My husband and I have a running battle over our kitchen island, it is his work space for unloading the groceries and cooking, but it is also my work space and he gets so frustrated when all of my stuff is there – but I hate being “kicked out” of our home’s major work spaces. How can we find a compromise? -Anonymous, Goose Creek, SC
Historically, the kitchen is where food is prepared and served. However, in recent years, the kitchen has become the main family gathering place. Builders are now adding desks and outlets for electronics to kitchen areas for that reason. And we know that when we entertain, you can count on the majority of people gathering in the kitchen.
The key is to effectively utilizing a multi-functional set up is to create zones, including a Workspace/Family Communications Area. The other zones include: food preparation/cooking, dish washing/cleaning, food storage, and serving. If you like to work at the kitchen table or island, give the items you use a home that they can return to once you’ve completed your work. For example, designate a cabinet to hold a portable file box, as well as supplies needed, perhaps your purse and cell phone to keep counter spaces clear of the clutter that can quickly and easily accumulate.
If you have a laptop and bring work home, instead of “fighting” for space on the island while dinner prep is in progress, carve out a corner in another area or see if it’s possible for the food prep to be accomplished on another part of the counter top.
Here are suggested zones, where to locate, and the materials needed:
Zone One: Food preparation
Locate near: Sink/Trashcan
Materials needed: Spice rack, mixing bowls, measuring
cups, wooden spoons, knives, cutting board, and
miscellaneous appliances (mixer, chopper, blender)
Zone Two: Cooking
Locate near: Stove
Materials needed: Pots and pans and utensils
Zone Three: Cleaning
Locate near: Sink/Dishwasher
Materials needed: Trashcan, soap, and sponges
Zone Four: Food storage
Locate near: Refrigerator
Materials needed: Tupperware® or Glad Ware®
Zone Five: Serving
Locate near: Kitchen table or eating area
Materials needed: Serving dishes, plates, bowls, glassware,
utensils, and napkins
Zone Six: Workspace/Family Communications Center
Locate near: Telephone/Desk Area (if you have one)
Materials needed: Portable file box or pull-out file holder for incoming mail/bills, pens, pencils, paper, family calendar.
Note: The Workspace/Family Communications Center in the kitchen should contain ONLY active paperwork. The portable file box should have a home, take it out when you use it, and put it away when finished. Store paid bills and other Reference materials in a file cabinet in an office space.
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