A good kitchen is a place that makes it easy to cook. It doesn’t have to be large or expensive or filled with the latest gadgets. It does require a few basics.
The important thing about equipment is to avoid either extreme: too few tools to be able to cook properly and so many seldom-used gizmos that you waste money and space. The ideal is to have enough equipment—and the right equipment—to be able to prepare the meals that you want. The exact list depends on the type of cooking you do. If you are just beginning to stock your kitchen, look for simple, durable, multi-purpose tools.
When equipment and ingredients are easily accessible, you will be able to cook more easily. If your cupboards and drawers are jammed, it’s time to declutter them. Get rid the box of cereal that’s been sitting on the shelf for six months because everyone hated it. Move things that are seldom used to hard-to-reach shelves or to another storage area outside the kitchen. Use inexpensive storage containers and shelf dividers to make the most of your space. Try rearranging your cupboards, so that you can find things quickly. The best location for frequently-used items is near the place where you’ll use them.
Cooking and baking require room for cutting, mixing, grating and other activities. If you have no uncluttered work areas, consider how you can liberate some space. Moving most of the small appliances off my main counter freed up room for me to work. Flat surfaces like counters and tables seem to attract keys, mail, school books, purses and papers. Provide bags, baskets, hooks and boxes in other areas to store them. Yes, I know—just designating a place for the clutter doesn’t mean that it will actually end up there. But it’s a start.
Finally, are there things that would make your kitchen a more pleasant work area? Does it need a fresh coat of paint, better lighting or a chair for kibitzers—or for you? Would you like to listen to music while you cook? How about some flowers from your garden or herbs growing at the kitchen window? Cooking can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity. Create a space where it’s a pleasure to cook.