The one and only Marie Kondo came by our office a few weeks ago to show us how to organize the kitchen junk drawer and our pile of napkins. She grouped like with like and folded fabric squares like a pro. (Not surprisingly, considering she's the author of the best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and has made a career telling people how to organize and declutter.)
While she was visiting, we asked her what mistakes she saw again and again in various kitchens. We wanted to know what specific places were almost always the most disorganized and cluttered. She didn't miss a beat before giving her two-part answer to her translator.
1. The area around the sink.
Although we're big proponents of stocking pretty things around the sink to make doing the dishes a little more bearable (a plant or three, a ring holder, a pretty soap dispenser, maybe even a nice piece of waterproof art), apparently it is possible to go overboard. Too much stuff around the sink and not only does it start to look cluttered, but you also run the risk of knocking things into it. (And plumbers can be expensive!) It also means less space to stack and dry dishes that need to be hand-washed. Try to keep the space as clear as possible. This includes your drying rack — when it's not in use, slide it into a cabinet to free up the counter.
More on the Kitchen Sink
2. The area around the oven.
Look at any of the House Tours on our sister site, Apartment Therapy, and you can always tell which kitchens belong to serious home cooks. They're the ones with jam-packed utensil crocks, salt cellars, bottles of olive oil, and other things lined up around the stovetop. While these things need to be nearby for the sake of convenience, too many things around the stove can be bad.
For one, if you have a gas stove, you've got some open flames, which can be dangerous if the surrounding area is too cluttered. There's also splattering and splashing of grease and sauce. And again, the more stuff you have around, the less space you have to work.
Keep ingredients in a nearby cabinet and try to weed through your utensil crock on a biannual basis to make sure you're not storing stuff you don't actually use.
The exceptions: 5 Things You Should Always Keep Within Arm's Reach of the Stove
Seems like we home cooks have a problem with keeping too many extra things around the two areas we stand at and use the most. Do you have the same problem?