My new kitchen is a mess - Need some help Please - Lots of Pics

nsf798June 7, 2006

I read a lot of threads here last night while I couldn't sleep. I read some really great posts and while I was cooking some lunch today I had an idea. If I post some pictures of my pantry & cabinets maybe everyone can help me get organized. I decided to do this on a whim, so please excuse the mess. I'm also pretty embarassed at the amount of junk food in that pantry. DH has been doing most of the grocery shopping lately & when he and the kids go, look out!

This my first real kitchen. We've lived her a little over a month. The disorganized mess is a result of moving day & all of my helpers just unpacking & putting stuff away.

I can not believe how packed my new pantry is. I thought it was huge & now it's full. But I'm not really using a few of my cabinets at all & have no idea really how to utilize them.

My old house had just a few cabinets & a huge laundry room that I filled with wire shelved & that became my kitchen storage. I guess that's why I've put everything in the new pantry. I realize I need to group like things together but am overwhelmed at where to start. Any thoughts, suggests would be so much appreciated.

I also have a closet nearby that I've put a few shelves in. It doesn't really have a purpose yet either. I've put some school supplies in there that I'd like to stay. And the phone book & that's about it.

On the kitchens forum I read about people creating 'baking stations'. That's why I put all my baking stuff in one drawer. I'm really not crazy about that drawer. And when I do bake, I do it over where the pullout trash is. I don't bake without my little helper, my 3 yo dd wanting to help. So that is where we have the most space. I also gave her a drawer of her own with her blue measuring cups in it & her apron.

Again, I'd love some ideas from you orgainizing experts out there. I'm so excited to hear your thoughts & ideas. We've been waiting & wanting to build our new house since we were married six years ago so we are still just so happy to be there. While modest compared to a lot of homes I've seen on this site, this really is our dream home. TIA" target="_blank">

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Your kitchen is really pretty. (Love your cabinets!) My first impression is that it's not as bad as you think it is.

Your ''baking area'' feels like it would be better positioned away from the range, and closer to the sink (or in a place with a little more prep space). Do you have a mixer? You put put some ''aftermarket'' slide out shelves in that one cabinet (where the plastics are now) for your baking area and have plenty of room there to spread out. What is in the cabinet next to that?

I think your pantry is working well. Maybe if you put all non-food items on the shelves to the left as you walk in, you might feel like it was a little more organized. Can you leave your can opener in the pantry in a permanent place?

I'd like to see all the pots/pans/skillet/ on one side of the range; plastics and baking dishes on the other.

That little area below the glass upper cabinet looks like the obvious landing space for some of your stuff. Would the cabinet underneath be a good place to leave your purse, briefcase(?) and other things you need to get out the door when you leave?

The ''school'' cabinet with the wire shelves could just use some vertical boxes for paperwork, and looks fairly easy to manage. There is even room for backpacks and lunchboxes which is great.

More vertical dividers above the fridge would help there. Your plates and serving dishes look good.

I have plastic bins under my sink sorting like items (scouring powder, dishwashing soap, detergent, brushes, sponges) so it's easy to pull things out under there. If something gets wet, it stays in the bin and not in your cabinet.

You've made a really good start, and it looks to me like you could easily pull it together in an afternoon. Good luck to you; once you get organized you'll feel really good about your new space.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 5:27PM
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Wow! That is one gorgeous kitchen! I can see why you are overwhelmed.

One thought is that I would put at least some of the food (cereal boxes maybe) closer to where the food is actually going to be prepared. You don't want to be dragging out 6 boxes of cereal from the pantry every morning and then dragging them back in.

I would also make sure that the dishes that get used the most are stored directly over the dishwasher - makes unloading a whole lot easier.

I don't have as many drawers as you, but I have one dedicated junk drawer, one for bulk items (beans, grains etc. that come in bags), one for bread, and one for dishtowels. The two that are near the dishwasher are for utensils. I keep my spices in a drawer next to the stove.

I think Tupperware stuff is more easily stored on shelves than in drawers.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 5:30PM
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Thank you for the compliments. I really love my new kitchen & it will be even better once we get the handles on the drawers & cabinets so I can actually open them!

claire, i agree about the baking center. It is in the wrong place now. I hadn't thought of some pull out shelves under the silverware drawer (where the plastic containers are now). The cabinet next to it is the pullout trash.

That is a good idea to put food on the right side & non foods on the left side of the pantry. And you are right again about putting skillets & pots & pans on the same side of the stove. I forget which is which & usually have to open both of them.

