Saturday Project

I thought I’d share a little weekend project that I completed a few months ago…I took before & after pics with the intent to write it up right away, but then life got in the way. Enjoy!

This past Saturday morning, I was sitting at my kitchen island drinking coffee, when a sudden stroke of inspiration hit me.

A little backstory: when we moved in to our house, the first thing I did was unpack the kitchen. My life basically revolves around cooking and eating, so getting all of my dishes and cooking equipment out and organized was essential to preserve my sanity. That said, I was in such a hurry to get everything to a “livable” state that I just kind of threw everything into random cabinets and vowed to re-arrange once I had lived with my kitchen for a while and got a feel of where things should live.

Fast-forward to four years later, and everything was still in the same place I tossed it the night we moved in, for the most part. Our kitchen is relatively roomy, but there are a few pretty distinct challenges, making it a little difficult to re-arrange things: One of our cabinets (a single door, so I guess it’s essentially half a cabinet) doesn’t open all the way because the door is blocked by the built-in microwave. Another set of cabinets is incredibly difficult to access because it’s blocked on one side by the refrigerator, and the front is blocked by the breakfast bar, making the higher shelves almost impossible to reach without climbing on to the island. And speaking of the island, there’s only storage on one side (and a single cabinet on the other side), making it less effective for storage.

A few things did end up working out – our coffee machine (now machines) have their own little corner between the sink and the fridge with canisters for coffee, tea, and now Nespresso pods, and I keep the coffee mugs and extra “hot beverage” gear (extra tea bags, honey, sweetener, etc) in the cabinet directly above. Our tupperware type stuff and extra novelty bar wear (think: big pink plastic martini glasses, extra cocktail shakers, souvenir daiquiri glasses, etc.) are (very messily) stored in the hard to access cabinet to the far side of the room by the microwave – since that cabinet is pretty difficult to access and doesn’t open all the way, not much else can really go there. Oh, and it also has a built-in lazy susan for some reason (which is great for storing spices – there’s another one in the cabinet I ACTUALLY store my spices in, but it was a weird choice for this particular cabinet). Our snacks go in the cabinet blocked by the fridge and island – it works because snacks tend to be things in bags and boxes I can kinda toss into the cabinet without fear of breaking or the need to stack neatly.

What wasn’t working was where I was keeping our everyday dishes. I previously had them stored in the cabinet above the coffee station, along with the mugs and coffee gear, so there was essentially only half of a cabinet dedicated to dishes/glassware. It was okay when we moved in, because we only had one set of dishes and one smallish set of glasses, but as we kept adding to our collection of dishes/glassware (pasta bowls, salad plates, champagne flutes, etc.), things started getting cramped, and it was becoming difficult to access some things – for example, our pasta bowls were buried under our cereal bowls, and were blocked by the center post of the cabinet. So, every time I’d need to grab a pasta bowl, I’d need to reach behind the post, lift up the stack of cereal bowls, and wrestle the pasta bowl out. It wasn’t ideal, and we were in desperate need of more room for glassware. Meanwhile, our “dry foods” (canned goods, pasta, etc.) were stored in the center cabinet along the longer side of the wall. The cabinet next to that holds my baking gear, and while it may seem a bit excessive, I really do need an entire cabinet to hold my ludicrous collection of (multiple types of) flour, sugar, cocoa powder, sprinkles, etc. etc. etc.

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Previous dish setup – note the big post blocking half of the dishes.

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Previous “dry foods” setup…scary, I know.

So, I decided to swap the “dry foods” and the dishes/glassware. The cabinet where the dry foods were being stored is roomier (there’s no center post blocking access), and I decided I’d be able to pare down the crazy amount of non-perishables that were currently very much filling that cabinet to the point where it would fit in the cabinet above the coffee station along with the mugs and coffee gear.

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Purge in progress…YIKES. (Excuse the fingerprints on the dishwasher #KeepingItReal)

After discarding about 5 half-empty peanut butter jars (you guys, I had SO MUCH peanut butter. To be fair, I still have a LOT of nut butters, but most of them are the natural kind that need to be refrigerated), a bunch of cans that probably expired in 2011 (which, I might add, was before we even moved into this house), some half-used dry pasta, and probably 3 boxes of Stove Top stuffing I’ll never ever cook, I managed to fit everything into its new home (and BOY was I proud)! The coffee/dry foods cabinet does leave a bit to be desired in the way of organization, but it just is what it was at this point – maybe I’ll look into under-cabinet mounting for some of the mugs at some point. And the new dishes/glassware cabinet is a thing of beauty – everything is organized, visible, and easy to access.

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Ahhh.

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Not the greatest, but an improvement nonetheless.

Having lived with this setup for a few months now, there are a couple of tweaks that need to be made (mostly requested by Jeff – for instance, he asked if we can move his collection of plastic cups to the other side of the cupboard, so that the door he’d be opening wouldn’t be the one with the extra piece on the inside, requiring both doors to be opened), but I’m SO much happier with the way things are now. This project also inspired me to clean out the below-island storage (which contains a rolling shelf containing most of my baking gear and some small appliances), and it’s been a breath of fresh air to have everything newly organized and easy to access. Next up: replacing the hardware on the drawers and cabinets!

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