How I Store and Organize Everything In Our Kitchen

posted by Andrea | 03/8/2019
 

As many of you remember, we completely gutted our kitchen in the summer of 2012… and then SLOWLY put it back together again!

It was a HUGE mess, it took WAY longer than we anticipated, and I’m SO happy we won’t have to live through another kitchen renovation any time in the near future! 

We weren’t originally intending to tackle such a big project so soon after moving into our home, but our former kitchen was VERY dysfunctional, with tons of wasted space, lack of storage, and just really ugly.

When several of the appliances started “dying” that spring, we decided to move the kitchen renovation up a few years on our to-do list — and I’m SO GLAD we did! 

We have enjoyed cooking, eating, entertaining, and spending time in our new kitchen and dining area SO much over the past several years… and I honestly can’t imagine living for 6 months without a kitchen with 4 kids to feed!

Soon after we finished our kitchen renovation, I shared detailed pictures of the insides of all our cabinets and drawers.

Read Those Posts Here: 

A look inside our kitchen drawers (circa 2012)

A look inside our kitchen cabinets (circa 2012)

Since then, we’ve added several more children to our family, I’ve changed so much of how I cook and bake, and we have different storage needs for older kids, school lunches, different snacks, etc. etc.

So… I decided it was time for an updated post! 

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve named each cabinet/drawer and included a bulleted list of the contents below each picture.

I also linked back to many of my previous posts for those of you who’d like more in-depth information about specific areas of our kitchen.

And when it makes sense, I’ve linked to specific products on Amazon, in case you’re interested in purchasing the same items I use. (Some of the links are affiliate links, read my disclosure policy here.)

First, here are a few computerized images of our kitchen from the cabinet designers… just to give you a better feel for how all the cabinets fit together. 

And here is a bird’s-eye view of our kitchen (not 100% to-scale, but close enough!) 

My kitchen “photo tour” below begins with the cabinet above the refrigerator and moves around the kitchen counter-clockwise — ending with the pantry cabinet.

Then I circle back and show you what we store in our island drawers. 

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Here’s a look at how we store AND organize everything in our kitchen (the 2019 edition)!

We’ll start with the upper cabinets…

CABINET ABOVE THE REFRIGERATOR:

UPPER CABINET TO THE RIGHT OF THE SINK: 

UPPER CABINET TO THE LEFT OF THE SINK: 

UPPER LAZY SUSAN: 

  • Small baking supplies (flavorings, extracts, baking powder/soda, non-stick spray, chocolate chips, coconut, etc.)
  • Measuring cups (dry and liquid)
  • Kitchen scales

UPPER CABINET TO THE RIGHT OF THE STOVE: 

  • paper products
  • vitamins
  • salt, pepper, butter, sugar

CABINET ABOVE STOVE: 

UPPER CABINET TO THE LEFT OF THE STOVE: 

  • extra adult water bottles and travel mugs
  • toothpicks
  • candy and gum (candy is in the cardboard box)

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Moving on to the lower cabinets and drawers…

DRAWERS NEXT TO THE FRIDGE:

CABINETS UNDER THE SINK: 

DRAWER TO THE LEFT OF THE SINK:

  • hot pads
  • oven mitts

CABINET TO THE LEFT OF THE SINK:

LOWER LAZY SUSAN:

  • Larger baking supplies (flour, sugar, brown sugar, boxed mixes)
  • All oils and vinegars
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, squash (it’s dark and cold in this cabinet, so it’s a great place for some of this produce!) I keep more “bulk” storage in the basement, but this is where I keep the items I’ll use in the next week or so. 

PULL-OUT SPICE CABINET: 

More about how I store my spices and seasonings in this post (before I was gifted the fantastic spice jars!) 

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The next batch of photos is of our pantry area.

This area of our home is VERY awkward as there are several heating ducts and a chimney that run from the basement to the 2nd floor — which are all hidden behind the pantry area. This is why parts of the pantry are very shallow and other parts are very deep. 

Over the last several years, this area of our kitchen has gone through the most changes — especially recently with the addition of my grain mill and my large amount of bulk foods that need to be accessible to me on a daily basis. 

UPPER PANTRY CABINET: 

  • larger baking dishes (I use them for entertaining, but not regularly so they are up high)
  • lunch bags and lunch-packing items
  • bulk fruits, nuts, beans, legumes, seeds (the larger packages are in the deep freezer or in food-grade storage buckets in the basement)
  • snacks, peanut butter, bread, baked goods

PANTRY DRAWERS:

  • tools (left)
  • office supplies (right)

LOWER PANTRY CABINET: 

  • pots and pans (left)
  • serving trays (left)
  • slow cookers and rice cooker (right)

UPPER CORNER CABINET:

  • cake decorating supplies
  • extra jars

**This cabinet is awkward to get into so I usually don’t store much in here. It also gets nice and warm in this cabinet because of the heat vents behind it, so I often use it as a great out-of-the-way place for my bread to rise! 

COUNTERTOP CORNER STORAGE: 

  • coffee maker, coffee, and filters
  • grain mill and spice grinder
  • bulk grain storage (larger quantities in the freezer or food grade storage bins in the basement).

