If you're like us, your kitchen is used more than any other room in your house. It's where people gather when they come over, even though your living room has more comfortable seating, and - unless it's actually dinner time - your kids are often in there foraging for food.
We've read that having an organized kitchen makes life easier. An organized kitchen is certainly more efficient when preparing meals, but it can also make cleaning up easier and more efficient too. Having an organized kitchen - and one organized around your kids' needs - can also help make it easier for kids to help with meal prep and clean-up.
Below are 5 tips you can use to make your kitchen work a little better for everyone in the family.
1. Store kids’ dishes, etc. where they can be reached. If you don't do
anything else in the kitchen, do this! It's one of the simplest changes you can make in your kitchen that will: (1) empower your kids to start helping by getting their own dishes, utensils, and/or tools for preparing meals, (2) make it easier for them to help putting things away (a great step for eventually helping with all the dishes), and (3) ensure that there is one less thing YOU have to do. While I'm sure there are ways of making that space magazine photo ready, at our house the dishes just live in a plastic tub.
2. Keep a variety of foods within reach. That pantry and refrigerator shelf that is at your little one's eye level should always include a variety of foods and snack items that you're comfortable with your kids eating. Again, you will build their independence (because they can get the foods themselves) and you can begin to built trust with them - setting limits on when they eat and letting them choose what.
3. Identify chores they CAN do. Maybe it's emptying the silverware tray. Maybe it's putting away their dishes (in their newly relocated "kids' dish drawer"). Maybe it's taking out the trash or emptying the recycling bin. Find an age-appropriate task (or tasks) over which your little ones can take ownership and let them build up their responsibility as they get older. (Your children's future roommates and life-partners will thank you!)
4. Have a child-sized broom or handheld vacuum. When kids are young, they are often excited about helping to clean, so make sure you have tools that are the right size to let them. Don't be surprised when you start hearing some whining about needing to clean as your toddlers become young kids - it might happen. But if you've implemented #3 over time, your persistence will pay off.
5. Use dividers in your drawers. Not only will this help YOU find what you're looking for, but it also makes it a little easier for your kiddos to (1) help put things away and (2) find what they are looking for when it comes time for them to help. Anything that can be done to help organize will end up saving you time in the long-run.