I am constantly working on a more efficient kitchen.
I don't particularly like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen—evidenced by the fact that my sink is too often filled to overflowing with dishes. So if I can spend less time and money in the kitchen I'll do it; I'm always interested in anything that makes the kitchen more efficient.
Dish Towel Hamper: I use several dish towels each day (I'm a little germ-o-phobic), so I used to be frustrated with where to put the dirty dish towels when I didn't feel like walking all the way to the laundry room. But I finally realized the solution. Why not put a laundry basket in the kitchen? So I did. But it doesn't look like a laundry basket; it's just a little trash can that I keep outside the pantry door and deposit the dish towels into as necessary. And since I've had the hamper in the kitchen, I no longer have mounds of dirty dish towels piled in the corner (yes, I'll admit it)!
Extra Countertop Space: A couple weeks ago my husband cracked our ceramic smooth-top stove and we were forced to replace the top. To prevent further damage, I purchased two large cutting boards that remain on the stove when it is not in use. Not only do the boards prevent further breakage from falling objects, they also give us a lot more counter space—and who couldn't use more counter space!
Heavy Drinkers: Several members of my family (myself included) are heavy drinkers—of milk, juice, and diet soda. Consequently, we're constantly pulling a new glass off the shelf to use when we're thirsty. To help save the cups for later use throughout the day, we purchased these little hanging racks from IKEA and mounted them on the wall beside the refrigerator. Ideally, the kids use a cup, rinse it out, and then place it on the rack to use later. Although we haven't been using the racks as much as we should, when they are used properly, they really help cut down on the amount of dirty dishes I have to wash.
Wash Cloth Keeper: In my opinion, you can never have too many wash cloths. Being the germ-o-phobe that I am, I don't like to use the same wash cloth more than once, so I like to keep a fresh supply handy. We put all our (old and ratty) wash cloths in a wicker basket and keep it out on the counter so they're easily accessible. The basket also makes it easy for my five-year-old to fold and put away all the clean wash cloths that come out of the dryer.
Handy Hand Towel: I used to keep a hand towel on the oven handle, but I didn't like how it easily fell off or dragged the floor when the oven door was opened, and it always seemed that no one in the family could remember to put it back when they were done using it. So we put up a little hook on the wall near the sink and hang our hand towels there. Since it's a hook, the hand towels stay neatly in place, and when the towel is dirty, we just remove it from the hook and drop it in the hamper that is located just beneath it.
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