Before & After.jpg

I recently spent quite a bit of time helping reorganize and declutter for a kitchen project, and while it was an amazing experience, it also was SUPER challenging – mainly because the kitchen is pretty small and there really wasn’t much storage space available…

First off, the shelves in the pantry are quite odd. Deep, not very tall, and extended way past where the doors stopped – clearly designed by someone who doesn’t spend any time in a kitchen…

Awkward Pantry.jpg

A lot of the stuff in the space was also being stored in random places because there really wasn’t any other place to put it!

And on top of all of that, the homeowner also has a small son, so putting dangerous items in easy to reach places was also part of the challenge here.

So this wasn’t just about reorganizing, but trying to figure out – where do you put everything? What do you do with extra stuff?

There was no space for spices and cereal, so the homeowner had extra shelves built in to deal with the problem

Mid Section Design

So to figure this all out, I started off by taking out EVERYTHING. And I mean e v e r y t h i n g – even if it kind of made sense where it was. The sorting process then consisted of what to:

  • Keep
  • Throw Away (based mostly on expiry dates)
  • Give Away (not really used)
  • Set aside (mostly bulk items that took up too much space)

After sorting, I then started following my own “Kitchen Pantry Organizing Tips,” for the pantry (and also kinda for the rest of the kitchen), with a few additional principles.

In general, this is probably a good exercise for you to do every few months anyway. I mean, the sorting process is essentially just a reality check.

You’d be surprised at how many expired products are sitting in your kitchen. I totally understand – living here, you become a little bit of a hoarder, and really want to make sure you get enough cans of canned pumpkin since it disappears for months at a time (speaking from experience, clearly!). But if you haven’t used it, or don’t really plan on using it, you should probably give it away, especially if you don’t have the space. And if you give it to someone who might use it, at least you’re not wasting anything! 

Reorganized Pantry.jpg
The pantry after!

Everything else was reorganized and stored with easier access in mind, ie: spices near the stove, pots and pans over the stove, excess dishes/glassware above the sink in “non-priority shelves.”

Here are just some of the ideas used to make the most of the space in the kitchen!

Above the Stove
The books were moved out of a “priority” cupboard and used as decorative elements in the kitchen. Some pots and pans were moved to a cupboard below, and the most used saucepans and frying pans were moved into this shelf, with a lid holder (from IKEA).

Mid Section Design

Spices and Oils 1.jpg
Oils, sauces and condiments, used for cooking on a daily basis, were organized in a cupboard next to the stove. Excess items were put in the pantry in the oil, vinegars and syrups section. Some of the extra spices (not used on a daily basis) were hidden away in here instead of out on the extra shelf. Most of the items were put in bins or clear containers so that you could pull them out like drawers.
Spices used on a daily-ish basis were put into magnetic containers (IKEA) and stored on the fridge. I used chalkboard markers on the glass to label them all.

Mid Section Design

Before Cupboard.jpg

After Cupboard
Excess glasses and mugs were moved out of this cupboard. The tea and coffee that was previously out on the counter, was moved into the shelf (off the counters) so that it could be close to the kettle, but hidden away.
After glassware
Extra glassware and mugs were moved to a cupboard above the sink. I also added a small shelf (from IKEA) to help with stacking. This works out well since it’s all still in the kitchen and out of a child’s reach!

Mid Section Design

Before Lowers

After Lowers
While these are not the prettiest of cupboards when organized, they definitely are functional though. Most of the non-stick pans were stacked on top of each other with pan protectors in between – a very underrated and underutilized item for your kitchen (from Lakeland)! For the baking cupboard, all of the baking utensils were moved into a clear box, so that they could be pulled out like a drawer and easily stored. The bakeware was stored in a baking rack from Lakeland so that you could fit more in and not have it slipping and sliding around. Any extra decorative baking tools were stored in a bin as well for easy drawer-like access.

Extra Tips based on this project:

  • Make sure you have a designated space for everything. It’s hard to put away stuff if you don’t know where it’s going…. 🙂
  • If your shelves aren’t high enough, use bins as “drawers”
  • If you can’t resist buying in bulk, rather than taking up shelf space, create a separate shelf or section for your bulk items
  • Only store dishware that you use on a daily basis in “priority cupboards.” The others can be stored in cupboards or shelves that aren’t used very often, or in a store room until needed.
  • Try to move things off your counter – not always realistic or practical – but I promise it’ll make you feel like your kitchen is a lot cleaner and organized when you can hide away items in a designated spot.

Hope this helps you come up with ideas to organize your kitchen! 🙂