Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

An Organized Kitchen

I'll admit it: I have a problem with organization and cleanliness.  Being pregnant has brought my OCD to a whole new level.  (OK, I wasn't too bad before, but now I feel the urge to get uber-organized before things become chaotic!)  I am fully aware that I will not be able to, nor will I really want to, keep my house immaculate once baby arrives.   However, if I can at least feel organized and prepared now, at least it gives me a sense of control for what's to come!

I also think an organized kitchen makes me even more motivated to cook and prepare healthy meals at home.  I can easily tell what I have on hand, and I enjoy having quick access to my appliances, cooking tools, and pantry items.  Not surprisingly, I found some gadgets I didn't even remember I owned, and now I'm excited to put them to good use.

This project started two weekends ago and took about 30 hours in total.  I reorganized, cleaned, and pored through literally every drawer, closet, and space in my entire house.  It was exhausting, painful, and set me back a few hundred bucks, but it was so worth it.  (Plus, I found some great stuff to sell, so I might come out on top in the end!)  This was a project that I had put off for a long time, but Baby McNamee's pending arrival (22 weeks away!) gave me just the motivation I needed.

Here's what I started with in my pantry:


So much space was taken up by spices, plus there were a lot of things in the pantry that I really didn't use.   I also hated all of the plastic bags and how chintzy they looked.

I stocked up on baskets and stainless steel storage canisters at Home Goods.  I checked out similar baskets at Target yesterday, and they were at least 2-3 times the price.  Places like Marshall's Home Goods, Ross, and TJ Maxx often have great deals on baskets, which tend to be unexpectedly expensive.

My bounty, all spread out:

I also bought door-mounted spice racks and a few other surprises at the Container Store, my new favorite place.  Finally, I bought some spring-loaded tension curtain rods at Bed Bath and Beyond to use in my appliance closet.

After clearing everything out of my pantry, deciding what I truly wanted to keep, and wiping down each shelf, it was time to start organizing.  I mounted the spice racks (2) on the back of the door and organized the spices by brand.

I'm pretty sure the spice rack was my favorite part of this entire project.  It makes life so much easier now that I can see every spice I own!  I even combined duplicates to make additional room.

Here are a few "after" shots of the new and improved pantry.  Top shelf pictured: butter and olive oil, baking products, rice cakes/bread crumbs/croutons, and chips/snacks/crackers.  Middle shelf pictured: more baking supplies, beans and canned goods in the middle, and oils, vinegars, sauces, and other cooking products in the far right.  Bottom shelf pictured: flour, sugar, brown sugar, brown rice, and dried beans.

The very top shelf houses dog treats and teeth cleaning products on the left and beverages (champagne, tea, soda water, bottled water) on the right.  The second shelf down has a pail of root veggies (onions, potatoes), little canisters of favorite products (cashews, peanuts, cocoa nibs, and dried fruit) in the middle, a vase full of Lara bars, and Cheerios for Greg to the right.


I also reorganized my kitchen gadgets with a new rubber-bottom drawer organizer.  My spatulas, larger spoons, and tongs hang out in an upright cylindrical canister on the counter.

I found an extra drawer that was almost empty and filled it with measuring spoons and cups, plus my trusty mallet (great for pounding meat and poultry).

Special scoopers, wine bottle openers, toppers, pour spouts, and bag clips.

While I was at it, I tackled the fridge.  Plastic drawers help keep smaller items organized.

It's amazing how many condiments you can accrue over time.  I tossed what I really don't need (and probably shouldn't have, given how long they had been in there) to make plenty of space for what I really do use regularly.

Post-purge, my freezer is strikingly empty.  I really only have some organic turkey burgers, berries, and frozen Ezekiel bread.  Oh, and some homemade raw fudge.  Gotta step up my game in the frozen department.

Not even my supplement cabinet was spared from a thorough cleaning:

Fortunately, all of my pots/pans, glassware, silverware, vases and plates/bowls were up to par and were saved from the crazy cleaning tornado that was, er, me.

I also tackled my "appliance closet," which used to be a mess of tons of kitchen items.  I cleared out what I didn't use often and stored them in the garage cabinets.  What's left is just what I use regularly.  Notice the platters on the first shelf up from the bottom?  They're standing on their sides, which saves space, because I installed some spring-loaded tension curtain rods as dividers.  They were cheap, easy, and didn't require any tools!


This shelf, from the Container Store, allowed me to store place mats, cloth napkins and napkin rings without the usual squishing.

In the top center basket I stored extra stand mixer and food processor attachments, plus the parts that create my mandolin.  Baskets make it easy to keep little items together in one (perfectly tidy) place.

Last weekend I finished the upstairs master cleanse.  Since guest room 2 is now nursery central, our other (only) guest room is home to my entertainment platters and other serving ware:

The other side of the guest closet became my "office" storage.  Notice my favorite organizing purchase of all time - the gift wrap caddy!

Check out the other side of this hang-able, yet stand alone caddy.  For $49 from the Container Store, it makes me excited - yes, excited - to gift wrap!

I used the same pantry principles to organize the linen closet:

I hope that organizing your home brings you as much satisfaction as my big projects have brought to me.  If you're going to do it, I recommend starting small, picking up some great tools, and getting creative with how you store and display your goods.

Now that I'm all cleaned out, I can't wait to use all of my appliances and gadgets that I can finally access so easily!  I even discovered a brand new, in-the-box Cuisinart double boiler, a wedding present I had no idea I owned.  Did someone say chocolate fondue?




  1. I LOVE it, Love the tension rod idea!
    that's it...I'm off the the container store over lunch today!

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