Gaining Kitchen Storage

August 24, 2015

Yesterday I spent the day doing something I've been planning to do for months now. I pulled (most) everything out of the kitchen drawers and and cabinets and went through ALL of it. Major purge people. It felt great! Well, when it looked like this, not as great:
It usually gets worse before it gets better. :)

There were areas I hadn't touched for years and it was time to reassess everything. I got rid of a lot and it felt great. 

I pulled everything out from the drawers: 
In my defense, that was the worst drawer by far.

And took a good hard look at what we used. I feel like a kitchen purge is much like one in your closet. In my closet I stand there and say to myself "Have I worn it in a year? In six months? Do I love it?" with every piece. Same goes with the kitchen. Have I used it in the past six months? If I use it once a year at the holidays do I really love it enough to keep it all year round? 

It helps. Like I said, it's been awhile since I've gone through every drawer like this so I found there was quite a bit we didn't use. LOTS of glasses -- we have a lot we never use like martini and margarita glasses. We never sit around and drink martinis. I know you're shocked by that. When we do it's when we have people over and we're most likely drinking out of plastic cups. Fancy. 

So I got rid of them. I looked at the multiples of things too -- like three ice picker uppers and numerous wine and bottle openers: 
I kept one for upstairs and one for the basement each. That's it! 

That drawer I showed you above held a lot of our outdoor serving ware and I can't remember the last time we hosted a sit down meal outside. Again, when we do it's a big group and we're eating off paper. So those went as well. 

And it felt SO GOOD. 

Here's that same drawer after. There is empty space my friends: purging kitchen cabinets
It is a beautiful thing. 

I mentioned last week that I think I'll actually have some empty space in the uppers when I get the shelving up in the kitchen and it's true. Most of this will be on the shelves: 
green ikea dishes
What will I even put in there? I don't even know! Freaking awesome! 

I have gained some storage space in the kitchen over the course of the past year because of changes we've made. When we moved the back door and made this bay window area into a window seat: 
bay window seat
I gained a TON of storage space for big items: 
window seat storage
I shared my pantry organization a couple weeks ago: 
pantry with glass door
And because of smart use of space I'm able to use one shelf for small appliances we don't need as often. 

The spices I use most often were on the back of the stove before. I've always heard it's best they don't get warm, so I put them in the pantry: 
spice storage
The metal is a magnetic strip I have from IKEA (originally used on this project). I didn't even use the whole thing -- just the base. The containers are from Meijer and have strong magnets on the bottom. It's nice to get these out of the way but still within reach!

I shared one of my favorite uses of space last week: 
microwave in island
The newly extended island is jam packed with storage -- now the microwave sits in there, there's a large area below, we also have wine storage and two cabinets. Plus the little handle (also from IKEA) holds towels and other hanging items. 

You know that little shelf in the lower kitchen cabinets? I use it in our larger base cabinet but in the island I knocked one out: 
pan storage in cabinets
It was actually quite difficult to remove. I removed it before I installed the new countertop and I like that I can put taller items all the way back. 

This lid rack from IKEA is awesome too: 
lid holder ikea
Have you noticed a trend here yet? IKEA, you are an organizing beast. 

Someday I'd like to make or install those fancy pull out drawers in our other big base cabinet (I wish I would have had drawers put everywhere), but until then a super simple DIY shelf makes it easier to access larger serving dishes: 
I think I'm going to make another shelf too because I've added some more dishes over the years. Having them helps because I'm only pulling out a few things to get to something. Our other serving dishes are stored in the bookcases we built in the old dining room.

And finally, extending the upper cabinet over the fridge has given us much more usable space:
DIY built in fridge
Because now we can actually reach everything -- funny how that helps! But I also kept the old cabinet in the back and I put very rarely used items back in there. It's double the space we used to have.  

I'm still deciding on the best way to make this area work -- I didn't want to install vertical slots because I wouldn't be able to access the back, but I think I am going to do that at least on one side. That way I can still get to the back cabinet. 

Last week we took down four cabinets but only one was a full-sized one, so we didn't really lose that much storage. The others were smaller ones around the microwave and now now that I've purged and reorganized everything fits wonderfully! The storage I've added in the kitchen over the past eight months has definitely helped too. Form and function makes me so happy! 

