kitchen organizing made easy

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People are surprised how long reorganizing a kitchen can actually take. Those cabinets can hold a ton, plus most things are heavy and breakable which slows down the process. And this is the perfect time to clean the cabinets inside and out which also takes time but is so worth it!

Before reorganizing a kitchen I always draw it out and figure where things should go BEFORE pulling everything out. Make a diagram of your space and make a list of the type of things you have, then start plugging in where things make the most sense to go. Or skip the drawing and use sticky notes directly on the cabinets.

The 3 main things you have are prep, cooking and serving. Cooking tools should be closest to the over/stove, prep tools should be where the most convenient place to prep is (for those of us in the city with tiny kitchens there isn’t always a large prep surface). And serving pieces near the sink / dishwasher.

You don’t need to complete the mapping 100% as you’ll need some wiggle room as you put things in their proper place they may take up more or less room than expected. Figure out at least half, starting with the easiest things and don’t worry about those items you’re not sure of. They’ll reveal themselves at the end once everything else is in place.

color coded books

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I recently helped one of my favorite clients move and this is her new dining area. She has a nice collection of books even though this is about half of what she had before she moved. She doesn’t reference these books anymore and likes color coding, as do I, so I got 3 billy bookcases and went to town. 

The only exception is the 1 row of books for cookbooks that she uses a lot. I mean who wants to have to remember the color of a spine every time they want to make vegan cupcakes??  

elfa pot rack

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I’ve literally worked every day for the last 4 weeks and will be working every day for the rest of the month and into November so I apologize for not posting. But figured I’d better get back to it!!

Before there was nothing in the corner. It was just empty and sad crying out for shelves. I used Elfa for it’s ease of install and adjustability. The hooks can be hung at at the front, middle, and back which allows you to layer the pans easily. And the little knife rack finishes the corner nicely…

pots + pans storage

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We went back and forth on options for a bit, a colored metal pegboard, or a few hanging rails, and finally decided that rail shelves would accommodate her pieces and the space best. The shelves are great because they’re actually several rails so you can layer the pieces you hang to make the most use of the depth. Another bonus of the shelves is having a few jars of grains out, I love the look of grains in clear glass…

The client embraces the ‘living better with less’ philosophy so has only cooking tools that help her instead of having excess things that just take up space, and believe me, this woman cooks a lot. The top shelf holds the least often used larger pots, and the most used pieces are hung. 

Note about lids. Whenever possible keep the lids with their corresponding pots. The lids on red and large stainless steel pots are turned upside down so smaller pots can stack on top (instead of inside) keeping them visible and accessible. The lids for the pans are in the warming drawer under the oven along with cookie sheets.

caring for cookware

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The NY Times ran a great article on properly caring for cookware. The infographic above hits some highlights of the article*. It’s a good quick read just skip the first few paragraphs to get to the good stuff…

While on the topic of pots and pans, here’s a peak at a recent client’s kitchen. Seeing the expanse of wall to the left, I envisioned a large pegboard. While they were weary at first that the pots and pans would make the space feel smaller and get in the way, they are now feeling the opposite and love it. They painted the boards the same color as the wall which looks fantastic.

We redid all the inside cabinets, moving things around to make everything more accessible and make more sense. Clearing pots and pans out of one of the lower cabinets gave us room to put in this little elfa drawer unit to use a pantry. This is actually a progress shot; there’s a bin coming for over the microwave to hold/conceal the baby’s cups, a colorful runner for the floor, and a long bread basket like this one, for the window sil to hold veggies. 

* Just a health note regarding non-stick pans. Most of them have a Teflon coating that when cooked at high temps, breaks apart and can be breathed in which is harmful to you, young children and deadly to birds (google it). The article mention to only use non-stick pieces for cooking at low temps avoiding the issue. You can decide for yourself…

peg board in a tiny kitchen

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his tiny kitchen is used a lot by this very talented cook but was lacking accessible storage. We were thinking a couple high shelves on the brick wall, but since she’s 5’2″ tall, not a great option so we opted for a large pegboard. To make sure it didn’t make the space feel cramped I held up a large pan and let her walk around; we both agreed it was fine… and it is!

She painted it red which looks great with the rest of the apartment.

pots + pans storage

I’m helping this young family settle into their new apt by reusing what they have including these simple Grundtal rails, one of my favorite products from Ikea.

Before installing them we were concerned that having the pots and pans on this wall would make this corner feel cramped so we held it up to make sure and it wasn’t a problem. They’re both tall so we placed the top bar as high up so things are out of the way yet still easy to access. We placed the deeper pots on top with the pans below so nothing is in the way when you’re at the stove.

This simple idea has made them both really happy to be able to easily access and store everything without taking up precious cabinet space and they love the way it looks.

tiny kitchen: before + after (almost)


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This corner of a client’s tiny kitchen had huge storage potential. After taking measurements I made my suggestions (I hand draw everything, I’m not so keen on computer sketches).

The basic idea was to put a tall skinny cabinet in the corner then add shelves (attached to the corner unit) in front of the window for prep surface with room below for recycling + garbage. The window is never opened but suggested the shelves be on a hinge so they can be lifted for access to the window in case of emergency.

They ended up going with a modified version of option #1, just adding the tall open shelf unit. They figured they’d start with the shelf unit and add to it later if needed.

organized kitchen cabinets

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This kitchen is a bit smaller than the one in the previous post and this client doesn’t have as many dishes and glasses so instead of having a strictly glass or dishes cabinets, we’ve combined the two.
I used a couple tupperware bowls to keep tea packets neatly and easily at hand.
 
The cabinet with the alcohol is above the fridge and is for things she doesn’t use that often and for excess teas (as you can see, she cannot have enough teas!!).
 

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For the dishes, I’ve broken up the set placing some low and some higher since she doesn’t need them all accessible all the time. T
he L-shaped cabinet in the last picture, is next to the stove so it’s perfect for the oils and spices. One no brainer for kitchen storage is the perfect little turntable (lazy-susans). I use them for oils as well but for this cabinet we didn’t need it.
 
As you’ll notice, they’re the only ‘organizing product’ used for these cabinets. You don’t always need them…