How to Organize a Small Kitchen

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

Who loves organizing? Or maybe a better question, who loves an organized space?

I‘ve promised y’all for awhile that I would open up more of our cabinets and drawers to show you inside. So today I’ll be sharing Before & Afters of four areas in my kitchen that weren’t working for us along with the solutions we came up to make them work better, featuring some items we got from the Bed Bath & Beyond .ORG line.

In a small (ish) kitchen (especially if you don’t have a walk in pantry or freestanding island for additional storage!) every square inch of drawer and cabinet space counts. Organization not only increases the functional space, but I think it enhances the enjoyment of daily tasks, too.

Y’all know I love my coffee stations. My mug tree on the counter holds all of our coffee cups so that system was working well for saving space in drawers. But my other coffee supplies were not well-organized at all. Somehow I ended up with baking and coffee supplies in one drawer, with a bunch of other random stuff thrown in. Gah.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

In my book, Simple Organizing, I suggest a kitchen be organized into zones for efficiency. While there are times particularly in a small kitchen where you might have to mix zones, there was really no reason for me to have baking and coffee supplies combined in one drawer. :) Yet, true confessions…I did.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

Ackkkk! This drawer was overflowing. It was so stuffed that some of the coffee supplies that should have been in the drawer had to stay on the counter and yet, some random baking supplies stayed.

Why, though?

So a couple of days ago I finally took everything out, including the bags of our Christmas cookie cutters that took up one large corner of the drawer. :) Those can definitely be stored somewhere else besides the drawer I open on a daily basis!

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

Once we took everything out, we only put back in the coffee and tea supplies. The .ORG organizers from Bed Bath & Beyond were so helpful in making better use of several drawers and cabinets. By grouping items together in the new bins, now we clearly know where to look and can see what is in the drawer the minute we open it. No more digging around or wondering where things are!

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

You guys, now opening my organized coffee drawer feels like the heavens open up and angels start singing. It literally took just minutes to reorganize the drawer, but now it makes me happy every single time I open it. It’s the little things.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

We put our loose leaf tea tins together in an .ORG basket. The .ORG baskets are so perfect for organizing all the things. Our tea bags and little accessories are organized in a cool wood box with a lid (see the lid opening in the photo, above?!). The box is so attractive it can bet set up on the counter if we want to use it to serve teas, too.

Now that our supplies are better organized I’m not going to be embarrassed when I’m offering guests a hot drink! Plus it’s like a treat to myself to make a cup of tea or my morning coffee.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

The drawer above it was also unruly. I love using it for little espresso cups, small bowls and measuring cups because it’s shallow. But because the space inside wasn’t clearly defined, it ended up with random stuff in it, too (including more cookie cutters, and I don’t bake sugar cookies except sometimes at Christmas, ha!).

How to Organize a Small Kitchen
The thing I am always looking for in this drawer are the small espresso cups and shot glasses (the girls and I use them to drink our favorite health beverage every afternoon). Because the cups are small they were always hiding among the other objects. It was kind of like looking for E.T. in the closet of stuffed animals! But no more, now we’ve got a better system.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

An .ORG basket and a couple of wood dividers brought order to the entire drawer! Our little cups have a home and there’s a space for everything we need.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

And we have a designated spot for things we just like to see because they make us smile, such as our knit fox scrubbies. :)

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

I also got the canisters that are on the counter above the drawers. Aren’t they adorable?! I love them. I’m thinking I’ll use one for ground coffee, one for biscotti to go with my coffee :), or maybe dog treats for the pups?

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

This wall cabinet was a bit annoying to everyone, especially on grocery shopping day. There was no real system. It didn’t really look that bad, it just wasn’t tidy or efficient. We thought about how to use the space better, and all we really needed was to group things together in easy-to-grab baskets and add a shelf riser. Easy peasy!

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

Grouping items together is SO SIMPLE but it really makes such a difference. It not only looks less chaotic, but being better organized just makes you feel more aware of what’s already in the cabinet.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

Plus it’s easy to take a basket off the top shelf to see what the options are when you’re trying to decide what’s for dinner.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

The .ORG riser doubled the space we have for shorter items like boxes of beans. Now after we grocery shop to restock, we don’t have to pile boxes up and then watch them all topple over and out of the cabinet when the one we want is at the bottom. :) Fun pre-dinner activity, yes, but who’s got time for that?

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

I love the two roll out pantry drawer cabinets we were able to literally squeeze into the kitchen when we remodeled. We have one on either side of the fridge. It’s so handy to be able to pull the drawer out, you can use the entire surface and see all the way to the back so nothing gets lost.

TIP: If you are remodeling a small kitchen, you will want to measure very carefully to make sure you are not only maximizing each available square inch, but that you will also be open cabinets and drawers. Ha! The person who first measured for our roll out pantry cabinets measured incorrectly. Fortunately we double checked before the order was placed! Crisis averted and these drawers open with ease.

The contents of our pull out drawers didn’t look horribly disorganized, but I was excited to streamline everything and be more intentional with our storage here.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

I don’t like to keep food in bags, so we added more jars! We used these vintage style jars and this set of square ones.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

We also moved our mixer to the bottom pull out. It was often on the kitchen counter but we don’t use it regularly enough to justify the counter space, so I kept it downstairs sometimes. But I didn’t like lugging it up from the basement when I needed it!

Since we had the room for it in this cabinet, keeping it here is still convenient but frees up the counter when we don’t need it. We do the same with our toaster!

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

My next step will be to label the jars to make it easier for all chefs in the kitchen to identify the contents.

