Okay, so the second week's challenge at Home Storage Solutions was to organize the kitchen cabinets and drawers. I knew that this would be a big task for me. My first issue is that I don't have much cabinet space, so stuff is crammed everywhere. Second, when my husband moved in with me, he rearranged the cabinets so that it would feel more like home for him.. which meant that things weren't exactly where I needed them to be for the best workflow.
I started out by figuring out how I wanted the workflow to go in the kitchen, and that would determine how I would set up the workzones. We start out with the fridge to the very right. I take out the food and prep it on the counter between the fridge and the stove. I cook the food on the stove, and serve/store the food on the counter between the stove and the sink. Having this workflow in mind made it very clear how I wanted to organize my cabinets. Here are the results.. cabinet by cabinet...
Above the fridge, before:
Um, that bottle of champagne doesn't belong there.. so that went into the pantry on the top shelf with the rest of the liquor. Not sure how that got there... does champagne go bad? And that punch bowl has only been used once.. we don't have big parties anymore that call for making punch. So this bowl left the kitchen for other storage possibilities (can we say craft room?). The big thermos is not being used right now, so instead of being readily available on top of the fridge, that went into the cabinet.
I decided to use this space to store extra storage bags, and Liam's extra lunch box (sometimes he leaves his at school so we have to use a back up).
Cabinet to the left of the refrigerator, before:
This cabinet was a mish-mosh of food storage.. some snacks.. spices that I've used, half used packages of food, storage bags, and baking stuff. I took everything out of the cabinet and put most of it into the pantry, throwing out a few things.
This cabinet is now much more organized. The bottom shelf has the instant oatmeal packets (that's a cracker storage box it's in); peanut butter which is one of the go-to lunches so it's used frequently, crackers, cereal, and snacks for Liam. The second shelf is mommy/daddy only snacks (stuff Liam is allergic to or won't eat), and the food taken out of the pantry for meals for the week. The top shelf is opened packages of pasta, rice, and potatoes, as a reminder to use them up. Liam's snacks will be going into a plastic bin next time I make a trip to Big Lots... it will be much easier for a babysitter to know that way what he is able to eat. The food on the second shelf will be put away at the end of the week when I've cooked all the planned meals, and when I plan the menu for the next week, I'll dig through the pantry for the ingredients and put them here. That way I only go through the pantry once a week instead of daily, and it makes it much easier to write my grocery list knowing what I have.
Cabinet to the right of the stove, before:
Okay, so there is a big pile of not used very often medicine. That definitely went, we have a different area where we store the infrequently used meds, and it's not in the kitchen. Then we have piles of plastic storage.. bowls were matched up with lids and stacked properly, and extras were tossed. There was an apple shaped dish that I never used that went away, and a few baking dishes and pie plates in the deep recesses.
In planning my workflow, it doesn't make sense to have the plastic storage here. This cabinet I wanted to use for my meal prep items. So I removed everything from the cabinet and started from scratch.
The bottom shelf I have my frequently used mixing bowls and measuring cups, and other tools. I need another basket from Big Lots for this shelf to corral all the awkward shaped tools. The second shelf is my ceramic mixing bowls, my blender, and to the side are a few square baking dishes I don't use very often. The top shelf I have several pie plates - there's only one showing here because I've started using them frequently and the others are being washed. They work great to hold a couple chicken breasts as they thaw on the counter, or for dipping the chicken in bread crumbs or whatever else.
Above the stove, after:
Okay, so nothing really changed much in here, and I forgot to take a before picture. I basicallly just straightened everything out, and there was a package of flour that ended up in here that went back into the pantry. Up here is where I store the foods that are too tall to fit in the other cabinets or pantry.
Left of the stove, before:
This is where I had all my meal prep supplies before. There were quite a few things I ended up getting rid of... like the pampered chef food chopper that I've had for 15 years and only used a few times.. I much prefer cutting with a knife so I had no reason to hold onto it. There were even a couple extra wine glasses hiding in the recesses of the top shelf with a logo from a winery I went to for a wine tasting.. don't need to keep those!
