With every organizing project, I always aim to increase the visibility and accessibility inside a storage space. In this Before & After, few simple changes have made my client’s time in the kitchen a much more enjoyable one.
The before photos actually don’t look too disorganized. However for a client who enjoys baking, reaching for her baking supplies stored in the green container (a great Lego Duplo box repurposed), was a big inconvenience. Getting the right bottle of vitamin from the bottom left shelf was difficult to do without knocking over the other bottles. And overall she felt her cabinets needed a clearer division for what each section holds.
BEFORE: Kitchen Cabinets
We started by emptying out the cabinets and doing our joy check. I tried out my zero-waste decluttering with the KonMari method this time. Any food items that are expired, gone bad, or you no longer enjoy the taste, are first thanked then properly recycled or added to the compost. (For example, expired can foods are opened and dumped into the compost bin and the can is rinsed out and recycled.) The importance in thanking the food that we dispose is to recognize the waste, and start to be more conscious when shopping for food items.
Simple Joy Tip:
When clearing out the kitchen, use your nose to determine if a food or ingredient sparks joy for you, does it smell fresh or inspire you to cook with it?
The biggest enemy in a messy kitchen cabinet is the plastic packaging the food comes in. The irregular shapes are difficult to stand on their own, so they often end up piling up. The various labels on the bags also create a lot of visual clutter, making it hard to find what you need.
The best way to store your dry food products is in airtight containers. It is worth investing in a set, especially for baking ingredients, so the food stays fresher longer. And it’s easier to scoop or pour what you need from a container than a bag, meaning you’ll have less mess to clean up.
I also like to repurpose glass pasta sauce or jam jars to store my food. If you always buy the same brand, just placing 2 next to each other makes them a set! You can soak the container in hot water until the label peels off easily and scrub any remaining glue with a kitchen scrubber.
AFTER: Kitchen Cabinets
Often you will find that you have all the containers you need already in your home. In this case, she had 2 extra pasta containers above her refrigerator just sitting empty. She had an empty box with lid from another closet that was perfect for smaller bottles and packages. By Placing similar shaped containers together to creates a more uniformed look, we add more joy to our cabinets.
Use a box and lid to store smaller bottles from the same category and place items by descending height from back to front for visibility and accessibility. In this example, the teas and drinks box now holds packs of hot chocolate, drink mixes, tea bags, and honey. The vitamins are stored in a box lid that easily slides out, nothing gets knocked over. Every person who access these can easily put back the item they use without messing up the organization.
The top shelf has 2 Tupperware containers that didn’t bring my client joy. They were the last of the set they came with, but niether quite fit their refrigerator shelves very well. We decided to placed her water filters in the blue lid one, and holiday cookie cutters in the green one. The colors were enough to help remind her what’s in them so we didn’t need a label. This is a good example of infusing joy into something by giving them a new purpose.
Although the client uses the pasta in the middle shelf more often than the flour and sugar, we were restricted by the irregular height of these old shelves. With this placement, she can still reach the pasta with a little extra care. On the plus side, she does enjoy the look of seeing the colors and textures inside the food containers, so she didn’t mind as much that the pasta is higher on the shelves.
Here’s a tip I love, creating a treasure chest of flavors! The box on the lower shelf now holds pasta sauce and a variety of packaged seasonings. This solution really comes in handy when you don’t know what to cook for dinner. Just look in the box and decide if it’s Italian pasta, Indian curry, or Mexican taco night!
Placing the Dutch oven, slow cooker, and salad bowl in a row on shelves that matches their height creates a nice visual of circular containers. The green box with the baking ingredients are now within reach. It holds the opened ingredients for baking that don’t have individual air-tight containers. The box lid next to it holds smaller baking supplies. this organizing system for your kitchen cabinet will work hard for you.
This makeover took about 2 hours to complete. Other than the plastic bags from the food packages which are not recyclable, the rest were disposed properly and responsibly. This process also made my client more aware of the types of packaging her food comes in, and plans to reduce the amount of plastic bags from her purchases.
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