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

We tucked another .ORG bin behind the glass jars to corral little items and things that aren’t in jars. It’s easy to see what’s in the bin when you roll the drawer out!

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

I’m feeling great about how functional this cabinet is now!

How to Organize a Small Kitchen

What’s the most disorganized drawer or cabinet in your kitchen?

Sources:

Black Floral Lattice 3-Piece Canister Set

The .Org Line

3 compartment bamboo tray

6×12 mesh organizer

Bamboo tea box

Bamboo drawer organizers

Metal Mesh Expandable Cabinet Shelves / Risers

Mesh Stacking Kitchen Bin

Mesh Pantry Organizer Bin

4 Piece Glass Square Canister Set

Vintage Inspired Glass 1 Gallon Storage Jars

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12

This deck project is in partnership with Trex and Lowe’s 

For the past couple of years I’ve been dreaming up the details of how our entire side and backyard would eventually come together. I like to design a backyard in separate “zones” with a vision in mind for how the entire space will come together. That way it’s possible to tackle one space at a time as budget or time allows, but you still have a good overview of where you’re going.

For our side and backyard areas I had envisioned creating a succession of outdoor spaces that could be accessed from the side patio (which is right outside of our newly remodeled kitchen, pictured below).

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

When you exit out the new Dutch door on this side of the house, you’ll end up on the side patio (see below when it was still in progress). From there you are able to walk down the set of stairs on your left and then pass through the double gate (which we had installed a couple of years ago and just recently painted, you’ll get to see it in upcoming posts!).

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck
In progress

The future plan was to connect this space (above) to a main gathering area on a low deck in the backyard, where there would be a dining table and seating. The new deck would become a focal point of the backyard, gracefully connecting to every additional outdoor space, including pathways that would eventually lead to new gardening spaces and a fire pit area.

That was the a long term goal, so originally I thought we’d stop our outdoor projects at the double gates and save the deck and the other projects for a future season. Yet as we were preparing to complete the railing on our side patio steps last spring, Lowe’s and Trex reached out to me about the possibility of partnering on an outdoor deck and railing project!

Not only was I very excited to install the new deck sooner than I expected I would, but the timing was perfect as we were able to coordinate the railings on our existing steps with the same black Trex railings we selected for the new deck. It was finally all going to come together!

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck
Back of the house, before the deck
(catch up with the exterior projects and see the house before it was painted white here)

So how and where does one begin planning for and designing a new deck?

Unlike the hassles we’ve had with finding contractors and completing other projects, this Trex deck project was smooth sailing! It was so easy to be able to just head right into our local Lowe’s to find all of the help and materials we would need to design our new deck. You can also line up a contractor through Lowe’s to install the deck, if you want help (like we did!). It’s such a time and money saver to go this route for building a deck.

Wood decks and railings literally take a beating from the rain here in the Northwest. They rot and require so much upkeep! That’s the reason I had planned to use Trex for any decking or railings, it is a composite material that will be nearly maintenance free for years! Composite decking has come a long ways in the past 25 years, the new high-performance material is amazing.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

While I came into the project with a general vision for what I wanted in terms of the size, shape and materials, any indecision or choices were easily solidified through the resources you can find in a Lowe’s store and online.

You can read up on the products and how the whole process works through the options on Lowe’s website.  I found lots of helpful tips and inspiration that prepared me with what to expect and helped shape my vision for the space.

As you’re just getting started, it’s fun to browse ideas (I LOVED being able to look at the deck and railing duos here), order samples, plan your project, download a planning booklet, estimate costs, as well as get DIY tips if you want to build the deck yourself.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

Selecting the materials for your deck

After we did some research on the Lowe’s and Trex website, we went into our local Lowe’s store to look at the displays of materials that were in stock as well as options for special order.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

For our outdoor spaces I wanted to create an indoor /outdoor connection through my design choices, so we continued our color palette and style from inside the house through to the exterior.

You can get a little tour of the interior of our home here.

I also think it’s helpful to take into consideration ways to complement your home’s natural surroundings and any other exterior features that are visible from your project (or that you’d like to tie in to your overall design).

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

For our space, we also created a design board (shown at the top of this post) that offered us a cohesive vision for how it would all come together. Each element plays a supporting role in look of the overall space, so it’s helpful to think about how the furniture and other elements surrounding the space will also impact the overall feel of your project.

You can mix and match colors, deck materials and furnishings to create a unique look that will suit your home, style and taste. It’s fun to get creative, so you can browse your local Lowe’s store and website and even use Pinterest to pin ideas you find online to visualize the mood for your space.

I’ll share more about our design decisions in upcoming posts, as well as a closer look at our before images and in-process photos.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

Consult with a PSE at Lowe’s – Project Specialist Exterior

One of the free services I found really helpful was to schedule a project specialist from Lowe’s to come to our home. You can set that appointment right from the store, online or even text, so it is really convenient!

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck

When our specialist came out to see the space, he confirmed that we could leave our original concrete patio in place and just install the deck frame over it. I had hoped that would be the case (so much easier!), but I felt more confident having an expert option.

Having the project specialist measure the space and confirm that what we had planned was going to work gave me peace of mind. He also offered ideas we might not have thought of, such as the option to add lighting to the post caps and around the edge of the deck, as well as design ideas for how the deck boards could be installed to create more visual interest.

I can’t wait to show you how well this project and our outdoor spaces came together!

Stay tuned for more of our project details, the installation of the deck and of course, the big reveal! 

Decking and railing in this project was provided by Trex
Installation and furnishings provided by Lowe’s
Learn more about designing and installing your own Trex deck project at Lowe’s.

Designing and Shopping for our Trex Deck
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