With small homes and apartments on the rise, kitchen space is something we can never seem to have enough of. Whether it’s our washing machine making it hard to squeeze through the door, or our cupboards overflowing with utensils, there is always an aspect we have to adapt to better utilise our space.

Fortunately, there are many ways to optimise our kitchen so that we’re not having to shove our drawers shut, or bump into things as we cook. Whether you’re thinking of renovating or are wondering where to start designing your small kitchen, here are some tips for making the best of your space.

MAPPING YOUR SPACE

Appliances are the building blocks of any kitchen - the essential components. They also tend to take up the most space, so you want to make sure to choose them carefully to best optimise your room. It’s important to consider the following:

  • Need - Do you really need the appliance, and will you use it? Start with the basic appliances first (i.e., washing machine, fridge, microwave) and move on to the small appliances afterwards. Question whether you’ll really use that pasta maker, or whether it’ll just collect dust.
  • Functionality - For your core appliances, you want to invest in something that is practical and appropriate to the space. Whilst a big, range cooker might be appealing for larger kitchens, you’re going to want to look for something that functions the same but in a more compact way.
  • Efficiency - To optimise your space, you might want to look into efficient appliances, such as 2-in-1 combo appliances (e.g., washer dryers).

COMBO APPLIANCES

Combo appliances are a great way to save space as they generally roll two appliances into one. As mentioned, you may consider investing in core appliances that are more efficient in the long run, rather than having to sacrifice space elsewhere. Here are some combination options:

  • Washer Dryers: A washing machine and tumble dryer in one. If you don’t have a utility room, you can optimise your kitchen by not having both of these appliances take up space.

There are also integrated appliances, which can be customly fitted to your kitchen, or built into your cabinets:

FOOD PREPARATION

Once you're done choosing your core appliances, it’s time to decide on the smaller ones. You can make up for what you lack in counter space with some small, handy appliances that’ll do the manual jobs for you.

You might want to invest in a MultiTalent food processor, for example, which has up to 8 different features - including chopping, blending, and mixing. Mess tends to pile up in small kitchens, so if you can regulate these tasks to one place, you’re more likely to optimise counter space.

Coffee makers are also another good option. Small and convenient coffee pods can supplement the multiple steps that go into making your coffee. They are also more efficient, and some can even replace your kettle if all you use it for is making hot beverages.

However, as handy as these gadgets may be, it is important that you only choose the appliances relevant to you so that you’re not wasting space in the long run.

STORAGE

When packing a box, you’re usually advised to start with the big things and slot the smaller things in afterwards. Therefore, by choosing combo or integrated, core appliances it means that there is more space to ‘slot’ the smaller things into storage. For example, when floor space is optimised, you can perhaps have an island or free-standing pantry shelf to store spices, ingredients, or utensils.

Another option is overhead storage. One tip is to hang utensils on the walls or have magnetic racks to stick them to. Smaller appliances, like microwaves, can likewise be installed overhead to optimise counter space.

You can also optimise drawers with drawer dividers to keep your cutlery and utensils neat and organised. Cupboards can be arranged in the same way, with storage containers.

GET STARTED

Once you’ve decided on the right appliances for you, and their layout, all that’s left to do is get started! Small kitchens may seem daunting at first, but when you take the time choosing the most efficient appliances and storage solutions; it becomes a lot easier to best make use of your space.

Christmas is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. The word "Christmas" is derived from the Old English phrase "Cristes Maesse," which means "Christ's Mass." Since the Middle Ages, it has been a festival full of customs, music, and food.

Today, people worldwide celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, whether they are Christians or not. It's a time when family and friends gather together to celebrate the positive things in their lives. People, especially youngsters, like Christmas because it is a time when they may give and receive gifts!

HOW IS CHRISTMAS CELEBRATED

Christmas Eve

During the 24th of December, also known as 'Christmas Eve' in England, there is less emphasis than in other countries, whilst much more is made of Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Some families will attend midnight mass or go out to the pub.

Christmas eve is a more exciting time for young children as it is when Father Christmas(Santa Claus) visits with presents. Traditionally, children will hang up their stockings, leave some milk and cookies for Santa and go to sleep and wake up with presents under the tree.

Christmas Day

In the United Kingdom, Christmas Day is traditionally spent exchanging gifts, eating a traditional turkey with all the trimmings, watching the Queen's Speech, playing games, and drinking alcohol.

You can learn more about other countries Christmas traditions and how they celebrate Christmas here.

Exchange of Gifts

According to the Bible, three wise men brought gifts to honour the birth of Jesus Christ, and giving gifts to your loved ones represents the wise men's gifts and the gift of baby Jesus to the world.

WHY DO WE PUT CHRISTMAS TREES UP IN OUR HOMES

People saw God as the sun, so they assumed God was powerless when winter arrived. Trees, on the other hand, such as evergreens, served as reminders of God's strength and that spring would soon arrive.

When Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert, put one up in Windsor Castle for the holidays, the custom quickly caught on. This was drawn on a newspaper and quickly became a popular item in people's homes.

The Scandanavians put candles to the tree, which are now fairy lights, to symbolise hope throughout the winter months and red apples, which are now baubles, to represent the Garden of Eden fruit.

WHERE DID SANTA CLAUS ORIGINATE

The cheerful old elf with the miraculous sleigh was inspired by the storey of St. Nicholas, a modest monk born in Turkey in 280 AD. St. Nicholas, a monk, was made a saint when he gave away all his money to serve the poor and needy.

The essential elements of the Santa story—his cheerful attitude, presents, naughty or nice list, reindeer, and chimney shenanigans—were established by Episcopal preacher Clement Clarke Moore's 1822 poem.

Coca-Cola is responsible for the last component, Santa Claus' grandfatherly demeanour. Their early-twentieth-century advertising depicted a pleasant, joyful old guy with pink cheeks, a white beard, twinkle eyes, and smile lines. It got so popular that it became the standard depiction of Santa.

We hope you enjoyed learning about Christmas and the popular traditions surrounding it! If you're looking for the perfect present this year, you can browse our Christmas Offers to help you get ready for this festive season!

 

Knowing how your fridge and freezer work might come in handy when it comes to making them more energy-efficient and extending their life so that you can save on extra costs. After all, fridges and freezers usually run 24/7, which means that it is essential that they are running as efficiently as possible.

According to Energy Saving Trust, a 180-litre fridge freezer could cost around £39 a year to run compared to approximately £52 yearly for big 525-litre fridge freezers. To help you out, we've researched and written the following guide to help you understand how your fridge and freezer work and what you can do to keep them running smoothly and efficiently so you can minimise these costs.

THE COOLING PROCESS

Refrigerators are handy in minimising food waste. They keep the food fresh by providing an environment with a constantly low temperature which helps reduce the reproduction rate of harmful bacteria. Your fridge and freezer have built-in components that continually turn a refrigerant from liquid to gas and then condense that back into liquid.

Compressor

This component circulates refrigerant throughout the appliance, adds pressure to the warm part of the circuit, and makes refrigerant hot. The compressor pushes out the hot, compressed gas through the outside metal coils on the back/bottom of the refrigerator.

Condenser

The condenser located at the back of the refrigerator cools down and condenses the refrigerant by turning the gas back into liquid. Its purpose is to transfer heat from the refrigerant by condensing the refrigerant from vapour form to liquid form, giving off heat in the process, which in turn makes the condenser coils 'hot to the touch.'

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is located inside the refrigerator and is the part that makes items in the refrigerator cold. As the refrigerant turns from liquid into a gas through evaporation, it cools the area around, providing optimum temperatures for food storage, so you can keep your food items fresher for longer.

Expansion Device

The expansion device is the piece of component that is used to control refrigerant flow in the system. It helps facilitate the change of higher pressure of liquid refrigerant in the condensing unit to lower the gas pressure of the refrigerant in the evaporator.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR APPLIANCE RUNNING SMOOTHLY

Keep Coils Clean

We often forget to clean our appliances; this is especially the case with the back of the fridge and freezer. Over time, various dust, lint, and debris can build on the condenser coils and lead your fridge to run less efficiently. You can keep your coils clean by using a brush with non-metallic bristles.

Set Appropriate Temperatures

Overcooling your fridge or freezer can make your appliance work harder than it should. Undercooling will cause your food to spoil quicker than it should. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, your refrigerator temperature should be at or below  40° F (4° C), and the freezer temperature should be 0° F (-18° C). So make sure, you keep track of the temperature of your appliance at all times to save on extra costs.

Keep Your Fridge/Freezer Stocked

Keeping your refrigerator 3/4 will allow your appliance to operate at maximum efficiency. This allows for air circulation freely unhindered and freely moving, and your food item also acts as thermal batteries to help reduce the fridge and freezer's workload.

BROWSE OUR RANGE

Whether you're looking to replace your old fridge and freezer or furnishing a new home, here at Kitchen Economy, we have a wide range of refrigeration appliances and that will certainly help minimise food waste and energy costs.

 

 

A clean washing machine is an essential factor for always having your laundry fresh and clean. If you're starting to notice a nasty smell coming from your washing machine, then it must be time to give it a good clean. Just because it is supposed to clean your clothes, it doesn't mean that it cleans itself. To stop your washing machine from smelling, you need to understand the root of the problem.

WHAT CAUSES THE UNPLEASANT SMELLS IN THE WASHING MACHINE?

 

A combination of mould, mildew and bacteria can cause nasty smells in your washing machine. When you put dirty clothes in your machine, a mixture of body oil, dirt, hair, and scum can get trapped in the gasket, seal and detergent dispenser. To get your appliance back to working order, we've got some simple tips and advice on how to get rid of the smell in the washing machine.

