Organizing…Step One

I’ve known for a long time that the only way to really tame the craziness that is my mind is for my living/work space to be organized. Yes, I was that girl who cleaned my room before I wrote a paper. There you have it, roommates driven crazy by my need for cleanliness and order, it’s the only the key to my sanity.

So…for two reasons I overhauled the 2 cabinets we have for food.

1. Sanity’s sake. I want to enjoy cooking and baking again.

2. We are moving in 8 months and I want potential buyers to look at our cabinets and say, “yes, yes, we can live in a house with only 4 upper cabinets. They’ve done it, so can we.”  Then the wife will say to the husband, “I NEEEED this house.”  Or whatever.

First let’s look at the before….

Before-Baking Side

Before-cooking side

As you can tell, I don’t have much to work with and I wasn’t doing a good job with what I had. But, it came to me like an epiphany as I ate my cereal the other morning…I had 4 little bins that I had been using to store a bunch of toiletries that we never used. I took those 4-5yr old toiletries (we’re talking old hair gel, sunscreen, hotel shampoo and conditioner, hand sanitizer from 2001) and threw them away a  few months back and my little bins were just collecting dust. So, I got them out, popped them in the dishwasher, and started working. 

I divided my stuff into three main sections.

1. The cookie making and most used baking essentials bin: baking soda, choc. chips, extra sugar, salt, and vanilla.

Most used baking goods

2. The specialty baking essentials: melting chocolate, baker’s chocolate, caro syrup, and vinegar.

Specialty Cooking goods

3. The cooking essentials bin: cooking spray, garlic, Cajun seasoning, olive oil, pepper, sea salt, etc.

Most used cooking goods

Oh, by the way, in doing this I made 4 Target trash bags of throw away stuff, all expired food that had been chillin’ in my cabinets for years. The oldest expiration date was 2004, yes it was. So we were down to all the bare essentials and I was feeling good. This is what the baking side of my cabinet ended up looking like.

Baking side

On the bottom shelf I put ALL the stuff I need to make my favorites with: cookies, pies, and pancakes. On the second shelf I put the specialty stuff and a bin for spices: cinnamon, all spice, etc. On the third shelf I put stuff that Matt (all 6 feet and 2 inches of him) cooks with and I never do: corn meal, grits, those little onions that top green bean casserole, and Lipton tea bags (since we learned very early on that the sweet tea I’d been making for a decade was not dark enough for him).

Then I tackled the cooking side and the mess that was my spices all at the same time. This is what they looked like:

Where the spices used to live

Yes, yes, tacky I know. I’d been thinking of buying one of those fancy spice racks for the counter, but once I thinned out my spices from the last 10 years (finding more expired stuff) and separated the baking spices from the cooking ones, I found that I had plenty of room on my little spice spinner (lazy Susan-whatever) and room in my cabinet. Yea! Money saved is always a plus.

This is what my cooking cabinet looks like now:

Cooking side

On the bottom shelf (and using the thing I used to use for spices) I put canned goods. On the second shelf I put herbs and spices and the cooking essentials bin. On the third shelf I put cereals, pastas, crackers, and chips.

And now I have two beautiful and easily organized cabinets and one clear countertop. Next up: the dishes cabinets!

Stay tuned!


2 thoughts on “Organizing…Step One

  1. Renea says:

    This gives me hope & inspiration! How much time did you spend on your kitchen cabinet organization? Looking good–Liking the pictures–can’t wait to see results of the next project. R

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