How much time do you spend in your kitchen?
The average person spends around 64 minutes a day in the kitchen partaking in food related activities such as preparation and clean up. If you are the one actually performing these activities, the time jumps to an average of 2.3 hours a day. Overall, people are spending around 17.5 percent more time preparing food than previous decades (Anekwe & Zeballos, 2019).These numbers are projected to have rose even more this past year, due to the increased amount of time people spent at home due to the pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of eating healthy and cooking at home. But I DO NOT like the aftermath and effort it takes to create my 5 star meal. Ingredients, utensils, leftover food scrapes and the worst of all…dishes, are a dreaded sight after the hard work you just put in to make your restaurant worthy cuisine.
Below is a collection of things we found helped us spend less time in the kitchen and become a pro at busting out all those recipes we have pinned on Pinterest.
Keep Most Used Items on Counter Within Reach
When preparing a recipe how often do you find yourself going back in fourth between your pantry or cabinet getting the ingredients it calls for?
Instead of trudging back in fourth between your stove and cabinets, keep most used items within reach for easy access. Ingredients like flour, sugars, and other commonly used recipe ingredients can be stored in cute canisters, like our Galvanized Banded Wood ones, to disguise their contents but still have these items easily accessible during cooking. Things like olive oil and most used spices can be stored on a decorative tray , or a lazy Susan like this one from amazon, to help eliminate time searching through the spice cabinet.
If you want a more styled option use one of our metal trays or a shallow round tray and place this lazy susan underneath it. Your tray will be able to rotate while still bringing personality to your space!
Another personal favorite of mine is to use the lazy susan piece from amazon underneath our mango wood cutting board. I love the look of the mango underneath items and having a cutting board in reach makes it easy to chop items quickly.
Display Utensils Openly
A simple tip you may have already incorporated into your kitchen, is displaying your utensils in sight. This tip plays off the previous notion of having most used items within reach. Store your utensils in a cute vase such as our Faux Terracotta one. This again, cuts down on time by eliminating the hassle of having to scuffle through the utensil drawer cluttered with wooden spoons and other utensils that have not gotten used in ages.
Clear Counter Space
Have the initial cooking space and counters clear of clutter and ready to get messy!
Starting any project whether it be cooking related or something else, is always easier when the space in which you are choosing to create it in is free of clutter.
Having most used items in reach is great but can also take up counter space. Thus, having a functionable home for these items is important.
My iPad or phone often seems to follow me into the kitchen as I take on the challenge of one of those pinned recipes we are all drooling over. (one of my favorites is Creamy Tuscan Chicken). I use our Wood Stand to prop my device on to help keep it off the counter and clean, as ingredients and utensils crowd the counter top.
Pre-Gather Meal Ingredients
Something we like to do in our kitchen at home is create a “dinner bin”. This is a small decorative basket or deeper tray like our beaded edge one, we use either on our counter or in our pantry to store the needed ingredients for a recipe all in one place. Pick a recipe and gather all the ingredients and place them in the bin together. Having this bin makes it easier to quickly complete recipes.
I like to set the basket on the counter that morning or the night before. Having it in sight helps take the guess work out of deciding what to make for dinner, and holds us accountable for actually cooking at home, instead of choosing to get fast food last minute.
Group and Categorize Items
Grouping like items in both cabinets and pantries is a great time saving tool. The best way to approach this is to choose a categorization strategy that works best for you and your family’s lifestyle. For some, it maybe sorting like items together, for others it could depend on family routines and common ingredients used. For example, having all items used in children’s lunch boxes in one area, and having all of taco Tuesdays fixings in another.
Label, Label, Label
A great solution to eliminate the search for ingredients is to label them. This can be done by transferring spices and ingredients into jars. Labeling leads to quicker identification when syphering through the spice rack or cabinet.
Clean as You Cook
We all know the feeling of having just devoured our homecooked dinner, feeling stuffed, to then turn to the counter and see the aftermath of our meal scattered about. A great habit to get into is cleaning items as you go. Cleaning as you go helps elevate the stress of having to do the dishes after cooking. This also cuts clean up time in half making the idea of cooking a little less exasperating.
We implemented these into our home and have found ourselves wanting to cook at home rather than choosing to dine out. These have not only saved us time and money but allowed us to also spend more quality time making organic memories with the people we care about most.
Owning your kitchen instead of it owning you can seem like a task. But you can reduce your time spent here and alleviate the stress of meal prep, by making small changes that best work with your family needs and space. Start by checking out some of our décor pieces to help you tame the chaos of cooking!
We loved these helpful kitchen hacks, and if they helped you as much as they did us, subscribe to get more home and décor tips sent directly to you!
Anekwe, T. & Zeballos, E. (2020) Food-Related Time Use: Changes and Demographic Differences. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/95399/eib213_summary.pdf?v=9847.6
The Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020) Time Spent in primary activities. Table 2.1. Retrieved from yhttps://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.t02.htm