My relationship with my kitchen has been a bit of a love/hate situation since long before the reno. Keeping the cabinets was a huge money saver but they are smaller than normal (grrr) so organizing them for storage is a bit wonky to say the least. The worst ones are 11 in. wide and 11½ in. deep. My dinner plates won’t even fit inside! I finally got sick of fighting with them and came up with a plan that works for me and there’s no more wasted space!
I started by cutting small pieces of wood (approximately 1x2x2) to attach as braces and cutting thin slices of craft wood to use as shelves. I put down shelf paper throughout the kitchen to make all of the cabinets easier to wipe down and the bright white helps keep things from getting list.
First of all, I put together a cabinet to hold all of those random, odd-sized things that I use every time I cook.
This cabinet holds my cutting boards (the small blue ones are for cutting cheese, the green ones are for fruits and veggies, and the white ones are for meat) against one side with a small wood block screwed to the bottom of the cabinet. Then, I attached hooks around the top of the back and opposite side to hold measuring spoons and measuring cups. The back hooks hold my 4.5 in. cutter (see my lunchbox pizzas!), my small hand sifter, a mini grater and a lemon zester. I also have a small jar that holds extra measuring spoons and a stack of pinch bowls that I can grab quickly. In the shelf above, I have stacked glass measuring cups and my larger grater as well as a larger sifter.
Then, I took over the cabinets on either side of the oven to store my plastic storage containers. The cabinet on the left holds my simple (and cheap!) Ikea containers and the right is for a set of Rubbermaid that fits together really well. When we finished the reno I threw all the other mismatched pieces out!
It’s been so nice not to have to wrestle with lids and containers every time I try to put away leftovers. And it makes it easier for the boys to help out! I used my little wooden blocks to add a “loft” in the back/top of the cabinet to keep from having such large stacks to dig through. (See the cute little shelves I added in!) On the shelf above the Ikea containers I have cooking oils and vinegars and on the opposite top shelf I have an over-sized travel mug collection.
In my other cabinets I have risers to help with stacking glasses and plates, a nifty little carousel (that’s tough to photograph) to house my pots and pans, as well as a cabinet with dividers to hold sheet pans and muffin tins.
I kick myself for not taking ownership of this kitchen years ago. I’m sure a lot of it may not make sense to everyone but, in the end, I’ve made the kitchen work for me and they was I cook. Everything I’ve added can be easily removed or adjusted if we move, get new cabinets, etc. I do still have one major cabinet to force into submission. A baking cabinet. I want to get used to using it for a while before I decide how to organize it best to work for me. I will happily share the final results when I have them!
*Note: I cleaned the wood blocks and screws before installing them in the cabinet since they weren’t originally made to be food safe.
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Jennifer (White Tulip Designs)
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I really like the simplicity of your organization. No need for expensive gadgets to make the kitchen functional. I too like to use a space for a bit before deciding if it is going to work for me long term.