Now I use this cabinet to store the supplies for putting food away. I have the strainers on the bottom shelf because it just makes more sense to keep them on this side closer to the sink. I also have the oven mitts and hot pads on the right, and the storage bags to the left. The second shelf is all the storage containers, and I only kept the sizes we use most often. I tossed all the chinese food containers. They were great when I was working full time at the office and I could pack a salad in them, but they weren't really good for much else. Then on the top I have the large storage containers that we don't use very often.
Cabinet to the right of the sink, before:
Okay, so this cabinet pretty much works for us, I just needed to clean up the clutter a bit. I got rid of extra mugs and wine glasses that we don't use, and the plastic cups went into a different cabinet.
On the middle shelf I kept the frequently used mugs, and put the mugs that match the plates onto the top shelf for when we have company - which is the only time we use those mugs. I admit it.. I like oversized mugs!
Cabinet to the left of the sink, before:
Okay, so the top shelf didn't change much, it just needed a little straightening out. We have our 4 cup coffee maker which we will still use when we have company over and need to make more than one cup at a time.. plus an assortment of coffees and drink mixes. I did, however, move most of the wine and margarita glasses. We usually don't use more than two (when my wine-drinking friend comes over), so the rest is going into storage in the basement for when we have planned parties that we would need them.
that gave me extra room to store stacked cups, and I was even able to put a couple of dessert dishes oon the wineglass rack. I don't use them very often, but they're great for taking pictures of desserts for my recipe scrapbook!
So those are my top cabinets... now for the bottom cabinets..
Under the sink, before:
Well, first of all, it's a good thing the cabinets were organized this week. When I started taking everything out from under the sink, I noticed a pool of water at the bottom. I called my husband over to inspect the problem, and it turns out that the garbage disposal had a crack in it. So he replaced it that day, and I was able to finish organizing. As you can see in the picture above, I already have my saran wraps stored on the door, and this system works for me, so they're staying there. I had some freezer storage bags down here, so I moved them to the upper cabinet with the rest of the storage bags. There were a few cleaning supplies that I didn't use in the kitchen, so they moved out. All that's left down here now are garbage bags and kitchen cleaning supplies.
Lower cabinet to the right of the sink, before:
Okay, this cabinet was a mess! I have my husband's grilling supplies in a pitcher, and kitchen towels and dish cloths are stuffed in wherever they fit. So the tools left this cabinet, and dish cloths went on the top shelf, and towels on the lower shelf, with my apron in the front.
Cabinet to the left of the stove:
Okay, so as you can see, this cabinet is a nightmare. I call this the "black hole" of my kitchen! The door is narrow so it's hard to see inside, and there's lots of storage space for things to hide. I usually keep things in here that I don't use very often, and I usually have to dig out half the stuff to find what I'm looking for when I do need it.
I actually ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff in this cabinet... and some things were set aside for potential storage organizers in other areas.
The barbecue tools ended up here in the very front of the door... a much better place to keep it, and it's easy to move out of the way to access the deeper recesses.
In the way back I have my different platters stacked up neatly.. and bowls stacked up closer to the front.
Lower cabinet, to the right of the stove, before:
This was becoming another black hole... if it wasn't right in front it was really hard to get. The white box is my hand mixer and that moved into the upper cabinet. I found a Winnie the Pooh cake pan that my mother in law gave me, and it will be going back to her - I don't forsee myself making a Pooh cake anytime soon, and I definitely don't have the skill to decorate it nicely.
I also managed to find my griddle in this mess, which I thought I had lost, or someone had gotten rid of it. Maybe I'll start making more pancake breakfasts on the weekend now!
I stacked the baking dishes on the top shelf, along with my ice cream maker that I haven't used for a while. I'll definitely be using it more this year for Liam - he's allergic to ice cream so I'll make frozen treats special for him with it. Of course, my two big pots are front and center, and my baking sheets and big cutting board are sitting on their side lined up nicely.
Lower cabinet, to the left of the fridge, before:
Of course, not much changed here. I do use most of these items. I have a paper sorter that I use to hold up the different baking pans and that works very well for me, as long as I keep it organized. I moved the loaf pans to the top shelf, and the pie plate went into an upper cabinet.