How to make your kitchen easier to use

Sharon Amos / 20 July 2015 ( 14 May 2018 )

It’s often the small things that we can no longer do that make us feel most defeated – from opening a jar of jam to draining a pan of potatoes. But there are plenty of inexpensive gadgets that make things easier.



Making pans easier to use

Weak wrists? Instead of struggling to drain heavy pans of cooked vegetables or pasta, buy a simple stainless steel cooking basket to fit inside the saucepan. When food is cooked, just lift out the basket.

If your pans have seen better days, it could be a good time to buy a new set with ergonomically designed handles – these are angled so that you can keep your wrist straight when lifting them.

To keep lifting heavy pans to an absolute minimum, install heatproof surfaces on the worktop either side of the hob so that you can easily slide pans across. Make sure heatproof mats or trivets are non-slip.

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Making the kettle easier to use

A kettle of boiling water can also be heavy to pour from. Various ingenious designs of kettle tippers can help. Your choice will depend on whether you have a cordless kettle or not, but basically they tilt the kettle gently and safely towards teapot or mug. You can also use some designs to tilt the teapot too.

Another option is to make a flask of tea or coffee to drink throughout the day and reduce the number of times you have to struggle with the kettle.

Making the oven easier to use

Having trouble turning on hob burners or the oven? You can increase your leverage with a gadget called a contour turner or knob turner. A typical design has a T-shaped handle and the base is either fitter with soft mouldable rubber or retractable pins that mould to the shape of the knob or tap you want to turn. They can also be used on screw-top bottles.

Making the sink easier to use

You can also buy tap turners to help you use the taps at the kitchen sink. They come in two designs: for traditional cross-shaped metal taps or for ‘crystal’ style plastic taps.

If you are thinking of replacing your kitchen taps, lever-operated taps are far easier to use. Look out for designs with extra-long levers that can be operated by pushing with hand, wrist or arm.

Make preparing food easier

Difficulty standing for long periods? An adjustable perching stool can help. It takes some – but not all – of the weight off your feet while you’re washing up or preparing food. The stool will take up a fair bit of room – if you have a breakfast bar you can tuck it underneath when not in use.

Spiked chopping boards can help hold food steady while you’re preparing fruit and veg – they’re useful if you are trying to manage one-handed or if you need to use both hands to hold a knife or vegetable peeler. Look out, too, for boards with raised edges to stop food slipping off or to hold a slice of bread in place while you spread it.

Opening jars, cans and tins

A new vacuum-sealed jar of jam or pickle can be near-impossible to open. A variety of helpful gadgets exist to help: some have long handles to improve leverage, others have a mouldable ‘lid’ that fits on top of the jar and increases your grip. It’s a question of choosing one that works best for you. Standing the jar on a non-slip mat or putting in a special jar holder will also help.

Ring pull cans can be tricky but a special hooked lever is a cheap way of making the job easier. Some multi-purpose tools can also be used to open bottle lids.

Improve the lighting

Kitchens can often have gloomy spots where it’s hard to see what you’re doing. Adding extra lighting over work tops and hob can make a big difference.

Making gadgets easier to use

Gadgets can make kitchens more user-friendly, but plugging and unplugging them from the mains can be difficult for anyone with a poor grip. A Plug Mate can slip over it, making it much easier to pull plugs out of the socket.

Make recipes more legible

If your old cookbooks are becoming harder than ever to read a folding A4 magnifying stand can help make the job easier. Alternatively, if you have an iPad you can adjust the font size and find recipes online.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.