Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Organizing Week 2: Kitchen Cabinets

Finally!!! It feels so good to finally finish this week of organizing. I am about a month behind but it is worth it. I really wanted to pinpoint the problem areas and find ways to fix them and I feel that for the most part, I have been able to do that. Since this is such a high traffic area, having an organized kitchen really helps things run a bit more smoothly...at least as smoothly as possible with two little ones underfoot ;). I'll take you through each drawer and cabinet and show you what I've done. I have to warn you that they are not all pretty but they are functional- and that should always be the main goal. I am happy with how things turned out. I have not included any of the cabinets that are for food storage since that organizing challenge comes next week.

Here goes!



This is the cabinet under the sink. I know for most people it is such a difficult spot to keep in order. My cabinet is not very large so just a couple of products really helped pull it together. All the way to the left I keep my drying mat for the dishes I need to hand wash. Next to that, I have a small pull-out drawer that houses sponges, my gloves, extra dishwasher tabs and dishwashing liquid. This was a great find from Ross for under $10. (I can't remember exactly how much :)) On the right side I put in a lazy susan to easily access our most used items: garbage bags, dishwasher tabs, dishwasher detergent and my homemade all-purpose cleaner.






This is the cabinet right above our dishwasher and coffeemaker so it made sense to store mugs and all coffee/tea related things. The bottom shelf houses all our mugs. I used an extra wire shelf (from Bed Bath and Beyond) to fit them all nicely. I got rid of a lot of mugs and was able to fit the rest on this shelf, with the exception of 3 seasonal ones I keep all the way at the top. The next shelf up has a little bin (from the dollar store) with filters for the coffeemaker. Behind that is our french press which we do not use very often so can be tucked in the back. Next to the bin is another lazy susan (you will see a few more before the end of this post). They are great for making things easily accessible and that is so important in a smooth running kitchen. On it is a travel mug, our small pitcher, sugar bowl and usually also the honey jar. Next to the lazy susan I was able to fit a couple things we don't access too often, an herbal coffee substitute I drink sometimes and some instant coffee my husband uses sometimes. The next shelf up has all our teas and hot chocolate. I'm actually thinking of getting one of those tea bag organizers to make everything more streamlined but haven't gotten to that since, for now, this system is working. The top shelf has an extra coffee grinder for spices and our christmas/winter mugs.





This cabinet is across from the previous one on the other side of the window and sink. On the first shelf I keep all of our drinking glasses. We have been using mason jars since we moved in and we really like them so I don't think we will actually buy any "real" drinking glasses anytime soon. I have used another small wire shelf to maximize space. This one I actually found at Dollar Tree. It is not very deep, but since I just store the small 8 oz jars, they fit fine....and it was only $1! Next to the small glasses I have a small bin (again from Dollar Tree) with the rings and lids from some of the mason jars because sometimes I use them to store leftovers. Gotta love double duty items! In the corner I have a jar that holds straws, because kids always need straws! The next shelf up has all the kids bowls, cups, and baby spoons. I utilized another Dollar Tree shelf  and a couple little bins from the dollar section at Target. The bin on the shelf holds all the lids for the cups. The next shelf up holds our travel water bottles and cups. Behind them is my fancy teapot that does not get accessed very often. The last shelf up holds some vintage tea cups and a box with extra baby bottle parts.





This cabinet is right next to the previous in the corner. Here we house all our dishes. This cabinet was quite a challenge to organize because what you see is only half the length of the shelves. The other half is tucked away to the left. You can't access the things placed deep inside very easily. What solution did I come up with? More lazy susans! Seriously people, I think these things solve 90% of organizing problems. On the bottom shelf I just put all our plates. I used an extra shelf to split the small and large plates so when you need a large one, you don't need to lift a stack of small ones to get to it. This time I used one from Bed Bath and Beyond that is larger and stronger to support the weight of the plates. Next to them is another stack of small dessert plates. These are my pretty plates that I use if some is coming over or I just feel like eating off a pretty plate :). Tucked away next to the plates I have some extra glass jars that I don't need very often. The next shelf up has bowls of various sizes. Here is where I used another lazy susan. I placed it just close enough that I can reach whatever is facing out. I have some smaller bowls on there and baby bottles. The next shelf up has a bread basket that is currently holding a bag of more mason jar lids and rings and next to that, my small ceramic bowls. Next to them I have the other lazy susan with some glass jars that I use more often to store leftovers. The very top shelf has some cake stands and fancy glasses that don't get accessed very often.