I have a mudroom that is directly across from the hallway closet. It will eventually have a small countertop for the phone & phonebooks & mail & all that junk. I will have lots of hooks for backpacks, jackets & my purse. We just don't have it all set up yet. So everything ends up on that countertop. So I still have a cabinet there to put something, what?

I just mentioned the hallway closet in case anyone thought it would be a good place for something that was presently in the pantry. I really just need one shelf for school supplies & I presently have cookbooks in there.

postum - I agree about dishes being next to the dishwasher. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but the dishwasher is below the microwave so I really only have the one cabinet by the dishwasher (where I have glasses now). The cabinet above the microwave is a little high for often used dishes. I had a hard time deciding where to put glasses & plates & such. The plates & bowls are really far away on the other side of the stove, but I just didn't know where else to put them.

Right now we are using the drawer below the glass cabinet (still need to get some glass in it) as the 'junk drawer'. I don't think I have a drawer big enough for bread, unless I use one next to the stove. Would that be okay? My spices are in the pullouts above the stove and I really love that. Which cabinets would you suggest for dishes & the tupperware?

Thanks for the great suggestions!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 6:08PM
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I do like postum and really try and put things as close to the area I use them as possible. Since you've only been in the house a month, it may take a few trys to see where you like to work and store items.

Here's what I would do for how we live and eat which really doesn't look too different from your initial layout. YMMV.

In the cabinet across from the fridge, I would keep cereal and snacks. I pull the bags out of the boxes. Above the dishwasher, I would keep cups and things which contain liquids like measuring cups which you already have. I dish food from the stove, so I would keep the plates where you have them. Table silverware in the flat drawer by the stove, but I would have a crock with tons of spoons on the counter under the microwave.

Those larger cabinets could definately use some kind of pull outs or lazy susans to help you keep things in order. I like mixing bowls and mixing items like cups, spoons and spatulas stored by the sink, so I would use the cabinet to the left of the sink for those. It looks like you have items you need for the stove and mixing utensels mixed in one drawer. I would seperate those. Put the hot pads in a drawer next to the stove. I also use things like flour and coffee daily, so I have vintage canisters for those items and keep them on the counter.

Don't feel like all food needs to be in the pantry. I would want any food we use frequently (even canned goods, etc.) out in the kitchen to save steps. I would store pans not frequently used above the fridge or in the pantry. My DH would be in heaven because he could actually buy in bulk.

When I say put things where you need them, I do things like keep my kitchen towels under the sink. That's where I'm standing with wet hands! I also keep all cleaners up where little hands can't get to them. In your closet would be a good place for those.

I didn't see a coffee maker, but did see the toaster. Don't think that those items have to remain out unless you use them daily. I'd definately put the dustbuster in the pantry. Hopefully it has a plug inside?

Think steps. Are you currently walking across the room when you need it by the sink? Walking across the room when you need it by the stove? You could keep your spices in the drawer where you have the baking supplies. Label the tops.

Are you crossing paths with other people when you are trying to cook? I holler at everyone to stay out of my "work area" so I also make sure I have what I need in that area.

You have enough cabinets you could designate on for thing like what you need to make lunches. Keep ziplock bags as well as food items together to make the process speedy. If you feel like you don't have enough pretty items for those glass doors, put shirred fabric up so you can utilize them for other items. They are very pretty, but you may want the space.

I think it's going to be a beautiful kitchen. To me, a two bedroom mobile home is modest. I think your kitchen could easily fit in anyone's dream kitchen mentality. I wish I had a pantry and closet. Just don't fall into the trap of since you have so much space that you feel like you have to spread everything all over. Keep it where you need it.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 6:52PM
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what a great kitchen! It's going to be really great once you finally get it sorte dout.

I don't have a lot of time to read and digest and suggest, but I have one major, major observation: PUT MORE SHELVES IN EACH CLOSET AND SOME OF THE CABINETS! Look at how much headroom is blank--there are huge gaps between shelves.

School supplies closet: add at least 3 shelves there.

Tupperware closet: add a pullout at top and about halfway up (there isn't a shelf in there at all; no wonder it doesn't work). Get them at

Dishware & servingware cabinets: add at least one shelf in each, even if it means they seem sort of tightly spaced. Look at how much air space is above each stack--you only need enough air space to lift the dishes just enough to clear when you take one or two out at a time.

