Sunday, November 03, 2013

Kitchen organizing or "I wonder what's behind the ketchup?"

The other night I had my girlfriend over for a sleepover (true fact: I love sleepovers.)  At one point during the evening, it dawned on me that I needed to share my newly organized laundry closet.  I was so proud of the clean-up I had done a few weeks ago.

Let's just say she wasn't as excited as I was.  For one, the closet isn't much to write home about, as you can see here:

I tried to explain how bad it had been (and it was bad), but she said that she figured it had always been organized. She never would have thought differently.

I guess that's the beauty of closed doors.  Even though I know the disaster that lays behind them, my guests have no clue.

I've been slowly gaining motivation to organize different areas in our home.  Most recently I tackled 2 of our kitchen cupboards.

Here is what I started with:

Let's get a little closer shall we...

And we can't forget the upper cabinet.

So these 2 cupboards basically make up my pantry.  I just got used to pulling out the few items that were in the front, and then balancing them on top of the mess when I put them away.  I had no idea what was even in the backs of my cupboards. So bad.  Makes me cringe.  

First step to organizing...make another mess!

I tried to sort food as I removed it from the cupboards.  My main piles were breakfast food, snacks, canned/bottled food, baking items and carbs (quinoa/rice/pasta/beans).  

During this process I realized I had doubles of several types of food - both of which were opened.  Food I didn't even know I had.  This is the cycle that unorganized cupboards cause.  You end up buying things you already have thus creating more clutter.  You also waste money.

Since my "pantry" isn't very user friendly I tried to add some functionality to the space, and the first group of food I tackled was the baking items.  Who knew I had all these baking ingredients?  I didn't!  Maybe I'll actually try baking something now...

I had this cute little striped canvas basket that was actually storing Derek's CDs.  I think the CDs are at least 10 years old and we need to host a throw back party.  DJ Derek can provide the jams.

I was able to coral all my baking supplies here, keeping them together - perfect!

Next step...get all those carbs together.  The carbs that will be feeding us through to the spring I might add.

The cupboards are pretty deep (which is nice!)  However it makes it difficult to get to the items in the back.  Enter this cute wooden crate my mom bought me.

I even lined it with some pretty napkins I had on hand.

I stuffed all that food in there so that it's easy to just pull it out from the back.  

For the upper cabinets I just tried my best to just keep like items together.

I had an extra tin which I used to store things like chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts, and oatmeal which I use to make my new favourite breakfast: overnight oats.  

In the end, it was pretty great because I actually gained (almost) one whole empty shelf!

My baking supplies along with a basket of tea towels and dish cloths are stored on the microwave cart right beside the kitchen.

*side note: I've since tossed the dirty flower water and actually changed the Christmas art that has been hanging since December, 2012.*

This whole process took about an hour and a half and I'm so happy I finally took the time to do it.  It also felt as though I was going shopping in my own kitchen.  I honestly had no idea I had all this food.  I'm hoping the systems I've put in place are easy to maintain and that my cupboards continue looking this way.

Next up...the front hallway closet.  Which isn't actually too bad, and has some good storage and organization systems going on, but just needs a refresher.

And because who doesn't want to look at beautifully designed and organized spaces, here's some inspiration I have for some areas of our home.

I love the shelving and lighting this closet offers.  The shelves are pretty bare, but some baskets and clear containers are all I would need to organize our laundry closet.

This type of industrial shelving would work well as an alternative to customized wooden built-ins which are what I'm really dreaming of for the laundry closet.

Using the door (and vertical space) is always such a great idea.  I've never done anything like this.  I'm always worried about the caddie not being secured properly and having it bang around.  I also love the idea of painting (or wallpapering) the inside of the door.

What are your organizing tips?  I'm always looking for great storage solutions for small spaces!

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