I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. Having four kids means that people at my house are always eating and that I’m constantly preparing food, cooking food, cleaning up food, etc. The kitchen is truly the center of my home. Because I really like to maximize my time and my space, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about kitchen organization. I love the tips for unique spice storage, for clearing up your counter space, for maximizing lower cabinetry with pull-out racks. All that stuff is great. But I feel like there are special storage concerns for those of us who have a child with type 1 diabetes.
First of all, I keep all of our diabetes supplies in the kitchen. For us, it just makes the most sense. In all the places I’ve lived through the years, I’ve always had them right there, right at hand. As our diabetes management process becomes ever more sophisticated, I feel as if our collection of tools has grown and the amount of supplies has grown. It’s a lot of stuff!
Now, what I’m gleaning from my article-reading spree is that in kitchen planning you want to have easiest access to the stuff that you use the most often. That makes a lot of sense. When I recently reorganized my kitchen it dawned on me that I have different priorities than a lot of kitchen users. I had to really think about it, but honestly, easy access to diabetes supplies is almost as key as making sure I can easily reach my knives and forks or my bowls and plates. I definitely access my food scale, measuring cups, and testing kit as often as any of these things!
With this new priority in my mind, I created a couple of zones in my kitchen for maximizing functionality. I decided to devote one upper cabinet to diabetes storage. The top shelves in my kitchen are really high, so I use that space to store extra boxes of continuous glucose monitor (CGM) supplies and pump supplies. The distributors send me three months’ worth of these supplies at once, and since I only open a new box about once a month, it isn’t too inconvenient to have the supplies up high.
The middle shelf of the cabinet is for stuff I use all the time. This houses test strips, lancets, extra meters, backup needles, etc., as well as the current box of CGM supplies and pump supplies. Also, on the back of this cabinet, I have a set of measuring cups mounted on hooks. You might have seen this “hack” on Pinterest® before—I thought it was particularly useful for us families with type 1 diabetes!
I really like the organization of the lowest shelf in the cabinet. It houses all the “accessories” for diabetes management. It has tubes of ointment in a small caddy to keep it neat. It has alcohol prep pads, tapes, batteries, cleansers, ketone strips, etc. I use containers on the shelf to help keep things that are similar shape together and to keep the smaller items from getting lost.
And then there is my diabetes drawer. This is something I haven’t seen anywhere, and I am LOVING it. When I really do a kitchen renovation I’m going to put in ALL drawers instead of lower cabinets. They just keep things so much more organized! In my current kitchen, I only have a few drawers, and the space there is definitely precious. I decided there are few things I use more often than James’ meter, his CGM (when he is home), and his food scale. So I moved a few kitchen implements and made space for it all in one drawer. So far, it is working awesomely. I love how it keeps my counters clear, and now my most essential items have a place of their own.
My kitchen organization probably doesn’t look like anything they show on HGTV® or Pinterest, but for our family it is working great!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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