10.09.2011

Day 9 - Clutter Free Kitchen Cabinets

Wow. It's Day 9 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home series. Can you believe it?? We're still working our way through the kitchen today, dealing with the cabinets.
One of the best ways to ensure a Clutter Free Kitchen is to have clutter free cabinets. You must have assigned a place for everything so you can always put things away rather than leaving them out. If you don't have enough cabinet space consider moving in a piece of furniture to store extras, add a shelf under your cabinets or just get rid of stuff. It's all about being realistic about the amount of storage you have. If you have a small kitchen and no pantry space, you probably won't be stocking up at Costco each month. You just can't. Unless you want to live with a giant box of granola bars and a case of green beans in your living room...
As I've mentioned before, PURGING is of primary importance and CONTAINERS go a long way (even inside cabinets) in reducing visual clutter and categorizing a chaotic mass of items so they're easy to find. And you also want to make sure you set your kitchen up into zones that make sense because then you're more apt to keep things put away in those areas.

So, now we're going to take a tour of our kitchen looking specifically at those zones and what we keep in each cabinet in those zones. Perhaps some of the things I've done will give you an idea for your kitchen. Perhaps not...I just don't know. But I will show you what works for our family.

First we will expore the Cooking / Cookware and dish storage zone.



We will work our way through this area, moving from left to right. Above the refrigerator, we have a very large, deep cabinet. This is where we store a 5 gallon bucket of wheat and a wheat grinder (we grind our own whole wheat flour...). We also store a large roasting pan and a pie basket up there. And there's room to spare. I love this cabinet.



To the right of the fridge is a 24" wide upper cabinet. This is where we store our spices and other ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, baking soda, etc. My favorite part of this cabinet is the tiered expanding organizer that I got at Target. It makes it SO EASY to find what I need while cooking.


The drawer next to the fridge is used for baggies, cling wrap and foil.


Underneath that drawer is where we keep the crockpot, loaf pans and other misc. items.



The upper corner cabinet holds a variety of things including more baking supplies, a food chopper, mixing bowls, trivets and pot holders.



On the left side of that cabinet is the knife block (which we prefer in the cabinet than out on the countertop), oil and butter. 


Here's a backed out view of that cabinet and you can see our food scale up on the top shelf since we don't use it very often (mainly when butchering our own venison and weighing the packages of meat before we freeze them).



The lazy susan in the corner holds our Bosch mixer, blender and food processor.


On the bottom shelf of the lazy susan are two Schwan's buckets that contain attachments for the mixer and the food processor as well as our hand meat grinder and a basket of potatoes.


The wall cabinet to the left of the microwave contains our coffee cups, glasses (which are Mason jars, we love them) and measuring cups. The basket on the top shelf contains random and rarely used things like canning lids, a funnel, a strawberry slicer, etc. The basket on the middle shelf contains Levi's bottles, collars, nipples and lids. It is nice to have the glasses here relatively close to the fridge and the measuring cups handy when mixing something up. We only have four mugs because we rarely use more than that at a time and as long as we keep up with the dishes, we don't run out.



The small drawer to the left of the stove holds large utensils
that are used daily while cooking.


Underneath that drawer is a narrow cupboard for 9 x 13 pans (and an insulated carrier), a cookie sheet, cutting board and cake pan.


Above the microwave are the bundt pan and pie pans as well as meat platters. This cabinet is deeper than most (about 15") so it is perfect for our large, round platters that don't even fit in a standard 12" deep cabinet.


The drawer under the oven is used for our extra cast iron skillets.


The wall cabinet to the right of the microwave is where we keep plates & bowls (and we keep our casserole dishes above that on the top shelf). This is conveniently located near the silverware drawer. (We have 8 large plates, 8 round plates and 8 bowls...a bunch of them were just in the dishwasher when I snapped this pic.) I love having all white dishes. My Mom & Dad got them for me for my birthday this year. We've noticed our food looks so much more pretty on a plain white plate.


The silverware drawer contains our silverware, potato peelers, thermometer, spatulas, can opener, apple wedger, Levi's baby spoons/forks, measuring cups and spoons. I repurposed a couple containers (including one that Dave made in elementary art class!) for smaller items. I love working with what we already have rather than buying something.


Under the silverware drawer is the pots and pan drawer.


And under that is the tupperware drawer (a.k.a. Levi's drawer). He is allowed to get all this out and play with it. So wish I hadn't started allowing that because 90% of the time now there's tupperware strewn all over the kitchen floor.



 On the other side of the kitchen is the Cleanup Zone.



On the end of that counter (left of the sink) is a cabinet where we keep our cookbooks and coffee maker and filters (the coffee maker was out at that time).



Under the right side of the sink we keep trash bags, cleaners and dishwasher soap. (Under the left side is a pull-out trash can.)


Now we will move on to our Food/Paper Storage Zone. On the wall opposite our refrigerator we have a tall pantry cabinet (12" deep, 36" wide, floor to ceiling).


It is not all that organized but there is some order. We keep the most frequently used items at eye level. We have a basket that contains all kinds of drink items like tea bags, hot chocolate packets and Starbucks VIA packets. On the bottom right we have a basket that holds rice, dried beans, gum, and right now...a candle. That's random.

 

One tip that I have about controlling clutter in food storage cabinets is to just simply reduce the amount of food you keep on hand. Make a meal plan based on what you already have and then make a LIST and go to the grocery store and buy ONLYwhat you need to fix your meals in your plan for the next week or two (or month if you shop once/ month).

The bottom portion of the pantry cupboard contains paper plates, cups, paper towels, napkins, and dish towels and rags.


Well, I hope you enjoyed that little tour of our kitchen. Stop back by tomorrow for a discussion of busting clutter in Mudrooms / Main Entryways.

16 comments:

Penny Lane said...

Your kitchen looks fabulous! I know this isn't a fixer upper question, but I wanted to ask about bread making. I have failed miserably with my new bread machine and now just want to cook bread in the oven. However, I was hoping you would be willing to share your secrets. As well, how do you store your bread through the week? Do you have a particular bread bag?

Anonymous said...

We keep our knives in the cabinet, too! And we used to have a tupperware drawer for our kids, but I had to put a stop to that. Drove.me.crazy.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Working through your series and I'm really enjoying it. I could honestly put a comment on every post but this one really helped me today! I'm doing well with decluttering (finally) but I have been struggling with my kitchen. I have pared down over and over, but my kitchen still gets messy in a heartbeat and I think I need to get more organized. What helped me was seeing how you really really do have a place for everything and everything in its place. You know "this platter lives in this cabinet" for example. I have that a little, but not enough. What I'm going to do thanks to you, is (gulp!) take everything out of my kitchen and lay it out on the dining table (we have a gigantic one) and then count my items and forcibly get down to a lower number, then I will assign a home for each item before it goes back. I'm going to try to take your advice on fitting a trash can under the cabinets but we are limited on bottom cabinets and very limited on drawers. We are also hunters (therefore home butchers) and I practice long-term food storage and supplies storage, so I have some extra organizing challenges, but I think you have finally given me the courage to tackle the kitchen once again. Keep up the great work!

kitchen pantry cabinet said...

What a cool kitchen that you are staying in, never seen one like it. Have fun

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