Tuesday, January 12, 2016

organizing kitchen cabinets and drawers

Good morning! I love when the sun streams into my house like this. Makes me (kind of) forget that it's really -15 with the wind chill out there.

Are you familiar with the blog, Apartment Therapy? I love this design blog. I'm following their January Cure where every day they email you a short assignment to do in your home - little organization projects that will lead to a cleaner, more organized, more peaceful home. Who doesn't want that, right? There were a few assignments to clean out and organize kitchen cabinets and drawers. Mind you, this doesn't have to be done all at once. Just one cabinet or drawer at a time. I've been working on this for several days.

Here's what I've accomplished so far. I don't have a walk-in pantry, so a lot of my everyday staples and baking goods are in cabinets. I am fortunate that we have an unfinished basement with metal shelving units where I keep other pantry items (broth, canned tomatoes and beans, tuna, toilet paper, etc.). This is my main food cabinet before. Not too bad, but still needed to be cleaned out and better organized. 

Here's the after. I keep a lot of food items (mostly grains and pastas) in jars. Takes up less room, is easier to see what you need, and keeps these items fresh. 

The bottom shelf holds my spices. Since I have so many, I find it easiest to keep them organized by category. For example, one basket is Italian spices and herbs: oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, dried shallots, onion powder. Another basket holds Mexican spices such as chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cayenne. Additional baskets hold Indian spices - turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, cardamom, coriander and fenugreek seeds; herbs such as dill, Herbs de Provence and lemongrass; and seeds like sesame, poppy, celery and caraway. And still another basket holds fall baking type spices such as cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and cloves.

Baking cabinet before:

Baking cabinet after:

Moving on to drawers...

Junk drawer before:

Junk drawer after. 

I have two utensil drawers. Here's one that started out organized with bins, but over time got messy. I took everything out of the drawer, washed the bins in hot, soapy water, wiped down the inside of the drawer and went through the utensils to see if there was anything we never used. Those items went in the donation bag I keep in the basement.

Better, though I see I need a bigger basket instead of that little white one to hold the stray stuff.

This is the second utensil drawer which is right next to the stove. I didn't get a before picture, so this is the after. I keep spatulas, big spoons and a ladle in this drawer since they're easy to grab while cooking. This drawer used to be so crammed with stuff that something would get stuck almost every time I opened the drawer.

So what to do with the "extras" that I took out of that drawer? I found there were a lot of serving spoons and a couple of serving forks. I found room for those at the end of the cutlery drawer.

I also had wooden spoons crammed into that narrow drawer. Those went into a utensil crock on the counter.

My kitchen already looks and feels better. Next cabinet to tackle is the storage container cabinet. If you don't hear from me in awhile, I probably fell into this black hole.

Sharing with Cozy Little House Tweak it Tuesday.


  1. Good work! I organized all my saucepans, skillets and lids last summer -- what a difference. Getting rid of the unused stuff is the biggest help, I think.

  2. The best thing about this from my point of view - actually there are two! - is that 1. I am totally normal and that everyones cupboards and drawers get like this from time to time and 2. the great way that you arrange your spices and herbs, I could do with doing that! That is so clever! Hope that you keep enjoying your tidying and sorting, it all looks great so far! xx

  3. I cleaned out my cupboards after Christmas. Best, cheapest way to renovate a kitchen! I like your idea of organizing spices in baskets. I don't have a walk-in pantry either, so a lot of my food staples are on shelves in our basement, as well as serving dishes and baking pans that I don't use very often.

  4. Your before pictures are better than what I've got going on over here. I keep trying to organize but just never, ever stays that way. Good luck with everything.

  5. Great job! I'm working on one room at a time and taking as long as I need to finish it then I will move on. First up is the living room. I have a determination to downsize and organize that I've never had before!


  6. I've been doing one cabinet at a time, too...it feels good to get more space and clean out. Laughing about the black hole of storage containers...

