I have this wacky narrow cabinet in my kitchen? It is almost useless. When I first attempted to use it as a pantry the front held two cans side by side and to reach anything else I had to empty out the contents of the cabinet to find it.
Who designed this and thought it would be usable at all?
Thankfully, the rest of the kitchen is functional. My food prep station is on the counter just to right of the stove, where the slow cooker is in the picture. When I snapped this picture I had just started emptying the cabinet to the left of the microwave. You can see the random plates and bowls on the counter. Half emptied cabinets mean it’s time for reorganizing!
The problem is that my main kitchen work space is surrounded by plates and not the food I actually prep.
All of my pantry items were being stored in the narrow cabinet that now holds my coffee supplies.
My husband even tried to add this sliding rack to access the items in the back. It worked well to access the hidden food, but it was still too far away from my prep area.
I decided the only option was to pare down the multiple cabinets full of plates and cups. I had two larger cabinets designated for cups and dishes, as well as two other small cabinets for random plates and bowls.
The first step was to combine all of my dishes into one cabinet. I put the most used dishes, small bowls and plates for the girls, on the lowest shelf.
I moved the everyday drinking cups to the other side of the microwave in a slimmer cabinet. This forced me to pare down some of our cups. I mean, how many cups do you really need?
I eventually pared it down even more in a previous 10 minute Tuesday (a few cups were in the dishwasher).
I stored extra dishes that I might need if company comes in the large hutch in our dining room. They are still easily accessible, but not cluttering up the cabinets I use everyday. I donated the rest of the dishes that weren’t used much to goodwill.
With the dishes organized, and the 2 larger cabinets now empty, it was time to organize my pantry items.
My goal was to have the food items I use, stored in the area where I use them.
Once the cabinets were clear, the next step was to get everything out on the counter and sort items into categories. Call me crazy, but I loved this step and I love this picture even more. That action of getting everything cleared out, and knowing exactly what you have, is an organizer’s dream.
Once I fit everything into loose categories I was able to see how much space I would need and how I should divide up my newly cleared six shelf pantry. The shelves are divided into pasta, baking supplies, canned goods/grains, oil & vinegar (sauces), snacks, and coffee & tea.
The new pantry keeps everything within arms reach including snacks.
On a side note, my snacks are on the lowest shelf instead of up and out of the way as the health conscious might recommend. It’s true, if we bring a box of cookies into our home, it will be gone in a day! No matter where I put that bag of cookies, I will sniff it out like a dog in heat!
I have self control in the grocery store but not at home, which is why I don’t bring those treats home in the first place. Our snacks are as healthy as possible and include: pretzels, popcorn, nuts, raisins, and peanut butter. I get into our snacks often so the perfect home for them is on the lowest shelf.
As much as I was itching to label my categories, I waited a few weeks before I broke out the label maker to see if I wanted to rearrange items. I ended up tweaking the coffee and tea (as well as the mugs) and moved them closer to the coffee maker to create its own little coffee station. I also realized I needed more space for my grains and bulk items.
After I got the pantry working for me, I labeled each shelf. I know I am label crazy, but I love how labels prod you to stay organized.
Whenever I am tempted to throw something back in the cabinet willy nilly, I see that little label staring back and whispering, “Are you sure you want to put it back there?” (Yes, my labels speak to me!)
With the new pantry right above my kitchen work station I have become more efficient in the kitchen. A bonus is not having to search through that tiny narrow cabinet where I used to store my food items!
Does anyone else have crazy cabinets or work spaces in their kitchen? Any other rearranging you’ve done to make your home work just right for you?