If you are like me and LOVE to collect kitchen gadgets, pots pans and even hoard up on gourmet ingredients, you just may have the same ever growing problem that I have began to encounter, and that is running out of space. My family and I live in a home built over 100 years ago. Though it has been added on to over the years, the kitchen is pretty darn tiny, and at least 1/4 of the cabinets are basically hidden by our stove.
For the last year or so, we have started experiencing extreme growing pains kitchen wise…as my love to cook, youtube canning videos increased and my hoard of kitchen supplies grows, so did our ( and especially my husband’s ) irritation. We were forced to shove things back in to corners, things fall out of the cabinets when we open them and we can never find ANYTHING when we need it.
So what could we do? Besides doing an extreme downsize, which I didn’t want to do ( Hey! I need those gadgets to bring you all great recipe posts! ) the only other option was to get organized! But organization costs money! Money that we don’t have! So I sat down, laptop in hand and decided to watch some of my very favorite Youtubers get organized, use their ideas and try and create ways of recreating these tips—but on an EXTREME budget.
While reviewing has afforded me a few storage options that I might otherwise not have, I still needed a lot! So what did I do ? I hit the dollar stores—and had it been Garage Sale season, I would have hit those too!
After stocking up on quite a few containers and bins, I cleaned out my cabinets and forced myself to remove all of the things I didn’t absolutely need or love. This ended up being much easier than anticipated, and I am going to be honest, I got two FULL trash bags full of things to either donate or get rid of . Next, I wiped out all of my cabinets, and started organizing. I used bins from the dollar store to store like objects. This allowed me to stack higher, but still be able to open my cabinets without an avalanche as well as add labels, meaning things wouldn’t be so easily lost. This worked out really well in ALL of my cabinets. Dishes and food alike.
We also got rid of a ton of our random drinking glasses, donated them and then decided to switch to all like mason jars instead! Canning jars are much more inexpensive than buying a set of drinking glasses and even cheaper ( and sturdier ) than picking glasses up for the dollar store–and they look neater too! With CHEAP matching glasses, it was much easier to fit all of our glasses into our cabinet in a uniform fashion.
Simple steps like grouping like items and really thinking about the shape and area your items take up really helps! Honestly, I had never really thought it through too much, I moved in, loaded the stuff in the cabinets and started collecting.
I also organized my pantry cabinets, I put extras of things that I already have in the fridge, like our BODYARMOR super drink bottles that I pick up at my local Target ( they are also available at Jewel and Meijer locally to me ) We keep a supply in the bottom of the fridge, but for our extras, I decided to keep them stored inside of a container, so they are neat, tidy and I can easily pull the ENTIRE basket out, which definitely saves time when unloading them and loading them into the fridge when we are ready for them to be chilled.
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Next, we added a spice rack organizer! This isn’t especially cheap, but it really did save on space and gave us a LOT more room. I will link you to the organizer here, and you can check it out! I also got cheap jars and put things like rice, beans, noodles and even our in a hurry flake potatoes. This means I can fit more in a smaller space, no resealing packages, or packages getting dumped over when we are hunting for another item. For the things like rice and potatoes, I removed the instructions from the box and used packing tape to stick them on the back of containers, that way we still know what we need to do to make our food. Taking things out of boxes and putting them into storage containers, even drink mixes and breakfast bars really saved us space! No more awkward shaped packages that take up a ton of extra space!
(One thing I would like to add, is that I did allow myself a few decorative storage options…old containers, cans etc to keep with my current theme and make things feel less sterile!)
Lastly, I organized my fridge. Yep, my fridge. I took all of my racks and drawers out, hosed them down with Dawn and vinegar in the tub and readjusted things inside the fridge to better suit our needs. This is something I hadn’t really considered before. I had always just used them as they came and crammed and stuff things in as I needed. The next step I planned on taking was adding some sort of liner– a shelf liner, something of that nature, but I decided against the liner I had on hand but plan on completing this step in the future.
After skipping that step, I placed baskets and bins in the fridge… this idea was questioned by my family, who have never heard of anyone doing this, but I think that it works fabulously! We have bins for certain food items, and those items ONLY. It makes it a lot neater in appearance and easier for the kids to put things back where they go. I plan on labeling them in the future, but even without the labels, the system works pretty well so far!
Next, I put my condiments into clear squirt bottles I purchased at Walmart for less than a dollar. Everything is uniform, neat and really fits into the baskets better. No odd shaped bottles to throw the system off!
The last things that I did was place a huge glass beverage dispenser on one of the shelves—we can fill this container with whatever beverage we like, and since it is so large, it can house several bottles of juice without taking up the space. It’s also easier for the kids to come push a button, than them getting out the jug and attempting to tip it up and pour their drinks. I love the addition.
( I have since added more mason jars for storage as opposed to the product jars )
I still have plans for storage in the kitchen–the number one thing on the agenda being a pot rack, but because most pot racks are on the expensive side, this is something I am going to save for and will add later.
These simple changes and cheap basket and bins have truly made all the difference in our available space, our stress levels and our day to day operation.
Though it’s still a tiny kitchen and these plastic bins might not be everyone’s cup of tea, they work beautifully in our home and I couldn’t be more pleased! Further proof that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make your life work for you and your family!
Stay tuned for updates as well as more posts as I move on to the other rooms of my home! And check out BODYARMOR! It’s a refreshing way to stay hydrated while in the trenches, organizing and refreshing your kitchen/pantry/fridge! Check out the coupon they currently have available, because what’s better than saving money on top of having a newly organized space?