Rethinking the pantry

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yesterday was the first day of school in our neighborhood. Before they left, my children inquisitively asked, “What are you going to do today, Mom?”

With glee I affirmed, “Reorganize the entire kitchen!”

They boarded the bus and I headed home (with Isabel in tow) to commence said task. Halfway through the job, I looked around at the piles and wondered if maybe I had bitten of more than I could chew. After all, we have lived in this house for nine years and I am pretty sure I have never rearranged the kitchen since it was first unpacked. Over the years, we’ve acquired several small appliances and dishes of all sorts; yet, we neglected to assign these purchases a designated space. The end result: utter chaos.

Determined to have the kitchen put back together before my eldest two returned from high school, I hunkered down and got the job done. Everyone, except maybe the baby, seemed to be quite impressed. That’s nice and I appreciate the recognition; but, I am even happier that nothing will be falling on my head when I open the cupboards!

Our kitchen is centrally located, and like most, is the heart of the home. It is the place where we spend the majority of our time and that is why I felt it was important to get this area back under control. Before I began this project, I set aside a little planning time to identify the specific problem areas and define their future purpose. Essentially, I had 5 issues:

Problem #1 – The Pantry

A large space with built in shelves and a door, this area contained paper products, medicine and first aid items; in addition to a medley of other small items haphazardly piled atop of one another.

Problem #2 – Pots and Pans

These items consumed four double cupboards and no one item ever went back in the same spot; so, when it was time to cook you needed to search through each cabinet to locate the right pot.

Problem #3 – Dry and Canned Goods

Also scattered throughout the kitchen, lacking any organization, foodstuff occupied 6 cabinets and a lazy Susan.

Problem #4 – Glassware (casserole dishes, bowls, etc)

All mixed in with the pots and pans…just not good!

Problem #5 – Plastic (sippy cups, storage containers)

Everyone has this problem, right? Miss matched lids and containers scattered all about.

The solution, I discovered, to all five of these kitchen oriented problems is really very simple:

Group like items together and place the largest items in the largest space.

Relocating the pots and pans to the pantry was fundamental in this process. The shelves are sized perfectly for this purpose and I am wondering if the pan---try wasn’t always intended to hold pans. Imagine that!

The second largest area in our kitchen is the space under the island. This area now contains all of our dry goods and canned products. This is ideal because I can place the groceries on the island counter top, quickly organize and then transfer them into the cabinets below. Hooray!

The larger upper cabinet is designated for plastic items and a smaller one for glass casserole dishes and bowls. The two upper cabinets by the dishwasher house the tableware and drinking glasses for ease in unloading. The lazy Susan is officially reserved for cook books and recipe binders. And, I have incorporated a space to hold spices and other goodies used to bake. Cleaning products are still located under the sink and a small thin cabinet now serves as the first aid center.

Ah, perfection!

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