Category Archives: Preparation

Kitchen Strategy

organized kitchen

Kitchen Strategy

I recently moved into a house that I’m sharing with another person. Specifically, I mean that I’m renting rooms in a house that someone else owns. The person has lived in this house for about seven years and organization is not his strong suit.

Actually I think he’s the kind of person that really likes for things to be organized but doesn’t have the attention span or adequate interest in making the organization happen.

So when I moved in, I was given free reign to reorganize however I wanted to. It took me a bit of time to believe that the homeowner was serious about that. I also had a couple of false starts.

In one of my organizing sprees, I moved a bunch of things that I had been told not to move. I didn’t remember that I had been told not to move those things. What I did wasn’t malicious or intending to assert my own control. Nevertheless, my moving the things I had been told not to move caused the homeowner great distress. I understood why after he explained it and I felt very badly about doing that and causing him so much stress.

It was an education in how to go forward in the reorganizing and moving of things around his house. I understood at the point that some things I needed to be very careful about in how I moved them and what I did with them.

The kitchen needed a lot of reorganizing. I went through the kitchen and reorganized the cabinets and the drawers and then put up sticky notes on the fronts of the cabinets and drawers with the contents written on them. The idea was that while we were all learning where things were in their new places, that the sticky notes would reduce the guesswork.

So this article is about how to organize a kitchen.

Your main traffic area in the kitchen as a cook is the area between the sink and the stove and the fridge.

So when you’re thinking about what to put where, you want to put your most often used items—both food items and utensil type items—close to that triangle area.

I put the pans close to the oven in the base cabinet. I also put small appliances in a corner base cabinet close to the oven. Utensils for cooking are in drawers that flank the oven with some in crocks on top of the counter.

The wall cabinets above the stove and around the microwave contain all food items. The bottom shelves are soups, honeys, peanut butter, teas, and coffee. The second shelves up contain pastas and canned goods. The top shelf contains cereals, proteins, and bulk items.

The corner cabinet close to the stove contains spices on the bottom shelf, oils, vinegars and the like on the second shelf, and more bulk items on the top shelf.

The wall cabinet to the right of the sink contains mugs and glasses on the bottom shelf, more glasses on the middle shelf, and on the top shelf, wine glasses and miscellaneous glassware.

The wall cabinet to the left of the sink contains large plates and small plates on the bottom shelf, bowls on the second shelf, and larger bowls and miscellaneous ceramics on the top shelf.

In the cabinet next to that there is coffees, candles, and cookbooks, all in the wall cabinet over the coffee pot and the Keurig.

To the left of the sink is a base cabinet that contains baking supplies and snacks. Next to that a base cabinet contains large pans, bowls, and casserole dishes. Over from that is the base cabinet that contains storage containers and baking pans.

Above these shelves are drawers that contain silverware, napkins, towels, clips, mitts, and ties.

That is the bulk of the kitchen. In additional cabinets are dog chews and pet supplies, pictures, bases, crockpots, and tools.

Hopefully you can use this as a rough guide as you set out to organize your kitchen!

My Process

garrett on guitar

After a number of years of being in bands and preparing for gigs, I finally have a prep process down that seems to work for me. I’m going to share it here with you in case you’re struggling to find a process.

Step One:

As soon as I get a set-list for an upcoming gig, I will sit down and in a session that usually lasts an hour or more, pull up all of the charts and all of the audio files. Sometimes audio files aren’t provided, and in that case I’ll pull up a YouTube video.

For this step, I have to make sure that if I’m pulling up the YouTube video, that it’s the right one for the song that we’re doing. There are variations of original songs, there are live versions, and there are often covers. So part of my step one is confirming with the band leader that the YouTube video that I’m going to be working from is actually the version that he or she has in mind to do. It sucks to prepare for a song, show up at a rehearsal, and discover that I have been practicing with the wrong version.

Step Two:

After I have pulled up the charts and gotten all of the audio files in one place, then I start listening to the music. I create a folder with all of the audio files and YouTube videos so that I can listen through the playlist sequentially and without stopping. I’ll usually listen through the playlist once unless there are brand-new songs, in which case I’ll listen to those a couple of times.

Step Three:

My third step is to listen carefully for my particular part in the music. So if you are a keyboard player, then you would isolate your part in the recording. You would figure out at that point if you’re going to be playing pads in a certain section, or piano, or if you’ll be filling in with some other line—like a cello line or something that would require you to have that patch on your keyboard.

Or if you’re a guitar player, you’d listen for which guitar part you are responsible for.

So step three is that I listen to the recordings and isolate my part.

Step Four:

I listen again with my part in mind while I’m looking at my chord chart. I will make notations on the chord chart so that I know what I’m playing where. At this point also if I have a riff that I’m responsible for, I’ll start learning that riff. If I have to write it out, that is the point where I will also sit down with my instrument and my notation platform, and actually commit the riff to paper or to a digital file. Then I will start practicing the riff.

Step Five:

Step five is to sit down with the recording and the chord chart that I have already made my notes on and play through the song, including the riffs, to the best of my ability. I will play through several times then walk away and leave the practice session.

Step Six:

I will come back and try to remember my parts without listening to the recording. In other words, I will play through the chart with no recording running in the background and I will include my riffs and all parts that I’m responsible for as I’m playing through it.

Step Seven:

I will play again with the recording to confirm that I have everything correct and that I have the timing right and the riffs right, the entries right, and the kicks and stops and breaks all correct. I also will confirm that I have the structure of the song written down correctly and that I know exactly where I’m going in the song and when.

I do that process until it’s time for rehearsal and then I go to rehearsal feeling prepared.

Hope that helps!