Incorporating a 'cleanup zone' is one of the many options you will have when you decide to remodel your kitchen. There are a number of reasons to dedicate a separate section of your kitchen to cleaning up. This would require several separate features and appliances, including an entirely separate sink. Why do this? Dish racks, dirty plates and materials can clutter up an otherwise beautiful kitchen design. Additionally, separating the kitchen into multiple zones should be beneficial when it comes to health/sanitary issues. There are many factors to consider when incorporating a second sink, or completely separate 'cleanup zone' in your kitchen, including the size and layout of the space.
Creating a Cleanup Zone
In order for your cleanup sink to function properly, you’ll want to surround it with the proper tools and equipment. First, the sink needs to have counter on both sides — ideally at least 3 feet per side, 2 feet at a minimum. This is necessary so that dirty dishes can move, assembly-line style, from one side to the other. Second, you should place wall cabinets or alternative storage around the sink so that plates and glassware have a home close by.
Third, you definitely want to have the dishwasher next to the cleanup sink, and your trash pullout close at hand. Finally, you should have a drawer nearby for storing silverware.
Once these items surround your cleanup sink, you’ll have created a well-functioning cleanup station — mission control for setting the table and cleaning and putting away the dishes.
What to Consider
Choose Bowl Number
One of the first decisions you’ll want to make about your cleanup sink is whether you want one bowl or two. When everyone washed dishes by hand, double bowls made a lot of sense. But today many people use dishwashers so powerful that rinsing dishes beforehand is not required. If you’re not hand-washing or pre-rinsing, do you really need two bowls?
Single-bowl sinks have a few advantages. They fit large items while taking up a minimum of counter space. They also fit the modern lifestyle, where hand-washing is often done with running water (instead of a full bowl of soapy water followed by a rinse). Single bowls also allow you to choose from the popular apron or farmhouse styles, which are typically just one bowl.
If a double-bowl sink makes the most sense for you — maybe you’ll be hand-washing your grandmother’s china frequently — you may want to consider a model with unequal bowl sizes, as shown in this photo, to get maximum width in the large section.
Create a Clear Path to the Table
The cleanup sink and zone should be relatively close to the primary eating area. Also, the path that dirty dishes take to the cleanup sink should be relatively short and not pass through the cooking prep zone. This makes both setting and clearing the table easier.
Plan for Organized Storage
One benefit of creating a dedicated cleanup sink (and surrounding cleanup zone) is conveniently organized storage. When all bowls, silverware, glasses, cups, plates, napkins and storage containers are housed together in the cleanup zone, every task — from setting the table to unloading the dishwasher — is easier and takes less time.
So be sure you have sufficient cabinetry nearby — whether a traditional cabinet or an alternative, as shown in this kitchen. Here, we wanted to maximize the view but couldn’t give up storage. So instead of placing two wall cabinets on both sides of a tiny window, we used an 8-foot-tall, 2-foot-deep cabinet with rollout shelves. Not only did we make the most of a beautiful view, but we gained storage as well.