Cleaning and Organizing the Kitchen and Pantry: Days 4 and 5

I have a confession to make. I got so into cleaning and organizing the kitchen, I just wanted to get it done. So I forgot to take “before” pictures. I can just show you the after pictures and tell you how it used to be. 
Before
The flour, coffee, and tea canisters were on the counter on the other side of the sink, where they weren’t noticeable. They are too cute to be hidden away, and besides, I do most of my cooking on the other side of the sink, so it just made sense to keep them there. 
On the other side of the sink where the canisters used to be, there also used to be a big pile of mail. When Brian comes in from the garage door when he comes home from work, he sets his lunch box and the mail down right there, and often it piles up. I try to always meet him at the door, so after we say hi and start talking about the day, I pick up the mail and sort it right there. It’s convenient because our recycling is right there too. 
After

Before
The bottle brush and scrubbing pads were scattered behind the sink in a pile, but when I was cleaning underneath the sink I found that little white caddy.

After

Instead of using chemicals to clean, I used a recipe from the index of Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. The cleaning solution consisted of vinegar, baking soda, and water. It was super easy to make, and it really worked. I was very glad I used it when Brian accidentally knocked over the bucket and spilled it all over the floor. Right away, the dog started lapping it up. Good thing it’s non-toxic, otherwise I don’t know what would have happened to him!

Before
Picture these counters with the coffee maker, utensil container, and knife block, along with a toaster, smoothie maker, and spice rack. I found other homes for three of those appliances, and now I have a lot more room!

After

The book says to take everything out of your cupboards and drawers, clean them all out, and then put it back in a way that works better for you. Well, I didn’t do that. I just wiped down the fronts and rearranged the ones that weren’t working for me.

Before
The pantry definitely wasn’t working for me. I took most of the stuff out, and thought through what I used most often. The top shelf was a catch all for all kinds of stuff, and the bottom shelf was a mess too. There was so much space going to waste, and after cleaning off the counters, I wanted to use some of it to store some of the appliances.

After
I threw out prescription information from prescriptions that had been used up, and removed objects that belong somewhere else.  Then I categorized the rest, and sectioned off areas for it. We needed to get groceries at the time, so there’s lots of free space still.

I put appliances and cookbooks on the top shelf because they’re big enough that I can see them from below without having to pull out the step-stool. I put cooking and baking ingredients on one side of second shelf and breakfast stuff on the other side. The next shelf is for snacks and beverages, the one under that is for spices, sauces, and pasta. On the bottom shelf that’s partly obscured by Kopek, canned food takes up half and plastic bags and the step-stool take up the other side.

A few days later, I bought a metal shelf stacker thing. It doubled the space! It was a great purchase. Here’s a similar one from Organize.com that has even more space:

Silver Mesh Pantry Organizers

I used silverware containers to corral seasonings that don’t go on the spice rack.

When’s the last time you cleaned out your pantry? Does your kitchen space work for you?

Day One: Organized Simplicity
Days 2 and 3: Redecorating and Decluttering the Living Room, Office, and Dining Room
Days 4 and 5: Cleaning and Organizing the Kitchen and Pantry
Day 6: Decluttering and Organizing the Bathrooms
Days 7 and 8: Redecorating and Organizing the Bedrooms
Day 9: Redecorating and Organizing the Master Bedroom
Day 10: Organizing the Linen Closet and Entry Way