This is an EXCELLENT place for my grain mill because I can simply slide it out, grind my grain, and slide it back (I put it on a piece of felt).

NOTE: I am currently borrowing a MockMill from a friend. I haven’t actually purchased one yet, but so far, I do really like the MockMill. 

FULL PANTRY CABINET: 

  • serving items
  • canned goods, chips, crackers, and pasta (we’ve majorly scaled back on these items over the past 2 years)
  • various smaller baking dishes — I use these ALL on a very regular basis
  • microwave and toaster (yes, we use them IN the cabinet)
  • George Foreman grill, waffle makers, hand mixer, Nutrimill stand mixer (attachments and accessories stored inside the bowl)
  • toaster oven, bread machine (borrowed from my parents)

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And finally, the island storage! 

ISLAND DRAWERS: 

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Whew… I think that’s everything! 

I know this is a LONG post with so many images, but hopefully it all makes sense and gives you a better sense for how I organize everything in my kitchen. 

Please know that I did NOT painstakingly organize my kitchen to make it look “perfect” for these pictures. In fact, I wasn’t even intending to take the pictures on the day I did. But when I realized I had an extra 20 minutes of time before baths, I quickly took pictures of each space before it got too dark outside! 

Also, keep in mind that I continually change and tweak all the storage spaces in our home in an effort to meet our current storage needs (whatever those needs might be). So there’s a decent chance I’ll move something in my kitchen within the next month! This is not because I like extra busywork, but simply because our needs in the kitchen are always changing and morphing, and I’m always looking for ways to better utilize our space so it meets more of our needs. 

Got questions? Leave them in the comments! 

I’ll try to answer as best I can! 

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29 comments

  1. Christine Meurer

    03/09/2019

    It is SO interesting to me that you like your spices down low and your dish cloths up high. 🙂 Your bread rising cabinet could also be a good yogurt culturing cabinet!
    I LOVE that your dishwasher has the same look as your cabinets! So classy!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well, when you have a skinny cabinet right next to the stove, it seems to be the perfect spot for spices. I’m not sure what else I’d be able to store there! And the kitchen linens are in the cabinet RIGHT next to where I use them — so that makes the most sense in my mind as well. Of course, if I had a different kitchen layout, I’d most certainly organize the contents differently as well!
    And yes, the paneled dishwasher was a feature I “for sure” wanted to have in my kitchen!

    [Reply]

  2. Rebecca

    03/09/2019

    Hi! I love the kitchen and organization of all your things. We have empty cabinets and drawers too, but every few months I have to go through and clear them out because my family will just shove things anywhere! lol. Also, aren’t double ovens just the best thing ever?!

    I am curious how the stovetop works out without having a vent above it? Unless it’s hidden somewhere I didn’t see. We have an over the stove microwave that vents, but I’d like to eventually switch to a large stand alone vent because it works better than a microwave vent. But if there is some way to bypass or hide it that would be even better!

    [Reply]

  3. Darlene

    03/09/2019

    Where do you store your canned goods? I know you can and freeze things but you must still buy canned soup or vegetables. Or boxes of food?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    they are all in the pantry cabinet (2nd and 3rd shelves down) pictures towards the end of the post.
    My home-canned food is on metal shelving in the basement (there is A LOT of it) but anything store-bought is in the pantry. I supposed I have cut way back on the store bought things I buy as I make most foods from scratch these days!

    [Reply]

  4. Debbie

    03/09/2019

    Love this post! It gives me ideas of how I can tweak our kitchen storage. It looks like you use your pantry more for kitchen gadgets than canned goods. That’s awesome to have that extra space.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it’s a shallow cabinet and seems to work perfectly for all the small appliances and pans I use regularly. Plus, my kids can’t get into the food now since it’s higher!

    [Reply]

  5. Ann

    03/08/2019

    In the bags, foil, wrap drawer you have a Ziplock syringe thingy for sucking out air. Do you use it? I thought it went with special bags that I can never find any more.

    [Reply]

  6. Allison

    03/08/2019

    I enjoy these posts – it’s a really nice way to get ideas of what may work – I really like the idea of bigger drawers.
    Do you have recycling in your area? If so, where do you corral that? I’ve had trouble finding space for both garbage and recycling and was curious if/how you handle that.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    We love our big drawers. I would have put so many more in, but we have very limited drawer space in the rest of our kitchen.
    As for recycling — we don’t do a ton of it (mainly because I don’t like storing it and it’s really expensive to recycle — crazy, I know!) We have some recycling in the basement and we just walk it down there as necessary. Otherwise, our main garbage can is in the garage.

    [Reply]

  7. Annette Silveira

    03/08/2019

    This is so fun. I would love someday to redo my kitchen to customize it for the way I use it.

