Monday, January 7, 2013

Kitchen Organization Part 1: Pantry & Pots and Pans

As promised, here is an update on my attempts to organize my kitchen one cabinet and drawer at a time.

We have a storage problem in our kitchen. Actually, it's more accurate to say that we have a stuff problem in our kitchen. As in too much of it. Small appliances, gadgets, pots, pans... you name it and we have multiples. But we use just about everything in our kitchen, so I have to get creative to fit it all in our cabinets.

The biggest disaster zone in the kitchen was the pantry. Our pantry is just a tall, 2 foot wide, 2 1/2 foot deep kitchen cabinet with 6 shelves. I would really like to put sliding shelves in the bottom half, but the way the cabinet is constructed, I would lose too much width to fit the sliding hardware in. So I have pack things into the shelves by frequency of use, otherwise I would have to unpack half the pantry just to get to one item I need for dinner. I had to come up with a solution that made our most used items easy to get to, while still making everything else reasonably accessible, which is difficult with the deep shelves.

I don't have any before pictures, but just imagine something similar to this only with things falling out when you touched anything and the vinegar outside of the cabinet on the floor because it didn't fit...

First off, I bought stacking ventilated baskets from the Container Store for potatoes, onions, and garlic. The open shelves keep air flowing around the produce which keeps it fresh longer, and it also keeps it visible so that I can toss out any mushy onions or sprouty potatoes before they turn into a nasty soup (it's happened before when we kept them in the bags they come in - it was gross...)

I also bought plastic storage containers for flour and sugar, which serve the double purpose of keeping them dry and also minimizing the space they take up on the shelf. I pushed the flour and baking items to the back of the shelf because I only bake once a month or so.

I left the next shelf partly empty; since it is the easiest shelf to reach, I will keep snack items, cereal and food for upcoming dinners (sauces, pasta, etc) on it.

The next two shelves are almost entirely filled with spices. I got two wire stacking shelves so that I could have two layers of spice jars around the edges of the bottom shelf. The top shelf has extra canned goods that we don't use very often pushed to the back behind the spices.

The top shelf has canned goods towards the front and also a water filter pitcher and our pressure cooker that didn't fit in our other cabinets. Since we don't use them that often, the high shelf is a good, out of the way place to store them.

Whew! That was a lot of work for one little pantry! When we have the time to be able to tear our kitchen apart for a week to repaint all the cabinets, I'll repaint this inside of the pantry a nice color to make it a little prettier.

I also organized our pots and pans cabinet with a couple lid racks. But that's not interesting enough to take a picture of. It's just satisfying that we can open the cabinet door without lids sliding out on our feet.

Next up is my adventures with our junk drawer(s) and the dreaded tupperware cabinet.

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