Thursday, March 06, 2014

Kitchen Hacks for Large Family Kitchens

Last week, I shared some of my favorite features of my large-family kitchen.  This week, I wanted to mention a few of the kitchen tips and tricks I've found to simplify my kitchen work.


1.  Big fruit bin  (but not big enough).  I go shopping once a week and usually bring home so much fruit that it could fill two of these bins.  One of these days I'll find something bigger.

2.  One thing I do right away is wash all the fruits before they go in the bin.  That way, the kids can have at the fruit whenever they like without me having to remind them to wash the apple first.

3.  Tupperware is standard sized and stored in one pull-out drawer.  Many years ago, we decided it made the most sense to stock up on all the same sizes so they can easily stack and store.  We love these Rubbermaid containers and keep them stacked and ready to go (the square containers on the right we use mostly for making and storing freezer jam).  One part of the pull-out holds the container, and the other part holds the lids.  This is just below my island, so it's easy to put things away.

4.  Inside the fridge, the tupperware keeps leftovers neatly stacked and stored away.

5.  As a sidenote, don't you love how you can fix anything with duct tape and bungee cords?   The lip of the bottom shelf in the door of our fridge broke a few years ago and was beyond repair.  I drilled some holes to thread the bungee cord through and that's held our milk in place ever since.

6.  Also on the island is a bank of drawers.  One of them holds this awesome plastic wrap from Costco.  We use it all the time and it fits perfectly in the drawer.

7. Meet my small appliance friends.  Marie Ricks, an organization guru I've taken classes from, says you should ask yourself about what you keep on your counter, "Is this item a friend or freeloader?”  Things that warrant staying on my counters are definitely friends I use often.

7a.  My Bosch.  We recently got the blender attachment and we now use this weekly for smoothies as well as almost daily for bread, rolls, cookies, and anything else that needs mixing.

7b.  My crockpot.  It's a little worn and the handle broke off, but this friend works for me, usually once a week or more.

7c.  Tucked back behind my bread basket is this ugly duckling -- our large grill gets pulled out two or three times a week to cook na'an bread, regular flat bread, quesadillas, pancakes, and the like.  I love it, even if it is is rather hideous.

8.  On my counter are these two nifty items that we almost daily move to our table for meals.  One holds salt and pepper and hand sanitizer, the other napkins. 

9.  We use this conch shell to call the kids in to dinner.  We live near several acres of woods and in the warmer weather, the kids can travel pretty far, catching minnows, exploring, and picking blackberries.  They also play with our neighbors.  I blow this shell and they all come home.  We bought it in Hawaii on our 15th anniversary and I love it.  It sits on the windowsill above the sink.

10.  Speaking of the windowsill above the sink, it also holds this bucket which serves no purpose whatsoever other than to hold special treasures the kids bring me.

What are some of the ways you've made your kitchen work for you?  Any suggestions on where I can get a bigger and better fruit bin?  Which kitchen appliances sit on your counters? 


Birrd said...

I like the "friend or freeloader" question. I don't like cluttered countertops. My mixer, my blender, my crockpot and my toaster make the cut. My big griddle slides nicely into a tall narrow cabinet. I love your caddies for the dining table... what a great idea! My counters also contain a decorative cookie jar that we keep plastic bread bags in (for homemade bread) and a knife block, a decorative cookbook holder, ine of those cute monkey banana holders, and a Beta fish my son brought home from school that has somehow managed to survive.

Mark Joshua Santos said...

Awesome tips you have here! I'm sure this'll be very helpful for everyone. Perfect for my townhouse in Quezon City. Thanks for sharing!


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