Pantry: add one to two more shelves (two if you can move that bottom shelf down by about 6 to 8 inches;if I didn't ahve stuff that felt OK stored ont he floor, I might even put a shelf about 4 inches above the floor, and start the shelf spacing there.) And maybe even, on only one wall, install a shallower shelf between two bigger shelves or space them a bit more closely.

Get some tray dividers (buy them from to install over the fridge; that'll make that area feel more organized and efficient--and may even reduce the amount of space that stuff takes up.

I think you know what to do w/ the baking center--move it to where you and the helper work (one thing about helpers: don't store the baking stuff right where they stand, bcs then they have to get off the stool for you to get it out; that's what I did and I goofed.

You might take apiece of paper and write categories on it that fit your life:
snacks / lunch stuff / special-occasion servingware / everyday dishes / measuring cups (I have these in two places, one for cooking & one for baking) / stove-top utensils / preparation utensils (I refuse to keep my peeler w/ the cooking spatulas) /

Then, without looking at your cabinets, ask yourself, "where would I use these,a dn how often?" Write that down,a nd THEN look to see what spot of the new kitchen fits that criteria.

Also, if you have storage spaces that used to work in the old kitchen, feel free trying to approximate them in the new one.

I vote for snacks in the pantry, all together.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 10:43AM
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Hi tallysue. The empty cabinet & the one with the plastic stuff do have shelves and they are just sitting on the bottom. I just haven't installed them yet. The plastic stuff was just dumped in there straight from the box. And I hadn't decided what to put in the one below the one with the glass doors so I haven't bothered to put in the shelf. Thanks for your recommendations.

I don't know how to add a shelf to the cabinet with the plates or glasses. That's all they came with. And the pantry is definatley finished, we won't be adding more shelves to it. We spent a lot of money on it & just can't spend any more. I'll have to find a way to make it work like it is. The shelves are adjustable so I can move them around. Originally the hall closet was going to have another shelf but we ran into a problem with the support brackets being too close to the shelf below it to fasten it to the wall. I really just posted that picture in case anyone suggested moving some stuff from the pantry to it. It is a mess & I'm kinda embarassed I put it on here.

I guess I was just looking for some suggestions on what to put where. And I know it all depends on how I use my kitchen but I just didn't know where to start. And if I get some suggestions on what to put in each cabinet & it doesn't end up working out, it's easily moveable. Oh & thanks for the links for the shelf dividers. My plan was to put some above the frige eventually. I have to wait awhile since we are still finishing other more pressing things in the rest of the house before I can spend any more money in the kitchen.

Right now I am running all over the kitchen when I'm emptying the dishwasher. I have cooking utensils in one drawer, silverware in another, baking utensils in a drawer. I guess I'm just use to the old house where everything was thrown together. That definatley makes for easier dishwasher unloading.

I'm going to go and move my baking stuff to the cabinet where the tupperware stuff is now. And I know what you mean about having to move my daughters step stool constantly, she's either blocking the silverware or the trash.

What about the empty cabinet? Or the top one above the stove? I think I'm going to put flour & sugar in plastic containers & put them in the pantry.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 2:52PM
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to add a shelf to the other dish cabinets, measure the existing shelf (to the 1/16th inch) and order the shelves from or I found maplecraft's prices to be pretty good. They can both sell you the clips or shelf supports, too.

If that's too price, then plain furniture-finish plywood, w/ an iron-on edge banding on the front, and polyurethaned, will be fine.

I think it's normal to be running all over the kitchen when *emptying* the dishwasher. It's when you're cooking that you want to be able to stay in one place.

Too bad about the pantry--can you find a way to add "fake" shelves? Maybe stack some boxes? bcs you've got a lot of unusable space.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 3:14PM
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Hey all, haven't been here in a while, adjusting to a full time job. Just got a promotion....I'm the new kitchen designer. Now for the intensive training! I'm not qualified yet but just by looking and listening I would move about the kitchen on a daily basis and, as you need things, move them there. it may take a while for everything to fall into place. Put less used items up and above. try to keep flour and cereals in plastic containers to keep fresh and bugs out. I would keep all the pretty dishes behind glass as you have. You could get a small rolling cart for the pantry for baking supplies. good luck!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 8:47AM
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Just you drink coffee? That small cabinet under the glass cabinet would make a great coffee bar...

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 3:36PM
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my daughter in law is arranging her brand new kitchen and I noticed that she had lists of what was in each cabinet on a sticky on the door of each cabinet. So there is a place for everything and she crossed out some items and moved them as she found better places for them. She also had dividers, cutlery drawer inserts, etc.,and used tupperware to hold items thatcould thenbe stacked.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 5:49AM
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When we remodeled our kitchen, the designer gave me the final blueprints. I made copies and and then diagramed what I might want in each storage space.

