KITCHEN! The place where magic happens, probably one of the places where us cooks spend maximum time during the day creating heart-warming and nourishing food for our families and loved ones. And yet more often than not, it is this place which gets neglected the most when it comes to order and organisation.
My case is no different. We moved to our apartment almost an year ago and while I spent a considerable amount of time thinking, planning and replanning most of the house, I didn’t give too much thought to the kitchen. Fortunate to have finally found a decent sized kitchen unusual in compact Hong Kong apartments , I got a bit carried away and failed to correctly utilise the storage and space it offered; kept things wherever they fit without putting much thought to maximise space and storage. Needless to say, with a method like this, my cabinets were soon overflowing and I was loosing my mind trying to find things and swinging between one shelf to the other when cooking. With very limited time at hand and the need to put together a full-fledged meal in that duration, it was clearly not helping that I was spending substantial amount of that time trying to find ingredients. I kept procrastinating until one day while cooking I ran out of turmeric powder and being pretty sure I had enough in stock started to look for some. I looked for a freaking 20 minutes before I finally found it. I could have cooked what I was cooking in less than that.
So, I finally decided to reorganise . The big R word was ominously looming over and I wanted to do it without spending too much money and use most of the stuff I already had. My first step was to raid Pinterest , look through as many kitchen reorganisation hacks as possible and save ideas. Pinterest never disappoints! I found two amazing home blogs- Making Home Base and Clean And Scentsible which gave a direction and helped me organise my ideas. I figured that once I categorise the storage areas based on a certain logic and then utilise the height of the shelves rather just the horizontal space, it would be a good start.
The IKEA 365+ food storage boxes came to my rescue. Wide enough, tall enough and stackable. Another product which worked wonders in adding storage space in my tall cabinets was GREJIG, which actually is a collapsable shoe rack but hey it is all about hacks with these amazing products isn’t it? Notice in the “AFTER” image below how the rack without occupying much space itself, adds another level of storage. An absolute find!
My next step was to maximise the storage space for little sachets which could be just stacked on top of the other without eating up precious space that could be used for larger boxes/bottles. Ikea to the rescue again- OBSERVATÖR has to be one of my favourite new products from them. It is so versatile and works like a charm in maximising storage in tall spaces and the best part is no drilling required. Just a word of caution, measure your shelves well to make sure once you clip these baskets on, they do not come in the way of shutting them well because sometimes the space between the shelves and the door is negligible which means once you hang the OBSERVATÖR, the doors won’t shut completely.
Do notice, how moving the shelves around and adding the baskets has freed up so much space and I could actually fit in more stuff from the other cupboards too. And this space became my “Stock Storage”- so basically stuff which I would need to refill my daily consumables cupboard or items I would not need on the daily basis.
The next step was sorting my spice rack. Now, we primarily cook Indian meals but a lot of our meals have Asian and Western flavours and that means a whole lot of spices and keeping them easily accessible becomes so important! The VERIERA is just the right size and fits right into the small space next to my stove. I was even left with some space next to the sink to place an OSTBIT which doubles up as our chopping board and tumbler holder.
I also placed another VERIERA in the cabinet above the spice shelves. This cupboard is now designated for all my baking and breakfast supplies leaving some room for my coffee mugs too!
The KNARRA BASKET came in handy in storing bulky items under the table, mostly heavier rice and flour packets which are best stored at easily accessible places. The HÄLLAN cabinet was the perfect size and went right under our kitchen table to help store my baking and blending pots, pans and other equipment away from sight. Their white colour made sure they went with rest of the kitchen walls and didn’t look ugly and bulky.
The top part of dish drainer BESTÅENDE went on top of one of the baskets and is the perfect storage for my onions/potatoes/ginger/garlic.
The other pot and pans went into cabinet right below the cooking range along with the plates and bowls. The remaining bowls and Tupperware went into a pull out drawer next to the sink.
So, to summarise, my kitchen storage is now broadly divided into the following sections:
- Grains & Pasta
- Spices & Condiments
- Baking & Breakfast
- Cooking pots,pans and plates
- Baking and Blending equipment
- Stock and Snack cupboard (with the snacks strategically placed on the top shelf away from prying hands of kids and adults alike ;))
- Bowls, tumblers, and Tupperware
It may not look like it but it took me almost half a day to get the entire kitchen reorganised and this did not include all the mental pre-planning that went into it. So, I do hope that while this post is helpful to you in your own reorganisation, but do remember to use this as a reference to make a plan that suits your needs because they may vary from one individual to another. Also, I am a succour for recycling so I did not discard anything which could be reused except for a few boxes that were damaged and also, bought only the bare minimum from Ikea which I absolutely needed.So, always always look around the house and see what you can reuse and what can be discarded.
And most importantly, I would love to hear from you and see how you ended up using this post to do up your own little kitchen.