Any kitchen organization tips you use and love? Feel free to share! Have you purged your kitchen lately? 

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  1. I've seen great organizing for the cabinet above the fridge...all your items laying against each other - if you put in curtain tension rods so they are snug at the bottom and top of the cabinet, and then each of the cutting boards or pans will have its own space between each of the rods. You may have to have 2 rods, one at the front of the cabinet and one at the back, then the items won't lay against each other. I know I've seen this trick on Pinterest.

  2. We renovated our tiny kitchen a couple years ago using Ikea cabinets and I went with all drawers on the bottom. Smartest thing this 5' tall woman ever did. I went through every single item in my kitchen because I had to empty it all out anyhow, and I got rid of at least 50% of what I had. Now that we are empty nesters I use the same two pots and wok all the time, anyhow. I have supplied half the young adults in my daughter's apt block with cooking supplies. :)

  3. Ana White has plans for those drawers and you are definitely more than capable. You've got mad skilz! I was also going to suggest the tension rods, this way if you don't like it, it's easily removable.

  4. Standardizing jars - I use 1/2 gal, quart and 1.5 pint wide mouth glass jars. I also bought the white plastic lids to use with the smaller jars and a Freshsaver handheld sealer to seal up the larger jars.. All the old plastic stuff went out the door.

    I like glass since I can put in the dishwasher, refrig, freezer. I tend to take stuff out of boxes and bags because of moths - once you are hit with an infestation and have to throw stuff away, then sealing it up makes sense.

    I also buy during sales and store accordingly. During the fall and winter, I like home baked bread, so during the holiday sales, I buy flour and put into jars according to the recipe (6.5 cups).

    I also have a friend with two college age girls, so some of my excess kitchen stuff is being boxed up for their first apartments.


  5. Everything about this post is so satisfying. I love organization! I really like the lid rack from IKEA!

  6. I am ashamed to say I just did one cabinet but I got two fairly big boxes of stuff that will be donated. I got rid of a LOT of mugs, so much so that I actually had room in the cabinet for some bowls. Of course someone we love just came back from vacation and brought us each a new mug. I quickly threw a towel over the boxes we are getting rid of. It does feel good to get rid of all those things. Now on to the rest of the cabinets!!!!

  7. This is quite the organization! You have really done a fantastic job. There's lots to be inspired by in here!

    - Kaitlyn |

  8. I can wait to purge my kitchen next week after the kids' rooms. Yours is beautiful ! Love the spice rack

  9. I purged a lot when I moved 9 months ago. It is always good to look through everything and decide what to keep and what to donate about once a year.

  10. Oh wow i love everything you did! good ideas!
    XO Ellen from Ask Away Blog

  11. Hey looks neat and tidy now. I love reorganizing stuff at home too. I find it therapeutic actually :)

  12. I love purging, it feels so good and like you accomplished something huge when your done. I love the pot lid rack THAT IS AWESOME! I would love one of those, lids are always the worst to organize or find!

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  13. I do this in my clothes closets all the time, but I've never thought about doing the same for the kitchen cabinets - that's a really great idea. I know there is a lot I could get rid of or organize a lot better. ... And I love love the way you organized your spices. That's an idea I'm definitely stealing.

  14. Always cathartic to have a good tidy up! If you're moving into a new home I'd always say take less - you don't want to clutter up your lovely new space with pointless things!

    Hattie -

  15. Isn't it fun cleaning things out. We have a cabinet above our refrigerator but it's set back a bit so we never even use it - if it's not easily accessable forget it. I like your window seat for large items - I could use one of those for all my pedastle cake stands.

  16. Great job Sarah! When we took down our upper cabinets, I was surprised at how inefficient we were using those spaces. Taking down those cabinets forced me to reorganize and made the space that I had leftover count.

  17. I really feel the need to come over for coffee and switch the labels right side up on your spice canisters :)

  18. This is awesome, and really inspiring. Purging is the best -- especially before the season of 'more.' I have a problem with serving pieces. I have so many but I hate to get rid of any of them! It's fun to collect, but where to put it all? :-)


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