METHODS

Manual Clean

To keep our appliances in working order and prevent unpleasant smells, we must remember to give them an occasional clean. To clean the washing machine inside and out, you can remove specific components such as the detergent tray, soak it with bicarbonate of soda before wiping it down, and clean the outside with a damp cloth.

Service Wash

Once you've given removable parts a good clean, you can now move on to running a service wash. A service wash means spinning your washing machine without any items in the drum at a high temperature. With most people washing their clothes at 40°C or less, mould and bacteria can survive in the drum, which can lead to your washing machine smelling. That's why you need to regularly run a hotter service wash to deal with this problem.

Clean Your Door Seal

Mould and bacteria can live in the rubber seal around the door hole. After giving it a service wash, you can check if it needs a clean - doing this frequently can prevent any long term build-up of mould and bacteria. You may have to replace the door seal if the mould has had too long to fester and have sunk into the porous rubber of the seal.

Check standpipe

If you're still experiencing bad smells, this may mean you have a partial blockage in the standpipe. If this is the case, you can use a drain unblocker to try and clear the pipe. If you're unable to remove the blockage in the standpipe, you will have to call an engineer for repair. 

 

If you're considering buying a new laundry appliance instead of repairing your current one, you can have a browse of our extensive range of washing machines.

HOW TO PREVENT THE SMELL FROM RETURNING

Leave the washing machine door and drawer open.

By leaving the washing machine's door open after washing, the air in the drum can circulate and prevent mould and bacteria growth. Additionally, it would be best to leave the machine's detergent drawer partly open for the same reason.

Detergent Choice

Most washing machine manufacturers will usually recommend which type of detergent is most suitable to use with your appliance so you can get the best cleaning performance. Powdered detergent, especially front loader, may generate more suds than your device can manage, so check the manual.

Washing Temperature Keep

Specific washing machines have automatic hygiene functions. This function is automatically activated by washing at higher temperatures, which provides deep cleaning of clothes while maintaining the same temperature for the entire washing cycle.

Keep The Drum Dry

As a rule of thumb, clothes should be removed as soon as possible when the cycle is over, and the door should be left open for air to circulate for fresh air. If the problem is ongoing, it might be worth purchasing a dehumidifier to help eliminate the moisture.

 

Knowing how to defrost your manual defrost fridge freezer is an important skill to learn so that your appliance is always in excellent condition. If you're experiencing issues with your refrigeration appliance, the issue might not be a mechanical one and it just might need defrosting. This handy little guide will provide all the information you need when it comes to defrosting your fridge freezer.

 

WHY DEFROST YOUR FRIDGE FREEZER?

If your fridge freezer isn't a frost-free model, then this means that you have to defrost it occasionally. Due to the constant day to day use of your appliance, it can lead to frost forming. This process happens when warm air enters the freezer from outside, and the cold temperature in the freezer causes the moisture in the air to accumulate as frost on the floor and liner walls. 

 

The frost formed can result in your fridge freezer working harder to keep a constant temperature in your appliance, resulting in inefficiency. Additionally, the build of ice can take up much need storage space and damage your food items taste and texture.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DEFROST YOUR FRIDGE FREEZER?

Manual defrost fridge freezers come in many different designs, and defrosting will depend on the appliance's usage. We recommend that you read the manual of your machine before defrosting. However, a general rule of thumb is to defrost your fridge freezer at least once or twice a year or when you see a quarter of an inch of ice build-up on the walls.

When?

There are a few things to consider before you decide to defrost your fridge freezer. It would be best if you plan in advance to minimise the food waste by working through your stored food or finding a temporary freezer space. Once you've switched your appliance off, you should leave the doors open and allow 24 hours so that the freezer defrost thoroughly. 

 

HOW TO DEFROST YOUR FRIDGE FREEZER

Items you'll need:

  • Towels
  • Bowl of hot water
  • Sponge
  • Storage for food items

Method

  1. Turn your appliance off and unplug and remove any contents and food. 
  2. Put away your food items with chosen storage.
  3. Take shelves and drawers out and leave the doors open.
  4. Place towels around the bottom of your machine.
  5. Place the bowl of hot water on the bottom shelf and replace it every time it cools.
  6. Wait 24 hours for the ice to completely melt.
  7. When the ice has melted, you can now wipe down your fridge freezers interior with a sponge.
  8. Check that your door seal is in good condition to help stop ice building up in the future.
  9. Once you're pleased that your fridge freezer is clean and free from frost, you can now turn it back on.

HOW TO BUY THE BEST FRIDGE FREEZER

Whether you're looking to furnish a new home or replacing your broken appliance, at Kitchen Economy, we supply a wide range of freestanding, integrated and American-style fridge freezers from leading brands. To help you choose which fridge freezer to purchase, you can head over to our fridge freezer buying guide.