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Conquering The Clutter

A study was done involving 20 busy moms who participated in 45-minute telephone interviews. Overall, they cited limited or poorly used storage space, lack of time and “family members who mess it up” as barriers to keeping their kitchens organized.

In another part of the study, moms tried out educational packets that helped them analyze the zones in their kitchens and prioritize the changes that were needed. They identified barriers to streamlined cooking and strategies to overcome the issues they found.

Think about your own kitchen. Your needs change through time as children grow up or your living situation changes. Sometimes simple rearrangements will help you keep everything you need at hand.

Could you tweak the organization of your kitchen to increase efficiency? Instead of organizing things by where they fit, try to place them in easy reach of where they will be used. Can you easily reach everything you need when you are making cookies? Could you streamline your drawers to get rid of duplicates?

Consider creating “centres” in your kitchen. These are centres commonly described in textbooks about kitchen organization:

Food storage and preparation centre: This typically would be located around the refrigerator/freezer, with cabinets nearby. Along with food, you would store accessory items such as foil, plastic wrap and storage containers in this area.

Cooking and serving centre: In this area, you would keep your pots, pans and cooking utensils, such as spatulas, serving bowls and pot holders.

Cleanup area: In this area, located by the sink and dishwasher (if you have one), you would store your dishtowels, cloths and detergents. You also might have your colander and vegetable peeler within reach.

Controlling kitchen clutter takes some personal discipline and help from others in your household. To keep a handle on accumulating papers, set aside a regular time to sort through them. Instead of dropping items on the counter, provide a rolling file cabinet or plastic tub in a designated spot for “stuff.”

Consider picking up a set of stacking trays to keep papers in, designating one for each family member. Be sure the information in the trays has an expiration date, or the trays can become out-of-control stacks.

An organized, uncluttered kitchen is a pleasant place to cook. If you are strapped for time, keeping your kitchen organized can reduce your stress and help increase your cooking efficiency.

– Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, L. R. D., is a North Dakota State

University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist

and associate professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

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Julie Garden-Robinson is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

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