Monday, September 20, 2010

Heart of the home

In days gone by, when Dad went to work and Mum stayed home with the kids, the kitchen was the heart of the home. I remember, when I was a child, spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother. I would sit and read, draw or do homework while she did laundry, ironing or washed dishes. Often we would cook and bake together, plan meals and make shopping lists – even do dressmaking! All at the kitchen table. The kitchen was my favourite place to be, and I remember sitting in the lounge only in the evenings, when all the chores were done.

These days, Mum and Dad are – more than likely – out at work all day while the kids are at school or day-care. The kitchen is left in chaos after breakfast; dirty dishes stacked waiting to be washed – not the kind of environment you want to rush home to!

For you to lead a healthier lifestyle, your kitchen needs to be a haven; a place you want to come home to. To be a haven, it doesn’t have to have all the latest mod-cons, gleaming marble worktops and masses of cupboard space – but it does need to be organized. You should be able to put your hand on whatever you need in the way of utensils in a matter of seconds. If you have to search through three drawers of tangled cutlery to find the garlic press, chances are you will skip the garlic altogether.

Take a day to turn out your kitchen. Throw out or give away all the stuff you don’t use or want any more. Arrange your drawers and shelves logically – like items grouped together, most frequently used items to the front of the shelves. If you’re short of drawer space, you can always keep plastic bags or dish cloths in a basket on top of the fridge. Stand kitchen utensils in a large vase or flowerpot on the counter next to the stove. Knives do need to be kept in a drawer or knife block, for their own protection – and out of the reach of little fingers. Make sure all your small electrical gadgets are in full working order and within easy reach. Check all your plastic storage pots have lids that fit well – odd lids and odd boxes need to go. Got a large collection of empty glass/plastic bottles and jars? Are you really going to use them? Recycle.

Tidying cupboards and drawers is enormously therapeutic and emotionally satisfying. I bet, once you’ve done the kitchen, you’ll do the bathroom cupboards and wardrobes too. I did.

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