Create functional space
To create an efficient kitchen for your family, you need to make your space more functional. Start by getting everything off your kitchen counter to create more valuable counter space. Hide cookbooks in your cabinets or mount a fold-down rack to hold your favorites. Wall-mounted paper towel and hand towel holders are also essential. Rarely used appliances, such as the ice cream maker, rice cooker and panini press, should be tucked away in an upper cabinet. Unless you use them every day, place the rest of your more-often-used small kitchen appliances on a convenient lower shelf. If you have so many pots and pans that they don't nest well together, invest in a hanging pot rack. It's a great way to get clunky cookware out of the way.
Organize your drawers
Don't let your kitchen drawers and cabinets become crowded and junky -- subdivide the drawers with compartmentalized dividers and use roll-out trays, racks and shelves for easy access. Mount hooks on the inside of your cabinet drawers to hang measuring spoons and small items that you often lose in drawers. Also, re-think your food storage containers and cookware. Stackable cookware sets are a dream. The pots and pans conveniently fit inside each other to take as little space as possible. And instead of having tons of mismatched storage containers (you can never find the lids), recycle your current containers and start over again with a Smart Spin storage system. The lids to all the containers are the same size, so you never have to hunt for the right one, and the whole set slides forward and swivels for convenience. What's also great is the containers have ounce/millimeter measurements on the side.
See: 10 Favorite home organization products
Keep a running grocery list
Create a master grocery list on your computer of all the food and household items that you routinely buy. Print out the list each week and hang it on your refrigerator. When you (or a family member) use the last roll of toilet paper or eat the last slice of cheese, he/she should put a checkmark next to the item on the list. This way, you'll know exactly what you need next time you go to the grocery store. Leave a little space at the end of the list for your husband or kids to write in extra items that they need.
Set up your office space
If you find yourself doing work projects, checking email and helping your kids with homework in the kitchen, you need to create a workstation that is organized and functional. If you don't have an eat-in kitchen with a table, you can mount a fold-down desk on the wall to create the space you need. Check out this laptop workstation from IKEA. It's a workstation that also stores your laptop, accessories, paper, pens, cell phone and other essentials. To keep your family organized, you should also have a whiteboard calendar and chalkboard in the kitchen to keep all your family's important appointments, events and to-do lists in one central location.
See: Tips for setting up your home office
Make it childproof
While you're cooking, your little ones want to be right there by your side. Make your kitchen a safe place for young children to hang out by childproofing. Use outlet covers in the kitchen and the rest of your house. Don't store any breakable glass items in the cabinets that your young children can reach (or use baby locks to keep them out). Mount a magnetic knife holder on the inside of an upper cabinet door to keep sharp knives and other kitchen gadgets organized and out of kids' reach.
||Babies and toddlers love to play with pots and pans. Instead of fighting them on it, give them an old pot or two and a wooden spoon to play while you are making dinner. You'll be able to keep an eye on them and they'll enjoy spending time near Mommy.
More kitchen solutions
10 Favorite home organization products
5 Useful kitchen gadgets
How to declutter your kitchen