Saturday, September 21, 2013

Organizing the kitchen

Hi Friends,

Well, I just about had it with the clutter and general mess in my kitchen! For starter, I did not design it, and very obviously whoever designed it was not a woman either. There is so much bending down and reaching up, my kitchen won't qualify as "ideal" for any cook! That being said, the abysmal lack of organization is not helping one bit and if anything, it is making matters worse!

After watching a video series from Libby Withnall on YouTube, I decided it was time I seriously reconsider the positioning of every item in my kitchen. I was truly inspired by her videos, granted she has a fabulous kitchen!

Libby's videos on YouTube:

Is this the most amazing kitchen? She also has such a beautiful assortment of bowls and cute plates....Libby! I want your kitchen!

So, I was completely inspired to take a look at what was inside my cabinets  and since I still had two more bags of junk to fill for my 30 bags in 30 days challenge, I just rolled up my sleeves and worked (on my birthday, no less) for a good 4 hours.

On day one, I was able to complete 5 cabinets and a set of drawers. On day two, I tackled the under sink area and four more cabinets.

My strategy was simple:

  1. Minimize the amount of bending down and reaching up by positioning my most used items at arms length level. With that in mind, I also wanted to minimize the amount of walking back and forth to fetch anything I would need.
  2. Put the least used items (such as small appliances) into one centralized location so that they would not clutter prime "real estate" space in other, more functional cabinets.
  3. Get rid of all non used, broken, damaged, hideous stuff I either do not use or not care for any longer.
  4. Group things by categories and near areas where they are needed. For instance, we use the large counter to serve meals and pack leftovers for our work lunches, so all storage containers and serving dishes should be in that area, not on the other side of the kitchen.
  5. Get rid of the large garbage can which takes too much floor space and block access to one cabinet, and replace it with a smaller, under the sink, pull-out bin!

On the far end of the kitchen, near the dining room door, I emptied out an entire cabinet full of junk and filled it with all my small appliances. Everything that has a plug in this cabinet.

It is far from the most used area in the kitchen (large counter) and therefore does not clutter valuable space.  I have all the appliances we use the most on the front of each shelf, with the ones we use less at the bottom of the cabinet and those we reach out for most often on the top level. Behind each level are all the appliances we use the least. Accessories are also organized in bins and easily accessible.

This cabinet (below) is directly under our large counter, where we serve meals and pack leftovers. It made sense to have all the serving dishes and the leftover storage containers in this cabinet.


This is where I keep all my Corning ware as well as all the Pyrex dishes we use for leftovers. In addition, since most cooking prep is done in this area, mixing bowls and scale are located here as well (before, they were in the far end cabinet where I now keep my small appliances. No more walking back and forth!
The cabinet directly above this counter area used to contain all our vitamins, first aid kit and aprons. It just was not a space maximized for functionality so I relocated the boxes of vitamins and the first aid kit to above the fridge. Instead, I now use this area to store all our lunch containers.
And it makes a lot of sense since this the area where we pack leftovers, instead of reaching all the way down to a drawer were I kept my Tupperware and plastic containers, I now have containers right there, no bending down! I also got rid of every single plastic container and top we had around the kitchen and replaced them all with healthier and sturdier glass containers. Right above those containers, I keep all the travel coffee mugs, they are easy to reach for me in the morning.
Next to this particular cabinet, we had another one where I was keeping our cleaning rags and breakfast items (coffee etc.) But I found that reaching up for coffee every day was just not practical. I also wanted to clear out some space in the drawers below that counter and decided to use the inside panel of the cabinet to organize all the measuring spoons and cups.

Since we reach for coffee everyday, it made sense to store it where it would be easily reached for. We also do the baking and cooking prep in this area, so having the measuring spoons readily available is also a plus, not to mention that we no longer have to separate them  since they are already organized individually.

I used my label maker to identify each spoon/cup with its respective hook!

All towels and rags were relocated to a drawer below and near the sink.
Since I had moved a lot of appliances out of cabinets near the stove, I had new space for baking dishes. In the past, my baking pans were in the far end cabinet, away from the stove and the counter.
Now all my baking dishes and pans are near the stove, including the cookie sheets.
Don't miss my video:
Kitchen Organization - Part I: in which you get to see all the before and after as well as a  haul from Macy's , Target and Home Goods.

Then on day two: I focused on replacing the old garbage can with an under the sink rolling type bin.

I had this large garbage can I had purchased at Home Goods which was on the other side of the counter (out of sight) but required walking from one side of the kitchen the other in order to reach it. Further, it was also blocking access to a very large and very deep cabinet under the counter. 
So, I replaced it with this under the sink rolling bin I found at Home Depot under $50. It took under 10 minutes to install it!

With my new regained space, I decided to remove the door from the cabinet and use the shelves for all our cooking books. That way, they are visible and reminders that there is more to dinner than Spaghetti Meatballs!

Finally! A space for humans and I am falling in love with my kitchen again!
On to the glassware and dinnerware! This cabinet had a combination of glassware and mugs. The cabinet next to it contained all my plates and bowls but  had some glassware too. So I decided to use the left cabinet as a glassware storage and the right cabinet solely for plates and bowls. Below is the glassware cabinet (before and after).

I went through all my glasses and tossed a whole bunch, those I decided to keep were washed and buffed to a shine before returning to the cabinet!

I also purchased a rack for the bottom shelf in order to maximum space and double stack those mugs I had decided to keep.

Inside the right cabinet (below) I now keep all the plates, bowls and platters, including the Winter Greetings plates we use during the holidays.
In order to keep things off the counter tops, I purchased two paper towel holders and placed one on the wall near the sink:
And another one near the stove, to quickly pick up spills.
My counter has never looked so cleaned and decluttered....except maybe, on the day before we moved into the house!
And why bother keeping the pot lids in a cabinet when they fit perfectly fine behind the freestanding stove?
In all, this is the best thing I have done in the house in months of running around trying to figure out ways to simplify my life. My kitchen is efficient and better yet, enjoyable. There is not a thing that is in the wrong place, everything has been evaluated and positioned exactly where it makes sense to have it...I am happy, Scott is happy...what else could I ask for? Now, if only I could learn to cook!
Watch Day II of my Kitchen Organization Series on YouTube:

Many thanks to Libby Withnall for inspiring me.
Thank you for sharing my blog with friends and family. I love to know how my readers are doing and what they find interesting on my blog, thanks for leaving a comment.
Sophia, NJ
*This site contains affiliate advertising. I am not affiliated with any brand mentioned in this post "kitchen organization".


  1. Hi Sophia - Am so pleased I found your videos etc - I love listening to you and seeing what you are achieving. I am in the process of de-cluttering and re-organising our home so feel very connected to you. Love the way you have organised your kitchen to make it so much more workable and easier to maintain. Your hall cupboard (before) looks just like ours does at the moment - it is yet to be tamed! Keep the info/videos coming - I feel like it is listening to a friend - love your personality. Lorna from North Lincolnshire UK.

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  3. I am inspired by YOU!!!!!! Can't wait to start in on my 90+ year old kitchen. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for sharing the useful information. It was really amazing and very informative. Keep sharing


I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

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