Permaculture Design is most often applied to land, but here is an example of a non-land based design – my kitchen. Settling into a new home takes time before you work out where everything goes, but Permaculture Design can help a lot.
Users of the kitchen – What do they each need/want
My husband – gets snacks, makes tea, washes up, chats. Needs to know where things are for snacks and where they go after drying.
My daughter – chats, occasionally does homeschool while I am working, washes up, cooks pancakes. Needs things at her height.
Househelp – washes up, puts things away, cleans surfaces and floors, gets herself tea. Needs cleaning equipment, and to know where things go.
Me -I am the main user in terms of cooking? See the LOVE/HATE list about my kitchen in a previous article https://nortonsnews.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/kitchen-design/
I have previously found that mimimalism helps me a lot to sort my kitchen as does planning for meals eg weekly planner.
Our rubbish bins are not sorted so not sure what goes in which bin yet and we’re not sure yet how to arrange the furniture.
-Mimimalism: The smallest possible number of knives, cutlery, plates, saucepans to be used in the kitchen so that everything is being used all the time and nothing is just taking up space.
-Teatowels were driving me mad, I could never find one when I needed one, then other times there were too many, most of them screwed up damp somewhere
-My back was getting tired from the standing to chop, cook and wash-up
-Still struggling with where to put what furniture (2 tables, 1 cupboard)
-The pantry shelves are not organised and different people put different things in different places so I can’t find things quickly.
-My husband likes to come in and talk to me after a days work while I am cooking but while I like the company and chat, I find it hard to cook when he paces the small kitchen.
-If I make decisions about where things go in the pantry, it would help my househelp to know where to put them so I can find them
-Need a plan for washing up as it builds up and its hard for me to cook the next meal if the last one hasn’t been done. (This is an issue of minimalism, there are not enough plates, knives etc to just grab more – but thats ok since its a small space)
-Meal planning, how to sort my recipes. Currently lots are on pieces of paper on a nail, or in books that are in another room
-Back pain: a bar stool so I can sit to chop and fry
-Pantry: label the shelves with masking tape indicating small containers, large containers, small jars, large jars
-Bins – one for compost (green covered bucket), one for food scraps for goats/chickens (blue covered bucket), one for burnables (blue bowl under sink), one for paper( bucket under sink); and outside one for tins and one for glass (Note: need to find out where to recycle tins and glass, if possible)
-Cupboard: place it opposite the washing up area so things can be easily returned there. Keep things my daughter reaches (eg plates, cutlery holder) down low for her.
-Keep a small stool in the kitchen so my daughter can stand on it to wash up
-Teatowels – 2 only on the go at any one time, both to be hung on the wire under the sink. A third dry one to be hung beside the oven to lift hot things.
-Armchair: move an armchair with cushion into the kitchen so that my husband can sit and chat without pacing.
-Mimimalism: 1 small sharp knife, 1 bread knife, 1 chefs knife. 3 saucepans big, med and small; one large saucepan, one small frying pan, 1 pressure cooker. 3 mixing bowls, 1 measuring jug, 2 wooden spoons, measuring cups and spoons, scissors, fish slice, one local wooden stirrer, 1 large spoon for serving. 4 of each piece of cutlery, 4 large bowl/plates, 2 large serving spoons. 1 grater, 1 glass baking dish, 2 metal baking trays, 1 large metal tray, 2 glass bowls with lids, one without. 1 insulated food container.
-Hang a notebook on a coat-hanger and write all my recipes in with an index
Bar stool – I borrowed one from a friend to test it out. The height and style were perfect so I got it copied by a metal worker.
It was easy to label the pantry shelves by writing on masking tape and just took a few reminders to people until they got the hang of what went where. I needed to make the decision before anyone could implement it.
Took a while to sort which bin for which type of waste, but the priority ended up being the 2 compost bins needed to have lids. Also took a while to work out what foods the animals (goats and chickens) will eat or not eat dictating which food/cooking scraps went in which bin. Basically fruit stones (avocado and mango) and onion or garlic skins don’t go to the animals. Meat scraps go to the chickens but not the goats.
I found a notebook with a ring bind and blank pages. I threaded a coat hanger through the ring bind and bent the wire so the notebook didn’t slide. I wrote all the recipes I use here on each page with an index at the back.
Much less back pain when I use the stool. Much easier to tidy things (pantry, teatowels, rubbish) as clear decisions have been made on these. Loving having the armchair in the kitchen, the colourful cushion looks so nice, and its great to have company and a place to put someone to sit instead of pacing! Having all my recipes beside where I cook helps a lot.
My daughter keeps forgetting to put the stool back in its place when she has finished washing up. I don’t see it and am always whacking my ankles on it. Try storing it under the sink instead of on the other side of the room so its not so far for her to put it away.
I tend to use the local wooden spoon rather than the 2 small ones as they are too small and fall into my saucepans. Try removing them from the kitchen for a while and if I find I am not looking for them to use, pass them on to someone else.
Paper bin: this bin was getting to overflowing too often as I was using the paper to make paper briquettes. This involves tearing it into small scraps, soaking it overnight and then squeezing it into briquettes to sun dry. People were not tearing their paper small when they put it in the bin (including me) and tearing up a whole bucket full was a job that kept getting put off. Also, its too wet for half the year to dry them in the sun. So I decided to use the paper in a hot compost pile instead. If I want to do briquettes again I could do them in the dry season.