A few posts back I talked about organizing the kitchen and I highlighted some of the items I found that I thought would greatly aid in keeping my kitchen not only clean but arranged neatly.
With the kitchen practically finished, I have successfully organized most of the cupboards in one way or another. I found though, when I actually went to purchase all the items some of them the cost really outweighed the benefit. As I have said before, I am a cheap person and just thought there had be another way then spending lots of money on storage containers. I did purchase some of the items on my previous list, because I could not find substitutes that I liked. However with a little creativity I was able to use some everyday items as storage containers. This not only helped in the organization but it also helped the wallet.
I will first start out with our spice cabinet. My husband and I love to cook, so we have about a million spices. I purchased this little “stadium seating” shelf organizers from the Container Store for $4.99 each and they work great for viewing all the names on the labeled spice jars.
I have found that if you buy spices in the bags from the foreign food section you tend to get a whole lot more spice for a lot less of a price (that should be their tag-line!) We had about 15 bags of spices. Before they were all thrown into the drawer below and you would have to dig through it to find the one you needed. Buying little jars for all of them seemed like way too much work (and money), so searching around the house I found these jars that we have been saving for my hubby to organize his random nails/screws in the garage. We buy this local salsa and they sell it in these pretty nice canning jars. I stole a few of the large and small jars from him, slapped on a homemade label, and filled them with our most frequent used of the bagged spices. Genius!
In the drawer below, we have more spices! I know just crazy! The original spice rack we had came with these white jars. I HATE things on my counters, so I threw the rack away and just kept the jars. These jars were just a little too tight to fit standing up in the cupboard, but I purchase this slanted organizer and you can now see all the labels. As for the black jars, they were the perfect height to see all the labels as you open the drawer.
Also, who could forget this cute little rack I talked about a few blogs back. It’s great for hanging aprons, pot holders, and dish towels on and just so handy being within a couple feet from the stove and cook-top.
In the kitchen we have this desk that is built into the corner. Before it stood as a dumping ground for all types of junk. You name it, it was there: 20 rolls of 20 different kinds of tape, post it notes my hubby received as freebies at work, a million writing tools, and lots of coins. I had these two shoebox like containers that I used to hide all the roles of tape and post it notes in. Now when we need more tape, we can just look there for the next roll. I am sure we have a lifetime supply. All the writing utensils were put in this container I had used at one point in a bathroom somewhere. It was just sitting empty. The coins were placed in the old time money bag (the orange bag) and I know the bag doesn’t look the best, but it’s sturdy and will hold a ton of change. The stationary set serves as our fast grab section. I fill it with post-it pads, scratch paper, one roll of tape, pens, scissors, and paperclips. It’s easy to refill and quick access without digging through the boxes, not to mention a totally cute pattern!
Ahhh the big purchase. How I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this thing! I never knew I could love a trash can so much, but this little slider has made our life so simple! The unit features a trash and recycling pullouts cans that fit great in the cupboard under the cook-top. This was so expensive though! It was a total of $95.85 after shipping (shipping was $25.90 YIKES!) It has relieved us from remembering to put the garbage can back under the cupboard and the handy recycling bin has been very nice too!
The ugly organization: I was going to buy this fancy, dancy pullout slide for the items under the sink but I just decided not to yet. Who knows I might change my mind. I call this the ugly organization, because it just doesn’t look nice but it serves its function.
I purchased some cheap 3M removable hooks from Target and placed them on the inside of the door. It’s nice to have a place for the towels to hang dry out of view. Also, while at Target, I found this paper towel dispenser for about $4. It too has that removable adhesive on it. I stuck it to the bottom of our sink and it has stuck there quite nice. I like the paper towel holder, my husband hates it. He keeps pulling off too many at a time and gets mad at it. This might have to go in the future. The other nice little addition that we have is this small compost bucket from World Market. It was just $14.99 and saves us from having to walk out to the garden with our veggie scraps. I am not kidding when I say that there is no smell that comes out of it. It has this charcoal filter in the top and holds it all in. I have not dumped the bucket in….wait for it….about 4 weeks! It’s totally nasty on the inside, but I figure that it will just compost the more.
Of course, I wrote a whole blog (see blog here) on this pot rack already. We really wanted to have a normal pan rack displayed in our kitchen, but the problem was the only spot available would be above the sink and that would block the view of our backyard. We installed the pot rack just left to the cook-top and we are just so darn proud of our little pot rack.
In the drawers, I purchased these put together drawer organizers from Target. They server their purpose to group like things into each little section.
And the big one…the pantry. I do not have the luxury of a walk in pantry. I would love to have one, but the place it would have gone the previous owners decided to put another half bath there. (We have two half baths on the main floor with really no reason to have two.) They were not big on cooking I guess. So we are stuck with this really large pantry in the kitchen.
I know, it is full to the brim! I really do have a food hoarding problem. Well, anyway I will break down the organization. Starting at the top. I have this space above the cupboards that serves no purpose. I would much rather have my cupboards go to the ceiling. I have worked with a local wine store here in town and they were kind enough to give me a couple wine crates. I think they look just super cute above the pantry. I use them to hold random items that we need in the kitchen, but I just don’t use a lot.
Below that cupboard we have the “dead space” area. I called it dead space because all it stored before were items that we never used! I purchase this large expand-shelf from the Container Store for $14.99 and I use it for my large, odd shaped items that won’t fit in the built in can holders on the doors. Behind the shelf I have hidden more infrequently used kitchen items.
On the other side, in the “dead space” area I purchased this Gravity-Feed Can Rack from Amazon.com ($39.79) and there is a reason why it four and half stars out of five. It is awesome! This guy was pretty tough to assemble (which I think would be why it’s not a five stars) but it is so heavy duty! There are always certain canned foods that I like to keep in hand at all time and I use this rack to hold them all. They just roll forward when I grab an item out of it. Also, this organizer saves the space in the built-ins on the doors for the other canned food items that I only keep one or two on hand.
In the rest of the pantry I just used some storage containers and baskets (most of which I had) to keep the place a little more arranged. I tried to label the containers as needed but some of them were see-thru so it was not necessary. The baskets I just filled with random items that matched the shelf contents. For example, on the baking shelf (flour, sugar, baking powder) I filled the basket with chocolate chips, sprinkles, and baking nuts.
Well, that’s it for organizing my kitchen. It does not look the prettiest in some places, but it serves its function well and that is really all that matters. I wanted to have the ability to keep the place put together and clean. All of these little additions have really made it easier for me to accomplish that goal.