This is my corner cabinet next to the stove. It houses all my mixing bowls, a couple pitchers and on the bottom, my bread pans and glass measuring cups. (One is in the dishwasher). I also have my muffin pan in the back. I used to have other baking pans like cake pans and pie plates but I have not been baking with those much lately since having to go gluten-free and dairy-free for my daughter. I still use my muffin tin quite a bit since I've been searching for a great gluten-free, dairy-free muffin recipe.





This is the first drawer next to my stove and just holds some of the basic cooking utensils I need. I was able to free up some space by putting all my mixing spoons and spatulas in a pitcher by the stove. I bought the little containers from Bed Bath and Beyond to divide up the space and make it easier to find what I need.




Next drawer has our utensils. Again I bought a utensil holder from Bed Bath and Beyond to keep everything in its place. Above that I have another container with some other, lesser used utensils.




This drawer has the rest of our kitchen utensils. I put in a small bin from Dollar Tree to house our tea infusers. I love how everything fits so perfectly in this drawer. I've been debating getting something to hold everything down in its place but have not found the right product. The only things that really move much are the three below but so far it is working. Now if I could just get the Hubs to put everything where it belongs :).



                                    

This drawer holds my kitchen towels, mitts, placemats and baby bibs. I also used another small bin from the dollar section at Target to hold my chip clips.







This is one of my super deep drawers. It houses my colanders, cheese grater, funnel, twine and all plastic bags and wrap/foil/parchment. Again, everything just fits so well. It's not super pretty to look at but it functions very well.







This is another deep drawer where I store all food storage containers. On the left are all the regular containers (with a few in the dishwasher) and on the right, I used a shallow basket I found at Dollar Tree to corral all the baby/kid storage containers. Behind that are my ice cube trays that I use for making baby food.





This cabinet is one of the lower one for pots and pans. On the shelf inside, I put my glass baking pans and below are the large stock pot I use fairly often as well as my food processor which also gets used pretty often. Behind the stock pot is my slow cooker and behind the processor is my juicer, which may actually move to the basement since I rarely use it and I hope to purchase a large enameled cast iron pot to put in its place. The basket in the middle holds all processor and stand mixer attachments.






This cabinet is right next to the stove and houses the most used pots. The top shelf holds my nonstick and stainless skillet. Below, I used another heavy duty extra shelf to hold my cast iron skillet. Under that I have my baby food mill and my two smaller saucepans that I use pretty much daily and on the side I have my cookie sheet. I thought about this cabinet for quite some time trying to figure out the best placement so everything is in easy reach and this is working well. My stainless skillet usually sits on top of the nonstick on that top shelf which works since I very rarely use the nonstick anymore. (I'm trying to slowly replace all my cookware with safer ones but the shape of that nonstick works really well for some things so I will keep it until I can find/afford a replacement.)





This is the cabinet above the refridgerator and is not very easy for me to access since it's so high so I just have the things that only get used when company is coming. I actually moved quite a few things from this cabinet to the basement as I realized some of the things I was keeping were only used about once a year. These at least get used more often than that.





Lastly, I have a small drawer under my stove that I use to put some other baking pans that don't fit anywhere else.




That's it! I'm very happy to have this done and to keep moving forward organizing the rest of my home. It may take longer than 52 Weeks but the end result will still be worth it. Now on to next week's challenge, food storage areas!


Until next time!!