Day 4 of 5 Days of Organization and we’re in the kitchen. This was probably the most rewarding of the 5 projects, but I must say that once I started, the project grew and grew. One cabinet led to another, and while things got swapped around, more needs made themselves apparent. So let’s start at one end of the kitchen and work our way around.
You clever ones might have noticed that we recently gave ourselves a little upgrade in the coffee department and got a Keurig (yay!), but with that change came all the paraphernalia (a large cup to refill the water chamber, K-cups, reusable K-cups, spoons to put the grounds in the reusable cups, flea treatment for Benji… ok, maybe that has no place at all in the kitchen). I contemplated getting a K-cup carousel, but that still left a lot of accessories without a home.
This adorable basket (and answer to my problems) is from Walmart (yep) by Better Homes and Gardens for maybe $7. I’m in love.
What I appreciate most about it is that it’s not overly organized (oh I just went and said that). I can toss k-cups and the like in here without having to have an individual spot available in a carousel. It’s the perfect balance between easy and organized. This is the kind of system I can maintain.
Moving on to the cabinets:
On one side we have some sense of organization that was taken over by vagrant spices and sippy cups (jerks), as well as some adorable soup bowls that are hiding like roaches in sunlight. Ok, gross, I know. But seriously, look at them.
On the other side we have a poor use of space. The most frustrating aspect about this cabinet was that any time I wanted a water bottle for the gym, I had to pull out a step stool. I’m aware that in a tiny kitchen you have to use the high spaces and using a stool is just a part of life, but everyday? Come on.
That’s when I decided to simply arrange dishes by frequency of use. It’s so simple, yet it has made a huge difference. I ended up changing the height of several shelves, which is a luxury not every cabinet setup has.
This side essentially became my drink station. (Is it absurd to have this many things to drink out of?) This is also the cabinet that is above the dishwasher. In the past, I put plates in this cabinet, which were quite heavy when stacked. When the dishwasher was open (because I was unloading it), it was actually a challenge to get the plates in without being able to get close to the cabinet. It sounds ridiculous, but now that every item that goes in here is lightweight, it’s easier to put away clean dishes.
Ah, look at those heavy plates down low where I like them. I moved our paper products (which we use when entertaining 8+) out of the hall closet (you’ll see that tomorrow) and into the kitchen for two reasons: 1) It makes sense to have them where we use them, 2) When I was done organizing the kitchen, I suddenly had bare spots in my cabinets. I’m not kidding. Up top are serving platters and our microwave popper bowl– items that I’m not donating anytime soon, but that don’t make an appearance daily (or even weekly). I’m also loving how Little Girl’s dishes have their own place now.
So where did all those spices go?
Well, first let’s take a look at the problem that led to those little vagrants taking over my cabinet:
This awesome spice rack was a wedding gift (that I love). After using it for years, though, I realized that I only really cook with a third of the spices in it, and that I cook with a lot of spices that aren’t in it. The solution, though a touch time consuming (this took me out of my 2-hour project window and required that yet again I put on an episode of Lost), was such a sweet fix.
I pulled all the spices that I just don’t use and dumped them (yep, in the trash, I’m unexpected and wild like that). Then I washed all the emptied spice bottles. I removed the labels from the spice lids and dug up a packet of chalkboard label stickers I had been waiting to use. I cut the chalkboard stickers in circles the size of the spice lids and stuck them where the labels used to be. Once clean and dry, I filled the jars with spices from the cabinet (can I holla at some cumin).
Boom clap. While my chalk handwriting is sad, the end result is happiness. I ended up being able to find a place in here for almost all of my spices. I then moved the few remaining items (extracts, baking powder, etc) to the baking cabinet. Huge space saver. I love revamping old items to make them work for our current needs.
I’m wishing I had a before picture to show you next, but I just didn’t expect this organization thing to go so far. Here is an after shot of one of my drawers that formerly looked like someone shot a bib cannon into it.
The last space I want to show you is the cabinet above the cooktop. It requires the step stool and formerly housed cookbooks. With our recent addition of a built-in bookshelf in our dining room, I realized that I would a) use the cookbooks more if I could easily reach them and b) that the new bookshelf offers the perfect place for just that. This resulted in another (seriously) bald spot in my cabinets, so I wandered into the hall closet again and gathered our backup food items (a result of going to Costco and getting multi-packs) and filled said void. And yet again, a high cabinet is used for something I don’t need frequent access to.
While I don’t just live in my kitchen, I have been amazed at how the newfound order in it has made life so much easier. I’m loving it.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the 5th and final day of 5 Days of Organization where I show you just what became of the hall closet.