It might help to make a "map" of your kitchen (in ink) and then in pencil, diagram what might be put where, until you have a plan of what will be most useful to the needs of your family.

It is always trial and error, but seeing it on paper first might help. After you put things where you want, then you can tweak.

My own kitchen pretty much has two "sections". One section is food prep and storage, pots, pans, baking, etc. This is where the stove and fridge are too. The other section, closest to our table, is where the sink and DW are, and so are the plates, silverware, Tupperware storage serving pieces, etc. Makes emptying the DW easier. And having the Tupperware nearby is handy for storing leftovers directly from the table. The only exception here is that cereal is stored on the "non-food" side of the kitchen, in a narrow upper cabinet close to the table. It is next to the cabinet with bowls which is above the drawer with the silverware. Very convenient for the kids.

My kitchen isn't all that big, but it works for us!

Your kitchen in gorgeous -- have fun planning and try mapping it out first :-)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 8:29AM
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What a great kitchen! The main piece of advice I would offer is this: get rid of excess plastic containers. I had zillions of rubbermaid containers that didn't nest at all. I thought I needed every shape and size out there, so I bought far more than I could ever use.

After we renovated our kitchen, I gave myself one drawer for plastic stuff. That's it. Now, it's a big drawer, but I have a family of nine people, so we still need quite a bit. First, I tossed or gave away that which would not nest. I standardized on 8" squares that fit into one another. I bought 6 of these and I've never needed more. All the lids are the same size. I have deep rectangular rubbermaid containers for holding flour and sugar in my baking cabinet. I have round containers for lunch boxes: my husband takes leftovers for lunch every day and reheats them in these lightweight containers that are as sturdy as regular rubbermaid. In this drawer I also store two rubbermaid butter dishes, three nesting funnels, 2 two-quart plastic pitchers, 2 small mixing bowls and 2 large mixing bowls, plus about 12 measuing cups from 4-cup to 1/4-cup in size. The key for my kitchen is that any plastic container we have is in this drawer. So I've gone from cupboards and drawers of plastic containers and measuring supplies to one single drawer. I will add that I have a plastic pasta scoop and larger colander that I store under the prep sink. I never save even the nicest of plastic containers that food might come in. If we ever need more, I can use a storage container from another part of the house, wash it out, then put it back when I'm done (like when I need to bring 60 cupcakes to school).

I've also done the same sort of thing for lunch boxe supplies and ingredients. I have a baking center, which is to the right of the oven. My baking center is really just an upper cabinet with wire storage things inside that make it easy to cram a lot of stuff in a 30" wide cabinet. I do store extra baking mixes and flour/sugar in my lazy susan cabinet. I don't have a pantry. All of our health food is in another cabinet, near the blender where we make our protein shakes. I bought white plastic wirer coated shelves at the container store to stack dishes and baking goods in those cupboards. And also these tall, narrow two shelf units that fit under my sinks which sit next to the plumbing. They aren't really deep but just hold the basics in view (stuff tends to migrate to the back of the sink cabinet).

I also got rid of excess pots and pans. I figured that if my pots and pans couldn't fit into one base cabinet, that I would have a hard time keeping tabs on those as well. My baking pans and cutting boards store vertically in a cabinet designed to hold tall thin items.

You have so much wonderful space. If you can be judicious with how you plan your storage, you will find that you can even keep major seasonal items in your pantries as well, or gift wrap, etc. In fact, it looks like you could even put a desk in one of your pantries. Lucky you!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 3:33PM
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Wow thanks for all the great posts. I've attempted to rearrange my pantry. I tried to fit all the food on the right hand side. It didn't all fit. But most of it did. I put all the cans together on the smallest shelf. I put snacks on one shelf. I put all box food on the shelf above the cans.

I cleaned out the cabinet with the plastic containers in it. I don't nest my plastic containers. I store them with the lid on, that way I don't have to search for a lid. I really don't have that many. A few short squares, they are the cheap kind. A few that are a little deeper & a few small ones for when I bake cakes & need 10 different colors of icing. It looked like a lot I guess because of the way it was all just thrown in there.

I would like to get some roll out shelves for that cabinet so I can put my baking supplies in there.

That's as far as I've gotten so far.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 3:58PM
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hey, that's great! congrats.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 11:08AM
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