Welcome back! Did you miss me? I hope everyone is making some progress on their pantry and freezers! AND keeping those counter tops clean!
So far I’m doing pretty well. I’ve been trying to make meals based on what I have in the pantry and freezer and so far so good! My dear hubby is loving the list because he “didn’t know those snacks were in there!” A happy snacking husband is a happy home!
*disclaimer: this is my lived in kitchen. it’s not perfect. there are dishes in the sink. I don’t know what to do with all those vases yet. But that’s ok – I’m being real here.
Today I want to talk to you about organizing your kitchen. When we first moved in to this home, we had sooo much extra space we didn’t know what to do! I remember having empty cabinets. We even considered taking one down to open up the space more. Fast forward a few years and I have a very full kitchen. All the cabinets are full to the brink. The hutch is over-flowing, and there is a cabinet in the garage with even more appliances. (As a disclaimer, this is not about food. We’re talking about storage for your regular kitchen stuffs here!)
I was reading an article over on RamonaCreel where she talked about effective use of space in your kitchen. Ramona explains that there are five centers to every kitchen.
1) Cleaning – sink, dishwasher, trashcan, soap, and cleaning supplies
2) Cooking – stove (obviously), baking sheets, pots, pans, microwave, etc
3) Food Preparation – large workspace, knives, cutting board, mixing bowls, blenders, measuring cups, etc
4) Serving – can be in the dining area, glasses, plates, linens, dishes
5) Food Storage – refrigerator, pantry and Tupperware.
And that ever item/supply/implement in your kitchen should fall in to one of these categories. She suggests arranging your kitchen so that each center is together.
Taking a look around my kitchen, there are some glaring changes that should be made!
1) my pots and pans are nowhere near my cooking station
2) my bowls are nowhere near my prep station
3) my small appliances are nowhere near where I use them
4) my linens are nowhere near my table
5) I have a drawer dedicated to measuring cups (which come on a ring and could be hung up in a cabinet)
6) I have a huge drawer dedicated to towels and potholders (towels could go in a smaller drawer and potholders could be hung in a cabinet)
7) I’m not sure what’s in 3 of my cabinets
8) I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in the little cabinets above my fridge and stove
So I made this pretty picture of my kitchen and color-coded where each zone is.
Orange is cooking
Red is cleaning
Purple is Serving
Blue is food prep
Green is food storage
I made those little cabinets above my stove/fridge white because I don’t know what to do with them yet.
I printed out one of these and have been using it as a rough draft for where I want things. I like to put things on paper first so that I don’t have to move heavy things around as much. This won’t work 100%. I’m sure there are things that will change, but this limits the amount of moving and removing I have to do!
The next step is to empty all the cabinets, wipe them out, and see what I have.
Ah! That’s nice isn’t it? Dare I say cozy? Maybe? NO, it’s probably a little much.
With my cabinets all emptied and clean it wasn’t difficult to put things where they need to go.
The first thing I did was take out everything that will later go in my hutch.
This is the hutch I am getting, but as you can see it is still holding baby toys at my mother-in-law’s house. That’s ok. I already know what is going on it, so at this point I just need to get it out of the way of my kitchen organizing!
The next step is to put back the things I want to stay where they are. My dishes go above the sink to the left. I like them right there by the sink/dishwasher and in the middle of things. This is where they’ve been since we moved in and I”m quite happy with it. The tupperware was banished to a lower cabinet by the fridge long ago. It went there because I had nowhere else to but it, but now it seems to make sense. These cabinets didn’t get much change, but they did get some straightening and a good wipe down. (See! Not completely neglected!)
I used 3M command hooks to keep my potholders and measuring cups out of the way. The potholders went to the door of a cabinet above and to the right of the stove (what a sentence!), while the measuring cups went to the door of a cabinet above the bar.
My apron, towels and rags went to the little drawer which previously held the measuring cups. They fill the drawer (so much more efficient than the little measuring cups) and give me a nice huge drawer to use for something else! I didn’t change my cabinet under the sink. This is all cleaning stuff and it works great for our family.
After that, I just started putting things “up” based on the zones I made for myself.
My bar, the larges flat surface in the kitchen, became my prep area. I put bowls, baking supplies, strainers, and that type of stuff in the cabinets above. The cabinets below are *gasp* empty! I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them yet to be honest.
I put the pots and pans to the top right of the stove, and the casseroles to the top left. Mini appliances went below the pots and tupperware is below the casseroles (which is right next to the fridge).
My dishes and glasses went back where they were (with room for mini-appliances above). I did purge a LOT of dishes though. I kept what I think we’ll actually use. The lower cabinet is the nice china and the top cabinet is plastic (and a butter dish because he needed a home).
Let’s see… that’s store, clean, prep, cook and serve. Yay! I have room to grow and move things around if I need to, but for now it’s looking great to me!
Here’s my obligatory “stuff I got rid of” picture:
(yes, that is an entire trunk-full!)
Oh! And that drawer that previously held my towels now holds my spices! LOVE IT! So much extra counter space when I could trash the big ol’ rack!
So is anyone else working on a major over-haul of your kitchen? Are you making good use of your cabinet space? What changes have you made to your layout that have made a huge difference? And most importantly, what should I do with my huge empty cabinet!?