Oh kitchen organization. What is it about the kitchen, and in my case, the pantry, that seems to create chaos? My kitchen has been driving me crazy for a while and yesterday I decided I’d had enough. I had a day off, my mother was in town and there was a pending block sale for extra motivation. My goal – to clear out the stuff we don’t use and make the zones more functional. We actually have a fair amount of storage in the kitchen, but it wasn’t being utilized efficiently. And I really, really wanted to get the microwave off of the counter. I hate crap on counters. Hate it with a fiery passion. So, not sure how exciting this post is, but I, being the dork I am, am always interested in how people cope with everyday organization and I’m taking a chance that some of you are too. Time will tell if this project truly creates more simplicity and function in the space, but I’m hopeful.
Here’s the before microwave close-up. See all that mess on top of it? Yeah, that’s what was driving me nuts. Our silly walls aren’t straight enough for shelves so there’s no real way to organize the tea kettle, coffee pot, etc. Creating an ugly mess in front of my lovely wallpaper. And here’s the rest of the mess I wanted to address.
Pantry, junk drawer and the drawers in the cabinet under the microwave.
I know, the pantry looks kind of organized in the photo. It wasn’t. There was a lot of empty space in the pull-out drawers and boxes and bags of baking items and prepared foods had a tendency to slip through the vents. On the other side, things were stacked behind each other so that I had to pull out the giant stock pot to get to mixing bowls and everything was higgledy-piggledy.
Our cabinets are from IKEA. Every time we go there I look through the kitchens and marvel at the organized drawers full of staples. Ours were full of dishes – a plates drawer, a kids/plastics drawer, cups and glasses and then the junk drawer(s) and the random appliances. I had all food in the “pantry”. A few weeks ago it occurred to me that even though I’d always kept the glasses and appliances near the counter, they weren’t actually needed there. Most of those glasses we use only when we have company, everyone in the family seems to prefer the melamine cups I keep with the kids plates. So why was I devoting so much space to them? And do I really need a yoghurt maker? I’ve used it approximately 6 times. My kids don’t like the yoghurt it makes and it’s not really that much cheaper.
So I switched the function of the cabinets. Everything came out, a bit at a time. I meant to take a photo of the mess, but in the middle of this the kids demanded lunch. Not great timing on my part.
And then, slowly, everything went back in. Well, not everything. The yoghurt maker, a bunch of expired food and several redundant containers went in the bin or the sale pile. Here’s what was left.
The pantry still has some food. The cans are the only thing that didn’t move, they are on the bottom pull out. Packaged foods are much more accessible higher up. Things that are highly used, but were always blocking each other, like the blender and mixing bowls, are now on pull out shelves. And all those glasses we never use are still close enough to grab quickly for guests, but not taking up space in the prime prep area.
And look what else that made room for. That’s right, the microwave is now in the pantry and off my counter. Hooray. I still have to drill a couple of holes for the cord, but that’s an easy project (I just ask Finn to do it). We don’t really use the microwave too much so having it in the pantry doesn’t create a major inconvenience. And check out my counter space.
I’ve got a bit of staging to do (that’s my mom’s tea in the box. Yes, she travels with her own tea, despite my own large stash), I think I’ll add some art work behind for height, but its soooo much better. And while none of us can currently find anything at all without a five-minute hunt, I think once our brains catch up this will be very functional.
So, was this interesting? Got any suggestions for future simplifications? And if you’re local and in need of a yoghurt maker, I can hook you up.