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In Order Blog

Organizing Principles From Vacation, Part 1: Everything In Its Place

kitchen organizing in rural Vietnamese village

Kitchen utensils neatly organized on the wall.

When I was first married, I lived in an apartment with a very small, narrow kitchen. I used to joke that it was a “honeymoon kitchen” because you literally had to hug the other person to pass by.

I recently vacationed in Vietnam. While there, I had the opportunity to visit the home of an elderly couple in the small rural village of Ky Son, about 60 km north of Hanoi. Very different than the kitchens you and I are used to, their small kitchen has no conventional stove (cooking is done over an open fire on the floor), no cabinets and a dirt floor. Despite these limitations, the homeowners were able to keep their kitchen accessories organized and they maximized their available storage space by hanging cooking utensils in the cut-out of a small log hung on the wall, and pots and pans from a hanging rack.

Regardless of whether you have a tiny kitchen or an expansive one, the key organizing principle is to designate “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” This is important so that you, and anyone else who shares the space, knows where to find things when needed and, equally important, where to return things after they’ve been used.

Kitchen organizing in rural Vietnamese home

Rural Vietnamese kitchen with hanging pots and pans