Friday, March 27, 2015

Kitchen Storage - Part 1

My kitchen seemed more than adequate (size-wise) when we were dreaming it up. What I didn't anticipate was how challenging it is to only have two tiny drawers. We took out the main section of drawers during the renovation to add a dishwasher. Knowing the lower cabinets were poor quality,  we planned to replace all the lowers (with a new bank of drawers) eventually.

That was a dandy plan until I was moving our stuff in and didn't know where to put all the things we usually store in drawers. Like plastic wrap, utensils, silverware, dish rags, hot pads, etc. It required some creativity and coincided nicely with my discovery organizational tips on Pinterest, so hopefully the system I worked out will have some helpful ideas for you. Here's a little map to get you oriented before we begin. We'll start with the upper cupboards on this side and then move to the lowers. (We're ignoring the tippy-top row for now.)

We'll go through this the way we read (left to right, top to bottom). Our top shelf has our popcorn supplies. Since I like to be green and don't want to use paper products even with a big group, I've hung onto these cheapy plastic bowls from Target. The second row has trays we use when we eat outside or go camping. The egg carrier has a similar purpose - food on the go/outside. Then we have the shelf that's been taken over by my supplements and meds, which fit well under the Ziplocs. the clear container next tot he Ziplocs hold empty, used Ziplocs that are clean. I don't wash them, these are just the ones that held things that didn't leave anything behind. I won't use them for food, but if I want to throw some batteries in a baggy, I reuse. The lowest shelf has a portion of the dishes because we often fill plates in the kitchen. Most of our dishes are out in the dining room, but I knew I wouldn't like having to go there to get them if we weren't setting the table and bringing food out of the kitchen. 

Here I've spliced together two photos of the cabinets above our sink. We have ice cube trays, an ice bucket, jello mold, waffle iron (that I need to get rid of), pitchers, casserole carrier, cookie cutters in a Ziploc (mostly chopped out by my splicing) and the waffle iron we use. 

Here we have plastic plates I use for big crowds under a plastic container that spinach comes in (because it keeps longer). I buy bags of spinach because its cheaper and transfer it. The big carrier on the right is for cupcakes and if you take the dividers out you can use it to transport a tall cake. The next shelf has the top of my blender, bread pans and a folding cheese grater on top of it, small kitchen gadgets and my mixer. The lowest shelf has a small crock pot we make oatmeal in overnight (yum!), liquid measuring thingys and my knock-off magic bullet. Behind that there's a Vidalia Chop Wizard (love!) and a mini food processor (which I'm going to learn to use).

Next to the microwave, there's a narrow cabinet that holds disposable containers for taking meals to people. If I can use these, they're spared the hassle of returning my dishes. The lower shelf has our hot pads. The upper cabinets over the refrigerator are empty, but the baskets that sit on top aren't. One holds coffee filters and one holds tea. (below)

Now we'll track back to the lowers, starting with the cabinet under our sink, which I spliced also though I'm sure you couldn't tell - wink! Hiding on the left are a hand broom/dustpan set and a fly swatter. Our trash sits in front of our water purifying system because I'm a water snob. It's one of my favorite luxuries. Next to that (from the back) is a box of garbage bags, a glass canister of plastic wrap/wax paper/aluminum foil, extra dishwasher tablets, dish soap and a small planter with drain plugs. On the far right, is a small bag of plastic bags and our biggest cooking pot. Someday when I'm bored, this area will get some love and be a delight to get into. Someday...

On the right cabinet door, we keep the dishwasher tablets (in the container), rinse aid and the cat's brush. We also usually to have an old toothbrush for cleaning, but it must've gone to the great beyond. I think I've spied some worn out candidates...

In the corner we have a lazy susan that works harder than the name suggests. All our food storage containers go here, along with our measuring spoons/cups and two funnels. My favorite idea from Pinterest is hanging measuring spoons. I wanted an easier option than drilling and brass hooks so I mounted cork board and used thumbtacks, though not all spoons have big enough holes for thumbtacks. Like the ones in the cup.

If you keep spinning, you'll see more food storage, our toaster and crock pot. The toaster guarantees this cabinet is always crumby, but before I took these pictures, they all had some crumbs biggy.

I am the queen of nesting and this cabinet houses all my mixing bowls, my large strainer, and my glass tray for veggies/dip or chips/salsa. It sits on the bottom and its glass bowl for the center is inside the smallest mixing bowl. To the right is our recipe book which is photo album. I print recipes on 4x6 cards and if people give me a recipe card, I slip it in and then they're protected from spills. If you want to try this, choose an album that lays flat. In the back corner you can barely see my salad dressing shaker and on the half shelf, I have our fry pans, and a couple baking dishes.

Here are the rest of my baking dishes and pots, which is good because now we are right next to the stove. The microwave shield is here too and on the far right of the half shelf, you can see a wooden serving piece made for three little bowls. They're also nested in the last cabinet, inside the salsa/dip bowl. See? I told you that cabinet's nesting was well-nigh sensational. And because it's all light, I don't hate getting stuff out of there. 

One measly pot lid doesn't have a great place in this cabinet, so I sewed a sleeve and hung it on the door with my nutcrackers.

The final lower cabinet and the last one we'll look at today, is the narrow cabinet next to the stove. I keep our cutting boards, cooling racks, a divided brownie pan, cake pans, cookie sheets and muffin pans here. 

In part two, we'll be looking at what we store in the island, the pantry and my desk area. Hope you have a fun weekend, relaxing or projecting or both! 

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