Rearrange Your Kitchen to Prevent Pain

The way our environment is set up can actually cause or exacerbate pain.  Ok, so you already have a feeling that I'm asking you to change something, and your immediate objection is, "I've always done it this way and it never caused me any problems," or "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." 

But did you know that small repetitive motions that cause an unhealthy imbalance in your body (whether chemical or physical) can all add up to eventually cause a serious injury? 

All the times you

  • bend down funny to get a pot or pan from the cupboard underneath the stove or
  • the times you reach up and sideways, tiptoeing to reach the sugar on the top shelf or
  • the times your bend at your waist and peer into the fridge to take a tupperware out from the the back of the fridge

...can all add up over the years until one day, your back says, "I've had enough!" and shoots you a sharp zing of pain. Then you're dealing with pinched nerves or arthritis or a back strain or something else that causes chronic pain. 

It's not worth it, right? 
 

So what if I told you that you could do something now that you may (or may not because you won't have pain and won't even think about me! That's the goal at least!) thank me for later? 

Ok, so step into your kitchen. We'll just tackle your kitchen today. And we are going to do this KonMarie style. (Don't know what that is? Check it out here. It's a decluttering method that took the world by storm.)  Let's do the cupboards and drawers first. 

Step 1: Take Everything in Kitchen Out

First, take everything out of your cupboards and drawers and put them on your dining table. (I'm not kidding.) Lay out towels first if you're afraid of getting scratches on your table.

Step 2: Separate Items Into 3 Piles

Separate your items into 3 piles: most-used, occasionally-used, and rarely-used. You'll have to define what each one meams for yourself. For example, most-used can mean you use it 3+ times a week, occasionally is 3-5 times a month, and rarely is once a year. If you're not cooking already, now's your time to consider starting since everything will be placed in super easy-to-reach areas after this exercise. So you can think about the items you would like to use more often and put them into the appropriate piles. 

Step 3: Place Rarely-Used Items in Harder to Reach Places 

If you have enough space to put all your items in easy-to-reach places, meaning waist level and close to place where you use the item, then by all means, do that. But if you don't have enough space, you'll want to put your RARELY-USED items towards the back of the cupboards and in the bottom drawers. 

Step 4: Place Occasionally-Used Items In-Between

Place your occasionally-used items in the "alright-to-reach places," in between "hard to reach" and "easy to reach." (Ok, duh.) Or maybe read the next step first before you go and do this step. :) 

Step 5: Place Your Most-Used Items

You want to place your MOST-USED items close to wherever you'll be using them, i.e. chopping boards close to the sink, pans close to the oven, and pots close to the stove, and as close to waist level as possible. This reduces any bending, twisting, reaching forward, or lifting motions as you move around in your kitchen. So plan out where you want to place these most used items, and be sure to place your occasionally-used items in their places first. If you can, you may have to re-adjust the shelf heights to fit your most-used items. 

 

Recap:

So the rarely used items are going to be the ones in the bottom drawers, in the back of the cupboards, or on the high shelves. Most-used items are close to waist level and on the outsides of cupboards. Occasionally-used items go somewhere in between. 

Have patience...

After doing this, there will a learning curve. So give yourself some time to get used to this new arrangement, and before long, you'll feel a difference. You should find yourself not hating cooking so much, too! 

What about the Bedroom? Bathroom? Workstation? 

If you want to learn more about reducing pain with specific strategies for different daily environments, be sure to watch out for my soon-to-be-released Pain E-Book. 

 

To register for updates regarding the release date and for a FREE Pain Management Checklist download, click here: