I have been busy lately! But not all with cake or baked goods. I have been reorganizing my kitchen. I emptied all of my cabinets and shifted everything around to make my kitchen more usable and comfortable for me. After all, I spend A LOT of time there and it is my favorite room of the house. It's where all the magic happens!
And that is why I'm sharing some of it here. I figure you all like to bake (or at least like to read about baking) and so maybe some of the tips and tricks I tried will help you too!
This was a big job. While I had cabinets and drawers empty, I also completely cleaned them. It is so nice to have that done!
My kitchen has a lot of cabinet space, but half of the space in them is unusable for me because I am so short. I can only reach to the second shelf in the upper cabinets without a stool. So, I want the things I need most on the first two shelves so that I don't have to get out the step stool for every little thing. I also wanted to avoid running all over my kitchen and around my island, which is right in the center, for every project. So, I created "stations" in my kitchen. For example, I have a baking station. It is basically the island, which has three small drawers and two cabinets. I put all of my baking ingredients in the larger of the two cabinets, along with a set of mixing bowls and liquid measuring cups. In the remaining cabinet, I have baking pans - my most-used cake pans, cooking sheets, and cooling racks. The drawers contain baking utensils like measuring cups and spoons, some spatulas, a rolling pin, silpat mat and my candy thermometer. In another is my plastic wrap, parchment paper, foil, and wax paper. Now when I bake, I can reach everything I need from one spot! It's perfect!
I also have a cooking station with my oils, spices, canned goods and other most-often-used pantry ingredients, and my pots and pans. I have another set of mixing bowls here, along with the utensils that I use most often for cooking. This is all right by the stove. I have noticed already how this type of organization will make my life in the kitchen easier.
So, here are some projects that I tackled when doing all of this. To create more easily accessible space for myself, I hung some smaller things on the insides of the cabinet doors. My spices used to be all jumbled together in a big drawer. Now they hang in little plastic bins on the inside of the cabinet that contains my cooking oils.
The spices themselves are in little clear plastic containers that I found on clearance at Target a year or so ago. When I get new spices, I decant them into these little containers and store any extra in its original jar on the highest shelf in that same cabinet. The bins that you see hanging on the door are actually silverware dividers that I found for $3.99 each at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I attached them to the door using Command strips. Genius, right? Yes, thank you! :) Because the spices in their new containers are so light, the strips hold them up beautifully and I don't have to worry about trying to screw anything into the thin wood of the cabinet door. I labelled each jar with my low-tech labeling system. That would be a pen and some tape. I should have printed off fancy labels on fancy clear paper, but that seemed like too much trouble. I know. Martha would be so disappointed in me!
I also have my extracts in little baskets secured to a door in my baking area with Command hooks.
I needed a deeper basket for these taller items, so the plastic silverware dividers would not work. I found these baskets with the bathroom items at Meijer. It was $4.00 and came with suction cups attached. I simply pulled off the suction cups and used the little holes for my hooks. Storing my extracts this way also makes them all easier to see, so I remember what I've got!
I used to store my main baking/cooking utensils like whisks, spatulas and wooden spoons in a large jar next to my stove. I had the idea to hang them to save some counter space and make them look much cooler. I bought an inexpensive towel bar at Target and some shower curtain hooks. I hung the towel bar on the bottom of one of the upper cabinets by the stove. Each hook has one or more items hanging on it.
I really love how this project turned out! My fab Mother-in-Law gave me her whisk collection and now I have a great place to display it!
Another counter-space-saving project has to do with fruit. We try to always have lots of apples, bananas and other fruit in the house, which I love. What I did not love was having a big fruit bowl in my way on my counter all the time. I found an oval bread basket at Target and decided to hang it on the wall. It worked! I originally had it hanging with Command hooks, but the full basket was a little too much for the little things. So, I went and got a couple of thin bathroom robe/towel hooks and used those instead. They are attached with drywall anchors, so this basket isn't going anywhere!
Here are some pics of a couple of other things I did:
Our most-used mugs are now hanging with, you guessed it, Command hooks! They are hanging right above the coffee maker on the bottom of the upper cabinet. Very convenient!
Our island has an overhang, but there isn't enough room in that spot for stools or anything, so it has been pretty useless space. I want to eventually build shelves custom for that space, but to try out the idea, I bought these little rolling bathroom cabinets at Walmart ($20 each). In these cabinets, I have the kids' snacks and other snacks, like the bars my husband takes to work with him everyday. I found the red chevron bins at Target. They hold the kids' cups so they can now get their own drinks of water when they are thirsty. Here's to some independence for those kiddos! I love it!
The "curtains" are tea towels I found at Target (can you tell red is my accent color?). I bought two small tension rods, "hemmed" the ends of the towels with no-sew, no-iron hemming tape and hung them on the bars. Don't they look great?
I have so many more projects to share with you! But it will have to wait until another time. What's that they say? Leave them wanting more. I'm sure you all (well, the four of you who actually read my blog anyway!) are so fascinated by all of this that you can't wait for more! :) I have more cake projects to share, too. So stay tuned!