There is no reason why the baby’s stuff should overwhelm your designer kitchen counter – there is still life to be enjoyed after the baby comes out. As the heart of your home, your kitchen should be ready to handle the demands of both baby feeds as well as adult ones. Follow these simple rules to organize your kitchen, while staying true to your stylistic sensibilities.
Rule #1: Kitchen counters are best left empty
The kitchen counter is where you prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner and the occasional indulgent treat. You need space to think of what to whip up next and to actually do it. You won’t want Milo to be spilled into the salt container while you’re jostling to prepare a stick-sweet hot drink to sooth your nerves. So, keep everything out of sight, in the cupboards. The only thing that should remain is the toaster, the coffee maker and an electric kettle.
But what about the multitudes of baby equipment – bottle warmer, bottle sterilizer, puree machine? We suggest buying an inexpensive kitchen trolley (this or this) and place all your expensive specialty electrical equipment on it. A trolley has 4 open sides, on 3 levels – which means you can easily run a plug to any electrical equipment you may put on it. Place the frequently used equipment on top. Tip: if you rarely use it, please relegate it to a cupboard. The trolley is precious real estate, not a dumping ground.
Rule #2: Dedicate some storage space for baby’s stuff
When left unorganized, the baby’s things have a tendency to overwhelm our physical spaces, and in turn our psyche. Instead, carve out some space for baby’s things and the constant reminders of having no life after baby will disappear from sight.
If you wash your dishes by hand, have a dish rack dedicated to baby’s bottles, nipples, breast pump supplies, foldable plastic spoons, etc. Then you can easily pluck what you need when feeding time comes, instead of rummaging through a pile of dishes or cups for the grownups.
Baby food items should also have their own special place. This way, your little one can also help with meal time preps when he/she gets older. Simply shift their items to a lower shelf within their reach. You can do this easily if their food items are all placed in a pantry basket.
Same thing goes for baby utensils, tableware and food storage containers. Keep them to one half of a shelf (or whatever space you can carve out). That way, you’ll know when you have too much – when it no longer fits into the allotted space. If that happens, follow the one-in-one-out rule – for every one thing you put onto the shelf, chuck one out.
Rule #3: Categorize then containerize
Junior’s kitchen-related items fall into 4 broad categories:
Keep items of the same category together. When storing small or medium-sized items in cupboards, use plastic or wire baskets, so you can easily pull out the basket and grab what you need. If necessary, you can also place the basket on the counter while preparing the feed.
The baskets also makes night feeds a breeze. Since similar items are grouped together, you know you’d be grabbing the milk powder and not the powdered sugar even when your eyes can hardly open under the bright kitchen lights.
These plastic or wire baskets can be found at Daiso, Japan Home or your friendly neighborhood homeware store for the princely sum of around $2 each. If you prefer wire baskets, do line the bottom with drawer liners before using it (from your usual friendly stores) so things don’t fall through the cracks. With these awesome gadgets, no jars will languish at the back of your cupboard again.
If your shelf height isn’t adjustable and you have too much empty vertical space, get a shelf height extender like this the one shown in the picture (again, from Daiso).
Some advice gurus (we won’t name names) recommend buying lazy susans, but at close to $30-$35 a pop, we think it’s a downright waste of good money. Besides, spherical storage items never fully utilize available space – and that’s an engineering fact.
Next week, we’ll walk you through tips and tricks to handling kitchen operations like a pro.
In the mean time, try out our tips and let us know what you think. We love comments and feedback.
Hear from one of our clients
“San is truly a whiz at organizing. Even my husband was amazed at the fervor and tenacity with which she went about planning, sifting out, re-organizing and labeling our stuff such that the more frequently used items are placed at easily accessible spots. I love that everything is now labelled and has a proper space for it. It makes maintenance much easier for me. I did a test run with the new layout, preparing both my baby’s food as well as our dinner, and I’m pleased to report that this layout really smoothed out the workflow and maximized the use of my kitchen work triangle. Thank you San for an awesome job!”
– Hospital Administrator, mother to Baby A
Next week: Organizing your kitchen, Part TWO
Having a baby is one of the major turning points in a couple’s life. Somehow, time, money and space seem to shrink with the new arrival. For sleep-starved parents, keeping the home clean and clutter/dust/insects/germs-free often feels like raging war with an unrelenting tide.
Edits Inc is on a mission to decode home management (with a new baby in tow) into simple, easy and quick tips that’ll make your home run like clockwork, yet are light on the pocketbook. No more laundry pile-ups, diaper-change frenzies, toy hazards and milk-powder-dusted countertops. Just peaceful and unhurried time to enjoy your little one’s company, in an organized, spacious, clean and safe environment. In fact, you’ll enjoy having a baby so much that you’ll want another one!!
Visit us at www.edits-inc.com
 Daiso, Japan Home, IKEA and any neighborhood homeware shop.