a small kitchen forced me to think outside the box and come up with creative, space-saving solutions that left me enough room to prep my dishes. Kitchen organization has become a forte of mine.

With a bit of ingenuity, you can make your space the envy of cooks everywhere. Here are some simple kitchen ideas you can achieve today:

Use Your Walls

The mantra of small-space organization is to store vertically, not horizontally. You can apply that mentality to your kitchen by installing tools that will keep your pots, pans, knives, etc., against the walls. These items will make kitchen organization easier:Kitchen Organization Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef- Use Your WallsKnife Magnet: I bought a magnetic strip at Ikea a year or so ago, and I love it. It’s constructed with two pieces of metal: The first you screw onto your wall, and the other is a magnet that lays over the first strip.

When installed, the magnet looks like a piece of metal just floating there – classy! But more importantly, the device holds all of my knives and makes my kitchen look like a professional space. I can easily grab whatever utensil I need and chop away. Even better, the strip is only about $13 and it carries all six of my knives with a bit of room leftover.

Fridge Hooks: My roommate found magnetic hooks online that are incredibly strong. The hooks stick to the side of our fridge and can hold pots, pans and utensils. This frees up space in our cabinets and makes accessing the pots I need a cinch.

Each magnet was only a couple of dollars, so purchasing a bunch didn’t cost very much. As with the knife magnet, the hooks give our kitchen the look of an open-concept chef’s space.Kitchen Organization Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef- organize Your Cabinets - Use Your Walls ShelvesShelves: You can place standing shelves in the corner of your kitchen, or install wall-mount ones. Either way, they add storage space to your kitchen. If you mount the shelves, make sure to find a stud – kitchen items can get heavy.

My roommates and I are planning on repainting an old shelf of mine to give the kitchen a little extra color and life. It’ll provide the perfect storage space for all of our spices and oils.

Organize Your Cabinets

Sometimes, cabinets don’t provide enough space for your cookware, but you can alter them to better suit your needs – and you don’t have to do any real remodeling! Here are some landlord-approved ways to maximize cabinet space:Tension Bars: Tension bars are kind of like your toilet paper roll holder, only longer. They have two pieces with a spring in the middle, and they make the perfect tool for cabinet organization.Kitchen Organization- Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef- ShelvesSpace them at even intervals on one shelf in your cabinet so you can slide cookie sheets, cutting boards and other flat pans between the bars. They’ll be much easier to grab than if you’d stacked the items.

Drying Racks: Pick up an extra dish-drying rack and store it inside your cabinet. You can place all of your lids in the rack, and the instrument will keep them all upright and contained. You’ll also know where all your lids are (finally!).

Get Uniform Containers

Storing food can waste space sometimes because packaging isn’t always uniform. You have that awkward flour bag and sagging rice tote next to cans and cereal boxes. Putting a lot of food in containers with similar shapes can cut down on unutilized space.Kitchen Organization Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef- organize Your Cabinets - Get Uniform ContainersMy favorite are plastic containers that are rectangular. I put flour, sugar, rice, etc., inside and they stack perfectly. You can also transfer cereal and pasta in these vessels. As for cans, I’d leave them as is. Also, pick out airtight containers so things like coffee don’t lose their flavor.

Create Zones

Professional kitchens have designated spaces. For instance, one counter may be for salad prep while another is for chopping meat. You can create a similar design in even a small apartment. Store all of your baking equipment in one cabinet and stove-top pans in another.

Kitchen Organization Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef - Create Zones

Chefs organize their stations with efficiency in mind. The tools they use most often are the closest to where they work.

Hang that knife magnet over your cutting board and put pans close to the stove. That way, you won’t be running around the kitchen trying to find that utensil you use every day – cooking shouldn’t be a sprint.

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Kitchen Organization- Set Up Your Cooking Space Like a Chef - Make your space look like it belongs in a professional restaurant. Here’s how!

Photo Credit: Lucas Fox Barcelona – Ibiza – Mallorcaramsey beyerPieter PieterseChristina B Castro

Jen Jackowski


Jen Jackowski is a graduate of Illinois State University, where she studied theater and English. Her experiences in the theatrical arts left her with a love for storytelling that she breathes into her writing. She’s also passionate about art, gaming, sustainability and fashion. Her work has been published in the literary magazine, Euphemism.

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