Christmas 2011 was a very kitchen Christmas, resulting in me reorganizing the whole kitchen, as documented here. This Christmas we were also blessed with kitchen gadgets (like the Soyajoy and a SodaStream), dishes, glasses and bakeware. So, yet again I found the need to make room in our cabinets. I was definitely inspired to finally take on the task after reading about kitchen purging and organizing on IHeartOrganizing. So, here we go!
I started with the two “junk” drawers next to the sink. When we first moved in these drawers were a catch-all for random things like outlet covers and screws removed for painting, take-out menus, pens, batteries, appliance warranties, etc. I emptied the drawers, organized the contents into piles and cleaned the drawers.
Here are the different categories of drawer contents: appliance manuals, beer brewing recipes, batteries, a carabiner, a container of odd screws and nails, scissors, pens, notepads, candles, lighter, flashlight, chip clip, wood pencils, rubber-bands twine, outlet covers/switchplates, those little nubby screw covers for the banister that I keep vacuuming up and furniture felt pads. Not pictured: the trash/recycling piles. After putting items away properly – filing paperwork, putting hardware and outlet covers with the rest of like items in the laundry room, etc – I was able to fit the rest of the items into ONE drawer:
I really liked the acrylic drawer organizers that she used on IHeartOrganizing, but could find none like them at Target. So I settled for these metal-mesh dividers from the office section. They fit the drawer pretty well.
And the best result is that I emptied an entire drawer. I decided to relocated the silverware drawer next to the sink (below the upper cabinet that contained all the dishes) and put the empty drawer next to the stove, below the upper cabinet that holds all the cooking/baking necessities (flour, spices, etc).
I guess it is a little odd to keep spices in a drawer, but I think this is an improvement. First, most spices need to be stored in a dark cool place – not on your counter-top or in a rack above the stove. Secondly, when they were stored in the cabinet, even with some slight height-staggering, I could not see everything I had. Thus I couldn’t always find what I needed, and have repeats of ginger and cumin. Now in the drawer I can easily access what I need while cooking and be more aware of when things are depleted. Now that the spices are in the drawer, I have freed up a seemingly epic amount of space in the upper cabinet – allowing me to make room for the 10 lbs of almonds Jeremy bought (for almond milk, of course).
The next order of business were the cabinets that hold dishes that we don’t use very often – pie dishes, large bakeware, serving platters, etc. Most of these dishes were in the cabinet above the fridge, but I often forgot they were there, and there was one platter that was too long to fit in that cabinet. So, it was time to get creative:
In the absence of a buffet, I turned to our TV cabinet in the living room as a storage option. I love this cabinet, from Pier One years ago. It has doors that close to conceal the TV, and a drawer at the bottom that used to store DVDs. Well, most of our DVDs are in “long term storage”, since we store them digitally – which means this drawer was free for the taking (with the exception of those lonely DVDs off to the side). So, here now resides my larger platters, a ceramic casserole dish inside an insulated carrying-case and a box that houses my napkin rings and cloth napkins. This drawer is basically an instant dinner party.
After clearing out drawers and rearranging cabinets, it was time to modify a few spaces. First was under the sink:
This space looks crazy with the cleaning products, sponges and towels/rags piled on top of each other. First step was to pull everything out and figure out what could be relocated. A multitude of rags and microfiber clothes were relocated to the storage/laundry room (that is an organization project for a different day). In this cabinet there is a lot of wasted vertical space, due to the pipes and garbage disposal. I decided to rectify this.
I installed a small plastic bin to the side of the cabinet to hold microfiber cleaning cloths and sponges. Now those items will not be buried in the bottom of the cabinet. The bin is a foot long, and about 6 inches deep. I drilled pilot holes in the bin at the 3″ and 9″ marks. I then positioned the bin where I wanted it in the cabinet and marked where the holes were. After using a level to get everything relatively straight, I drilled pilot holes in the cabinet as well. Then I screwed the bin in place with our awesome right angle drill. I put a little hook on the front to hang my pig scrubbie.
In the cabinet next to the refrigerator I installed some hooks for the mandolin and rolling pin. This cleared up floor space in the cabinet. Since these tools are so oddly shaped they cannot be stacked and thus it is better to have them out of the way. The mandolin is hung with an adhesive “command” hook. This hook can support up to five pounds and was the only hook large enough to accommodate the mandolin’s thick handle. The rolling pin’s hook is one normally used for brooms or rakes and is screwed into the cabinet. The hook came in a two pack for less than the command hook (at Home Depot). Jeremy thought I was a little crazy for screwing all of this stuff into the cabinets, but if it keeps me from doing a whole kitchen overhaul – then it is worth it.
And now for the greatest change of all:
Clearing some “junk” off of the counters and relocating the microwave. The microwave sat angled under the corner cabinet, taking up a lot of counter space. This counter top was prime real estate – between the sink and the stove where I liked to do my prep work for cooking/baking. Now with the microwave on the far side of the kitchen there is a lot more space for cooking. The bread and Soyajoy machines fit nicely in the corner, taking up far less room than the microwave. Jeremy is worried that I have broken my work triangle, but we the microwave shouldn’t be an important part of food preparation anyways.
I have kept the “pantry” organization that I started last year (here and here) and it has been very successful. I am hoping these new kitchen changes will be just as successful. Jeremy and I both love the increased counter space. We do have trouble remembering the silverware has moved though. I think the most important lesson is the same as before: just because it is the way you have always done it (or had it) doesn’t mean it is the best or most efficient way!