STEP 6 – MEASURE THE HEIGHTS OF YOUR WORK CENTERS
In order to do each task in the kitchen with minimal effort, you need to have the work surfaces at the right height for you. An average size woman, about 5’4”, could work easily with the heights shown in the illustration above. If you are shorter or taller, you will need to add or subtract inches according to your body proportions. Keep in mind, though, if more than one person of differing heights uses your kitchen regularly, a happy medium will have to be determined.
In testing for the comfortable height of a work surface, you should be able to:
(1) Reach as far as necessary towards the back of the surface without bending over
(2) Keep your shoulders at normal position (not raising them) when doing a job
For instance, can you stand and touch the bottom of your sink without angling forward? Do you have to stoop over or raise your shoulders to roll out a pie at the mixing counter or stir a white sauce at the range? In general, counters are too high if you have to raise your hands above the level of your elbows (with your arms at your sides), and too low if you have to stoop to do the task.
The height of your ovens is important too. The bottom of a built-in oven should not be less than 32” above the floor (34” if the broiler unit is below the oven). The bottom of the microwave unit is better at counter height, or not more than 49” above the floor. Anytime you work with hot foods, do NOT attempt to retrieve or raise the dish above your shoulders. If you do so, you are asking for a possible accident and injury. For this reason, you should be concerned if you have a split-level range with an upper oven or microwave unit which is too high.
Take time, using the chart in Worksheet 6, to measure your counter and work heights and decide whether they are correct for your body comfort. As you test each of the surfaces for specific tasks, you will see why, in an ideal environment, you should have different counter heights at different work stations. However, in most average-size kitchens, it would be impractical to raise some counters and lower others due to losing the “double-duty” working surface made possible by one continuous counter. Remember, for example, the dish-stacking surface of the cleaning center CAN overlap the space you need to roll out dough in the mixing center. So what should you do in your kitchen?
First, if you are exceptionally tall or short, and you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you should seriously consider making some major construction changes. Spending six hours a day bending over a low counter can be back breaking. On the other hand, if your cooking career is limited, or you are pleased with the height of the work surface where you spend the most time, be it cleaning, or mix-and-store, or cook-and serve counter, you can make minor changes elsewhere to alleviate fatigue. See the suggestions on the Worksheet 6.
CHECK THE COUNTER AND WORK SURFACE AREAS OF YOUR KITCHEN.
[ALSO SEE TIPS ON HOW TO CHANGE THE HEIGHTS OF THE WORK STATIONS TO ELIMINATE FATIGUE]
Check out Lifestyle Systems complete line of drawer and shelf organizers for the home and office at www.lifestylessystems.com. If you want to be an active participant to change/plan your kitchen download the corresponding worksheet for the workshop by clicking on the worksheet below:
Worksheet 1 – Cooks Profile
Worksheet 2 – Draw Your Kitchen
Worksheet 3 – My Work Triangle
Worksheet 4 – Location Of My Work Centers
Worksheet 5 – Measure My Counterspace
Worksheet 6 – Measure Heights of Work Surfaces
Worksheet 7 – Part 1 – Kitchen Storage Test
Worksheet 7 – Part 2 – Measure Your Kitchen Storage
Worksheet 8 – Part 1 – Kitchen Equipment Checklist
Worksheet 8 – Part 2 – Kitchen Equipment Checklist
Worksheet 8 – Part 3 – Tableware Storage Checklist
Worksheet 8 – Part 4 – Tableware Checklist Continued
Worksheet 8 – Part 5 – Supplies and Food Items Checklist
Worksheet 9 – Measure Points You Can Easily Reach In Your Kitchen
Worksheet 10 – How To Place Items In A Work Center
Worksheet 11 – Part 1 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space In My Kitchen
Worksheet 11 – Part 2 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space
Worksheet 11 – Part 3 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space In My Kitchen
Worksheet 11 – Part 4 – Suggestions For Maximizing Storage Space In My Kitchen
Worksheet 12 – A Shopping List For Kitchen Equipment And Tableware
Worksheet 13 – Survey The Lighting And Electrical Outlets In My Kitchen
Worksheet 14 – Decorating Your Kitchen
Worksheet 15 – Gather Samples For My Kitchen
Worksheet 16 – Part 1 – Sources And Appointments
Worksheet 16 – Page 2 – Budget and Priority Schedule For My Kitchen
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