    I don’t see any child-locks on cabinets or drawers. Do your kids naturally stay out or are the lower ones fair game? We have a few drawers that our granddaughter can use but the rest are locked so we didn’t have to rearrange everything.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Even if you aren’t renovating your kitchen, there are still TONS of ways you can customize your kitchen for your needs. I had a super non-functional kitchen in our old house but I used different containers and organizers to customize it and make it work for me.
    And no, I absolutely hate child locks so we’ve never had any in our house. The kids learn which cabinets they my “play” in and which ones they can’t! 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Avia

    03/08/2019

    We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel so it’s really fun and informative to see how you’re using your storage. My goal is to have a place to easily store everything – even those things that I have left on the counter in the past – like the toaster and vitamix. I love that you have a place for your bread to rise!

    [Reply]

    Wilma Reply:

    If you can, you could put an outlet in a cupboard and then a slide out tray for the toaster and blender. that’s my dream 🙂 one other thing–if you want the toaster crumbs to stay contained, put the toaster on a baking sheet or even in a cake pan–then you won’t find crumbs everywhere. if your toaster is on the counter, you could use a wooden tray to make it look nicer 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup, that’s exactly what we did. We have outlets in 4 different cabinets to give up options to use appliances in hidden spaces. We even have a TV/cable hookup inside one of our cabinets if we ever want to instal a TV!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — it will be SO worth all the time, effort, and money when you’re finished!

    [Reply]

  9. Melissa

    03/08/2019

    Hi Andrea,

    I have a random question…do you find you regularly use your dish drying mats? If so, what makes them a better option than just a kitchen towel? I have never used one and am curious.

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    we use them every single day — all the time! They are much nicer than towels (in my opinion) as they lay perfectly flat, they absorb TONS more water, and they are cushiony for the dishes. We’ve had ours since we got married and a day rarely goes by when we don’t use them for something!

    [Reply]

  10. Kim

    03/08/2019

    Old reader here. I remember your long kitchen remodel. How wonderful that it is a distant memory.

    Do you drip water when going from rinsing a dish to loading it in the dishwasher?
    Love the drawers below counters. Wonder if that would be expensive to add?
    Hoping to purge and organize my kitchen next, so this is good good for thought.
    Burden of kept in fridge????

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    That should be butter not kept in fridge? I hate auto correct.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, it was definitely a LONG remodel! but so worth it now!
    As for the dishwasher, it opens almost all the way to the sink, so no, we don’t drip. I’m sure if the kids are doing it someday, they will drip — but they’d probably drip anywhere!
    We go through SO much butter (sometimes 1 stick per day — not even including baking) so we always keep it sitting out. We have several pounds of butter in our freezer and fridge, but I keep at least 1 stick out at room temperature (sometimes 3 or 4 if I know I’ll be baking!)

    [Reply]

    Lea Reply:

    Kim,

    Actual butter is a solid at room temperature and typically takes a long time to spoil (since it’s almost all pure fat) at room temperature, especially if it’s salted and the temperature not extremely hot (over, say about 85F).

    If you use a butter substitute (margarine, etc.), it most likely needs to be kept in the refrigerator. Most butter substitutes are not solid at room temperature and would melt or they go rancid quickly.

    Lea

    [Reply]

  11. Chris

    03/08/2019

    Your kitchen is so beautiful (and functional, I’m sure, too).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks 🙂 And yes, quite functional!

    [Reply]

  12. Ann

    03/08/2019

    I like the “Bread-rising” area! Very handy for a baker!

    [Reply]

    Ann Reply:

    The kitchen organization is very nice, too! Great post!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    it’s SO nice!!!

    [Reply]

  13. Margaret

    03/08/2019

    This is my favorite kind of post. I love to see the combination of logic–these things are used here, these things should go together–with the practical aspect of–this is where they’ll fit.
    I also appreciate the comment that it’s a constantly evolving process. Your needs change, and if your system can’t/won’t change with it chaos ensues.
    I have lived in my house for 15 years. Before I moved in (the house was rehabbed for me by a local organization that rehabs for low-income people) I planned where everything would go in the kitchen. FYI, it’s a well-designed layout, but I had zero input into what went where, and it was limited to stock cabinetry that’s sold to the organization at cost by a local manufacturer.
    15 years later almost nothing is in it’s original spot; the dish cupboard, the food-storage cupboard, and the useful-things drawer are still the same, although they’ve been rearranged internally many times. I’ve made several major shifts just within the last year. It’s perfect for now, but it may change again.
    I have a similar in-drawer knife block, and I like it much better than the magnetic strip I used for years. The knives keep their edge better if they’re not being constantly tapped against the metal. I also keep all my sharps in one drawer, so the pizza cutter, vegetable peeler, kitchen scissors, and microplane are all in the block, with the cheese grater and bench scraper nestled alongside. Do you keep them together or separate? If they’re separate do you ever cut yourself fishing them out?
    I really like your dish drawer. Those are so nice.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t keep all sharp things together — mainly because that doesn’t make sense for how I use my kitchen stuff. the knives are in the knife block and my cutting boards are stacked up right next to the sink — which is where I use my knives a lot.
    The other tools are in the big drawer on the island which is where I basically do ALL my food prep. The drawer is not overly crowded so I never have to “fish” for what I need. I just grab it and shut the drawer again — no risk of cutting myself!
    And yes, we LOVE the dish drawer!

    [Reply]