Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Self-Organizing Kitchen

When I first moved into the house, a little over 2 years ago, I tried to come up with a way of organizing the kitchen that made sense. Spatulas in the drawer next to the stove, that type of thing. Because of the size of my drawers and cabinets and my vast collection of kitchen paraphernalia, some categories needed to be split among two spaces and others needed to share space.

Over time, as I've put things away from the dishwasher, these items in somewhat flexible spaces have rearranged and regrouped themselves.

Most items have chosen to segregate themselves based on material and shape. These categories seem to be more important than function. Glass mugs live with the drinking glasses.

Plastic likes to stay together. The plastic storage containers have claimed the top drawer; the glass containers (reused peanut butter jars and the like) have taken the bottom. One cabinet is home to a plastic strainer, a plastic citrus juicer, a plastic 2-quart measuring cup, and several plastic pitchers. The metal strainers have migrated to live with the pots and pans.

Even among the pots and pans, material matters: the iron skillets don't associate with the aluminum cookware.

In mixed-purpose spaces where differentiation by composition isn't possible, the organizing principle is shape rather than function. Large round mixing bowls (including plastic) tend to stick to large round casserole dishes and bakeware. Square and rectangular items are separate.

Now if only I could get other rooms to organize themselves.