How To Arrange Your Kitchen Layout for Efficient Work Flow

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Are you thinking about remodeling your kitchen? If so, this is a great time to put some thought into how it’s arranged, and how that impacts your workflow.

Kitchen tasks have to be done by hand, and you’ll benefit from having your kitchen arranged so it’s easy to move through the steps of each task.

Modern minimalist kitchen with island

With a well-configured kitchen, you can save a lot of time spent walking, bending and looking for items. It’s all about where you put appliances, countertops and cabinetry.

And this is true for both small and big kitchens. Big kitchens can be more inconvenient than you might think, causing you to walk a lot between steps. While walking is good for you, having to do it during the stress of timing a meal correctly isn’t ideal.

In a wide kitchen, the distance between appliances can be too far. You can end up constantly walking between the cooktop, refrigerator and countertops.

Best Way to Organize Your Kitchen

If you’re building or remodeling a kitchen, keep in mind that the ideal natural flow for a kitchen is something like this:

  • The refrigerator
  • A countertop beside it
  • The sink beside that
  • Another countertop on beside the sink
  • The stove and cooktop

This lets you get food from the refrigerator, set it down, begin washing it, transfer the washed food to the counter on the other side of the sink, and finally cook it. Take a look at your own workflow and see if this matches it.

Leading kitchen manufacturers follow the advice of ergonomics experts and design kitchen appliances in ways that allow us to use as much space as possible.

If your kitchen doesn’t have this layout, a remodel is the time to think about it. But what if you’re not ready to remodel?

Reorganizing What You Have

The trick is to get the best flow you can. Let’s say the refrigerator is opposite the sink, but the sink still has countertop space on either side of it. Your flow becomes:

  • Walk food from the refrigerator over to the countertop by the sink further the stove and cooktop.
  • Wash food at the sink.
  • Prep food at the countertop on the other side of the sink.
  • Cook food at the stove.

So what does this mean for organizing your pots, pans, canned food, silverware, etc.?

No Pantry? Maybe you can create one

Pantries are wonderful. Even a small closet off the kitchen can hold canned goods, dry goods, snacks, cleaning supplies and any foods that don’t need refrigeration.

But loads of houses don’t have them. You can buy a hutch or sideboard instead. If your kitchen is too small, you can put it in an adjacent dining room, breakfast nook or even living room.

Of course, this isn’t ideal for having everything you need at your fingertips. It’s better than nothing in a kitchen without enough room. But ideally you want pantry items close at hand.

If there’s any room at all, you can install shelves on the wall to create more storage space. This is an inexpensive and potentially DIY way to make for a more organized kitchen. Be sure you know what you’re doing if you try to do this on your own. There are lots of videos on YouTube and elsewhere showing you how to do this so it won’t all fall down.

The way to get the best use of pantries or sidebaords is to organize them instead of just putting things in. Storage baskets can be a big help, as can other bins.

Making the best use of drawers

Designate one drawer for silverware and cutlery. Get a drawer organizer to keep it tidy. If you have utensils that won’t fit easily, like long handled spatulas or tongs, get a kitchen caddy for the countertop and keep them all in there.

Store cutting boards vertically

Instead of letting cutting boards take up a drawer, store them vertically in a narrow cabinet or even on top of a counter. You can do the same with baking sheets and other flat items.

This is not only helpful when kitchen space is at a premium. It also means none of the cutting boards are underneath the others, so you won’t need to waste time pulling all of them out to get to the one you want.

Small appliances and counter space

You’ll probably want to keep small appliances out on the countertop. This is another area where you can think about flow.

For example, it makes sense for a toaster and coffee maker, both typically used at breakfast, to be near each other. Just be sure there’s countertop space to put food on once it’s done in the toaster.

Pots and pans

Buy a set of pots that stack the next time you need new ones. This saves a ton of space in the kitchen cabinets or cupboard where you’re putting them.

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Last Updated:

March 29, 2024