  7. Hi Melanie, another inspirational blog . . . it feels so good when things are organized. Thanks to your inspiration I finally got my Christmas decorations down and put away, LOL. That is all but the outside lights across the fence. I'm waiting for the snow to melt and a nice sunny day. At least we don't have them turning on at night, LOL.
    Here's wishing you a lovely day . . . I agree it feels wonderful when the sunshine comes peeking in through the windows . . . Think Spring!
    Connie :)

  8. Organizing my kitchen drawers have been on my list too long and still not done! My cabinets I keep up with but my drawers need a rescue. Getting organized is a good time and makes one feel so good. Good job!

  9. Oi. I've noticed tons of my cabinets that need reorganizing. I'm procrastinating as long as possible :) I don't know why I procrastinate because everything looks so much better afterwards. I guess I better get on it!

  10. Since we're doing a freezer/pantry challenge this month, my food cupboards look pretty good. It does save so much time when things are organized. I wish the rest of my house looked the same...
    Warmer weather coming your way in a few days. We're supposed to have a high of 40 tomorrow. Will be a muddy mess, but I look forward to a nice day.

  11. I'm impressed. I'm working on eating all of the food I have in my freezer and pantry this month. Then I can just start over :)

  12. I do this often and then my kids undo it...it's about time to hit the junk drawer again! Your spaces look amazing!

  13. Well, this is inspiring. I need to give this a shot. You have gotten a lot done and that must make you feel great. WOW....you get cold weather. Happy New Year.

  14. Nice job. :) One of my goals for this month is to organize all my food storage areas. I organized my pantry the other day but I still need to do the baking cabinet and freezers. It hasn't been that long since I did the spice cabinet.

  15. What a good feeling that is! You accomplished so much, and yes I love Apartment Therapy. I'm afraid all those suggestions will be put on hold until I finish getting our business tax stuff ready for our accountant, but Christmas decor is all packed away--at least half of it packed up to give away--so that's a start. 15 degree wind chill? And I thought we were cold here today!

  16. What a fun post! I love to organize! :)

  17. Everything looks so nicely organized in your kitchen, Melanie. I have pretty limited storage space in my kitchen so I'm always thinking about ways to do it better. Actually, I noticed your blue bins in the utensil drawer and I wanted to say that I have the same set of three (mine are white) and they have changed my life! I have them in my utensil drawer too. That drawer used to be like a rat's nest but the bins made a huge difference. Glad to see you like them too. :)

  18. You've been quite the busy little bee, Melanie!! Thanks for the tip on the January Cure - I just signed up!

  19. Hi Melanie-
    What a treat to find your blog.
    We have matching 'before' drawers!!
    You have inspired me!

    Have a great day,
    White Spray Paint

  20. HI Melanie...
    Thought it was time I came for a visit!
    Funny thing...I have been doing the same thing!
    Not in the kitchen, but in a lot of other rooms...
    Have 5 more boxes to donate tomorrow!
    Hope you visit me!
    Linda :o)

  21. You have been busy! Everything looks so organized. It's time for me to start cleaning.


  22. Wow, you've certainly been busy. I love to organize and I've been on a binge for over a week. A guess a kitchen renovation will force you to get organized. Stay warm.

  23. I did many of these kitchen projects last summer, and it still pleases me to open the drawers and see them looking so lovely and organized! It was surprising to see how many extras I actually had hiding in there.

  24. You've been a busy girl! I have very little drawer space in my kitchen, so my biggest space saver is a utensil holder on my counter next to the stove, too. Good luck with the storage container cabinet- I can't open mine without an avalanche!

    Keep warm and have a wonderful weekend!

  25. Hi Melanie,

    Kudos to you for accomplishing your task! Everything looks great, very streamlined, and I love your herb/spice categories as I am not fond of basil mixing with cinnamon, for example! Great job!


  26. Hi Melanie :)

    I'm in an organizing mood too, so that site you recommended will come in handy for the rest of my home :) Your cabinets look great!

    Stay warm, my friend :)

    hugs to you,

  27. Your house is so cute! I just saw you featured me on your blogger list and it made me so happy! Your mom and I (mountainmama) have a very similar country style to your homes :)


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