[Baby Motivated] Kitchen Organization, Part 1

  • By Jess Dang
  • February 16, 2015

Kitchen Organization Tips from @cooksmarts

My husband and I found out a few months ago that we’ll be expecting our first child this August.

After getting over the initial shock, we started getting really excited, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of, ‘Oh crap, how are we going to make all this work?’ moments. There’s nothing like the arrival of your first child to light a fire under your butt.

I’ve got lots to do to make sure I can balance running Cook Smarts with my new responsibility as a mom, and of course, we’ve got some personal projects to check off our list.

As far as homeowners go, my husband and I would probably get a passing grade. We have friends who always seem to be in the middle of another project to improve their house. Us . . . not so much.

Since we bought our house 3 years ago, we have yet to make one real improvement. Both of us own businesses and improving these fledgling businesses seem to be much more fun (and pressing).

This doesn’t mean we don’t have a list of things we’d like to improve. We just haven’t been all that gung ho on actually doing anything.

However, we know that if we can’t get it done in pre-baby life, the likelihood we’ll get it done in with-baby life is pretty slim.

So, this weekend, we decided to take on a small project but one that’s going to make a huge difference in our kitchen.

Even though I spend a ton of time in the kitchen and it’s a pretty integral part of my job, our kitchen leaves a lot to be desired.

I was hoping we’d renovate shortly after moving in, but like I said, home improvement has not been high on my list.

First problem is the stove – it’s electric and has only two burners that can get hot enough to boil water, and they both go from scalding hot to ‘is this still on’? (So if I can cook as much as I do in this kitchen, you have no excuses for not cooking in yours!)

And even though we have tons of cabinets, they didn’t have shelves, which means they’re not very functional.

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

I’ve treated them as large pits, just piling stuff into them – not even sure what exists towards the back.

Clearly, some ad hoc shelving could make these cabinets hold a lot more stuff in a much more organized and accessible way.

After doing some measurements and doing some research, I decided to buy 2 of these Lynk Professional chrome roll-out drawers from Amazon. We have a lot more cabinets that need help, but baby steps (pun intended!).

We plugged in our drill and I had my husband install them. It took him less than 10 minutes to get both installed (um, why hadn’t I done this earlier?).

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

Adding an additional shelf in each of these cabinets allowed them to hold so much more. We were able to empty out the stuff in this huge sad pit and put them into our newly organized cabinets.

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

This cabinet now holds all my prep stuff – lots of prep bowls and measuring instruments up on the top shelf. It sits right under where I do all my chopping for convenient access.

All the ramekins that were in the large pit were moved to the back of this and because the shelves all pull out, it makes getting to them so much easier.

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

Some of the items pictured that I love: space-saving Progressive collapsible prep bowls | magnetic measuring cups and spoons so they never get separated | Food Huggers that I put over open cans / jars and used produce to keep them fresher without having to use plastic wrap

The other cabinet used to have our grill pan, slow cooker, salad spinner, and random assortment of colanders all stacked up on top of each other with a Belgian waffle maker tucked in the back.

I thought about the last time I used this specific grill pan (we have a larger All Clad one that gets much more use) and our waffle maker, and I couldn’t remember so they went straight to the Goodwill pile.

Yay for purging and organizing!

With those items gone, there was a bit more room in this cabinet for some of our Pyrex baking dishes.

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

We found homes for just about everything in this large cabinet, so it’s now pretty much emptied out.

Kitchen Organization Project via @cooksmarts

I do want to use this to store our pantry goods, which currently live in a separate hall closet. Our house is not big, so it’s not terribly inconvenient to go back and forth, but it’d just be nice to have all the cooking items in the kitchen.

I thought about getting more of these chrome shelves for this cabinet too, but I think I’m going to give this company a try. They do pull out shelving that’s almost custom but I will have to spend a bit of time measuring to make sure the shelves will fit and install right.

I’ll let you know how that project goes in our next kitchen organization post, which hopefully won’t be too long from now.

Have you done something recently to make your kitchen a little more functional? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Also, if there are any baby items that you just loved and want to recommend, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. I’m sure we’ll have to devote a little space in the kitchen for new baby stuff . . . good thing we’re finally getting around to creating more usable space!


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