The Great Kitchen Reorg

The Great Kitchen Reorg has been on my mind for a while now. Since I started Project 333 (on which I will update you sometime in the coming week or so), I’ve been trying to downsize other areas of my life, too, besides just my wardrobe.

I cleaned out my bookshelves (which you’ll see evidence of in a below picture), I stopped using shampoo, and I stopped using facewash (less gross than it sounds, I promise). Little by little, my goal is to live with what I need and what makes me happy, and none of that extra crap that just gooks everything up and makes me crazy (crazier).

So The Great Kitchen Reorg was the natural next step. I keep capitalizing it and giving it an epic name, but I’m telling you, that’s more truthful than I thought it would be when I started calling it The Great Kitchen Reorg facetiously.

When I moved in to our house 6-and-a-half years ago, I left all the kitchen stuff boxed for probably two weeks. Every time I decided to start, I would look at it, get nauseous, and decide I would rather pluck out my nosehairs one by one. Anything was less painful than trying to figure out the damn kitchen. I went to a baby shower one morning, and when I came home, my mother-in-law (bless her sweet, sweet soul forever amen) had put everything away for me! I was so grateful, and left things pretty much that way because she’s good at organizing and it all made sense.

But as the years passed, we got more stuff, we changed our habits, we moved things, and it got out of hand. Thus, the time had come for The Great Kitchen Reorg. And it was every bit as daunting (maybe more) as getting started that first time. And this time, I was on my own.

This is how the kitchen looked when I started.

I knew I wanted to have less visual clutter. My kitchen is small, and counter space is at a premium, so the goal was to leave as little on the counter as possible. I also decided I wanted to clean up the look of the top of the cabinets. I thought I might have to store stuff up there still, but I didn’t want it to be mismatched appliances. Maybe nice matching baskets or something.

I read online that when you reorganize your kitchen, the way to do it is to take everything out of all of the cabinets, sort it into functional areas, and then put it all back, arranged in those functional areas. Those people are either nuckin futs or have a lot more space to spread out their kitchen cabinet stuff than I do.

One cabinet worth of stuff taking up my WHOLE TABLE. Ok, yeah, it's my liquor cabinet. So what?

After I cleaned out one cabinet and ran out of space, I sat down and cried for a while. It helped that I started with the liquor cabinet, so I could at least self-medicate while I flipped out.

After I finished weeping, I decided I was going to have to use some of the cabinets for staging areas, so I cleaned out what I could and sorted things the best way I could, and used the counters and cabinets as spaces to lay things out. I began to put things back, slowly, cleaning cabinets as I went, banging shelf brackets into the proper places, and maybe swearing… a little. As I went, I also sorted out the things that I didn’t want to keep and left them separate as I put everything else away.

I’m pretty pleased with the overall result!

I managed to keep everything off the top of the cabinets!

Not only are the cabinet tops clear, but everything is off the counters except for the coffee maker and the toaster. That is a huge improvement. The counters are now clear enough for just about anything you can imagine. (God. Not that. Gutterbrain.)

I am particularly proud of my solution for my deep corner cabinets. I have four of them because whoever built this house didn’t give a rat’s patoot how many times I would have to bang my head pulling out my Christmas serving trays from 16 feet behind my Tupperware.

wanted those half-moon lazy susan things that you can just swing out and get at everything, but they are mucho expensive (and I am mucho cheap), so my solution was to put the stuff at the front of the deep cabinets on trays that can be easily slid out. Then the stuff in the back of the cabinets is also on trays, so I can slide it out to the front of the cabinet with, like, one finger, instead of sticking two thirds of my torso in a cabinet in order to reach the thermos hidden in the back corner. It took a little strategery, but I can reach everything easily. Ahhh.

You’ll remember I had a spice rack dilemma, too. I decided to go with Joanna’s solution and use a drawer.

And, I ended up with three laundry baskets (and change) worth of stuff to get rid of or give away, not to mention four trash bags full of expired dry and canned goods that went in the garbage can. (That hurt my heart. It’s hard to get rid of food, expired or not.)

My upstairs landing has become the transitional area where things go before they get the hell out of my house.

I’m happy to say, I’m done. Whew. It took a weekend and another weeknight or two to get it all done, mostly on my own, although I am enlisting help to hang up some wine glass holders I bought to go under the cabinets. (Good way to free up cabinet space but still not put stuff on the counter.)

Are you still reading this? Gold star for you. Marathon post. Jeez. Even I got tired of hearing myself yap. Your turn. Tell me your best kitchen organization secrets. But I’m not going to use them, probably, because I’m done, and that is not happening again for at least another six years.

  • Mari

    I’m afraid I’ll be joining you with this exercise as well as the Project 333. I’m in a very large house right now. I have a tone of cabinet space that is very poorly organized. I’m downsizing houses as soon as this one sells. I suspect my new kitchen will not have 30 cabinets and a huge pantry. Maybe you can come help me when I move in! Please…..

    • Ummm… Let’s have a nosehair plucking party instead. That sounds more fun. 😉 Seriously, though, it’s probably way easier to do this WITH someone else. I imagine there are fewer meltdowns and cursewords. And if you allow me to help you downsize your liquor cabinet, maybe it would be worth it. 🙂

  • I bought some of those underhang things for my mugs, it helps as I have a small apartment kitchen. Another thing I did is use those stair step plastic things in the cabinet I keep my spices in (well most of them, they’ve colonized the counter below a bit as well. In my pantry i have some wire racks as my shelves are deep and tall and that way i can stack two layers of stuff. Otherwise…not well organized. The cabinet above the sink I can pretty much just reach with my stepstool holds the misc small appliances (blender, chopper, Foreman, crockpot) so the only thing that lives on my one big counterspace is the coffee pot…and right now a large package of Ramen. I’m jealous you have above cabinet space. And now my comment got long. lol. Sorry

    • I thought about getting mug hooks, too, but I’m afraid it will be all I can do to get the wine glass things hung. 😉 My pantry actually is pretty good now that I threw out all the expired crap. Didn’t have to buy anything new to organize that. 🙂

      • i just got a cheap thing that goes into the cabinet and below if that makes sense? It’s like wire. I need to clean out expired crap too 🙂

  • Beth Caudill

    Congrats on the Kitchen Caper.    My husband is trying to clear counter space and I’m resisting.   He wants to put up my kitchen aid mixer.  I love the mixer. I don’t use the mixer much right now.  I did use a lot until about a year ago.  I quit making desserts that only I would eat.   I love my mixer.  He wants to put it in upstairs in the attic.  I can’t carry it.  I love my mixer and will be sad when it is relegated to the attic to wait for Holiday baking.  I have till the end of December to pet my precious mixer.   🙁

    • Oh, that’s sad. 🙁 I managed to fit everything I wanted to keep in the cabinets. Well, you’ll just have to warn him that every time you want the mixer, he will be at your beck and call to haul it down.

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