After living in our house for nearly a year, I finally got myself in gear and tackled our kitchen “situation”. When you first move into a home, sometimes you find yourself just tossing things into cabinets, for the sake of getting it off the counter and out of sight. And then, when things are slowly unpacked and life goes back into routine, you sort through the cabinets and put things away where they actually function. Well, not us.
Nope, since last March I’ve been living in an unorganized kitchen of chaos. It was a good time, but we were more than ready to say goodbye to the 2012 kitchen and hello to fully functioning (and prettier!) kitchen in 2013. And really, who doesn’t get the organization itch at the start of a new year?
Today we’ll cover the kitchen drawers, and follow up with the cabinets and pantry later in the week. Now, let’s look back at this mess.
Don’t judge me.
First up, our “junk drawer” on the left. I completely avoid this space at all costs. You’d literally have to commit a minimum of 10 minutes to find anything in there. And on the right – ziplocs, aluminum foil, cling wrap, random sponges (?), etc. Not so bad, but we rarely use any of these so we figured they’d be better suited in the pantry.
I always find that the most effective way for me to go about organizing is to start with a clean slate. So, I started by emptying out all the drawers. It was a disaster, but it almost always gets worse before it can get better. Try to picture half the counters filled to the brim with the contents of the drawers and the kitchen island counter drowning in a sea of new products for organizing. I may have gone overboard. Although, for the record, every last product was used.
Once the drawers were good and empty, I began the lining process. The insides of our Ikea drawers are super easy to wipe down and clean, so the liners I made were really more aesthetically driven. I ended up using a combination of peel and stick laminate and some leftover fabric from our kitchen window shade. I had attempted to use wrapping paper instead of fabric, but applying the laminate to it was just way too tedious. I wasn’t about to have a mental breakdown over some kitchen drawers. So, while the fabric wasn’t my first choice, I’m SO glad I landed on it. It’s gorgeous. And worst case scenario, if you have a major spill, the contact paper is adjustable. Just remove it temporarily, throw the fabric in the wash, and reapply it when clean.
We kept the left drawer a “junk” drawer, but did some serious purging. For example, do the cat’s flea treatments really belong in the kitchen? Um, no. And after moving everything in the right drawer to the pantry, we opted to start a “tool” drawer. We find ourselves dipping into our tool collection on a daily basis, so it just made sense to keep a few smaller tools in a central location. Aka- Jess doesn’t want to put her shoes on to go into the garage for a screwdriver five times a week. #firstworldproblems
Between the sink and the stove we keep extra sponges, dish towels, and an embarrassing mess of kitchen utensils.
We replaced our plastic set of utensils (the first set we ever bought over six years ago) with a new collection of bamboo utensils, scored on One Kings Lane.
At the far right end of the kitchen, beside the stove, we have the weirdest collection of nonsense. A hoard of cooking sprays, oven mitts that needed replacement two years ago, extra mixer parts, and.. a stamp collection. It gets crazy up in here.
I pared down the cooking spray, splurged on some new silicone over mitts, and moved our knives from the countertop to a knife tray in the drawer. Oh, and the stamps found a new home with the other art supplies. Genius.
Our silverware drawer, in the center of the island, mostly just got a facelift and few extra pieces.
Prior to organizing the kitchen, the two drawers below this one actually housed all of the girls’ dinnerware – kid-safe bowls, plates, bottles, sippy cups, spoons/ forks for Zoey, and baby spoons for Lizzy. But with the new makeover, came a new purpose for those drawers (more on that in a sec), so their things found new homes.
The two aforementioned drawers below the silverware.
We previously had a trash can on the side of the island, across from the refrigerator, but it was a nuisance. Which, considering that it was placed in the middle of a walkway, could have been guessed. So, after taking some inspiration from Lindsay, we whipped up a new (and hidden) place for it.
We simply removed the bottom of the top drawer.
And secured the two drawers to one another using the front doors. Any kind of scrap wood will do the job, but we had a leftover piece of filler wood from the cabinet toe-kick. Just be careful to use screws that are the appropriate length, so they don’t poke through the front of the cabinet door.
The can itself fits perfectly sideways. The lip of the handles sits snugly on top the drawer sides, which keeps it from sliding around when opening and closing the drawer.
There is still quite a bit of unused space behind the can. We’re playing around with the idea of adding a small shelf at the top to hold extra garbage bags. For now, they’re just sitting on the lower shelf.
We’re about 75% finished with project “organize the kitchen”. Check back later this week to see how we’ve organized the cabinets and our progress made in the pantry!