Archives For Cleaning and Organizing

After I decided to hang the larger of two silver platters over my stove the smaller one sat on my dining room table for a week or two waiting to go back to my mother in law. One day while I was tidying up it occurred to me that I might as well find a pretty place for it in the meantime and within a few minutes I’d set it up in this little corner of the kitchen. The grouping of canisters and jars looks so much neater now! (you can see a picture of them sans platter in this post)

silver platter

I also spent about sixty seconds decluttering all of the magnets and papers on the side of our refrigerator. Now there are only a few small magnets, a timer, our menu, our family meeting agenda (still going strong with both of those!), and the memo board where we jot down things we need from the grocery that aren’t on my regular list.

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Since I’ve been making a more efficient use of space in the pantry I now have room to put things near where we actually use them, like potholders next to the stove and stuff for beverages right below where we store all of our cups and glasses. I drink black tea every morning so I keep a couple dozen bags in a tall canister on the counter, but it’s much easier to restock now that the big box is right here instead of shoved back on the top shelf of the pantry.

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Nick’s mom came to visit this weekend and said that as long as I was using the platter I could keep it. I was thrilled! She gave me a yummy Mrs. Meyer’s candle too (along with a bunch of other goodies; she is so sweet). The label was small and cute but I pulled it off anyway and now it sits on the platter. It’s the little jelly jar with a black lid.

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It’s funny how sometimes the smallest details, like having a tray or platter under a grouping of several functional items, can make me so happy. It inspired me to tidy up that whole corner and now it’s my favorite spot in the kitchen. That could have something to do with the fact that it’s where I get caffeine in the morning and wine in the evenings, but, you know, I like it even better since it looks pretty.

One of the remaining issues to be addressed in my pantry is sippy cup problem. Aside from the sippy cups themselves, there are all sorts of other toddler eating accessories, like plates, snack cups, and bibs. Upper cabinet space in our kitchen in limited and if these things are going to be in a lower cabinet they might as well be someplace that Jack can access them and help put them away. So I’ve had them on this shelf ever since I added it a while back, but they were just sort of flung in there haphazardly along with some other random items.

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I was desperate to create some order but new that large baskets would be unwieldy for Jack. Enter these wood bins I found at Michael’s! They’re labeled as vegetable bins and are I think $12 or $13, but I kept an eye on the Michael’s app on my phone and whenever a good coupon popped up I’d go get one. I ended up paying about $15 total. I put sippy cups and lids in one, everything else in the other. And there’s about ten inches of space behind them for me to store rarely used items.

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Jack doesn’t have to pull them out to use them, which would’ve been a big problem with baskets. I can tell you right now that if I’d gotten baskets he would just pull them out and dump them on the floor before grabbing a cup and moving on to begging me for snacks and milk.

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Just imagine that sweet face saying “Pease? Pease?” and try saying no, you can not have 17 cups of milk in one day. Then he’ll move on to begging for raisins. Rinse, lather, repeat. But at least now he can put his own stuff away (and he seems to be putting them in the appropriate bins so far)!

After hanging the vintage silver platter over our stove last week something felt a little off. I loved the platter and what it brought to the space, but the area as a whole now felt somewhat cluttered.

silver platter over range

Determined to keep the platter, I tried removing the canisters on the right, but it was now too barren for my tastes.

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So after doing some soul-searching regarding what useful and pretty thing could live on that little scrap of counter, I went in search of a utensil crock and found this $10 candle holder at Marshall’s. I also (temporarily?) removed the gimme some sugar print. I originally planned to keep it there and hang another print above the clock but it’s too much in a small space. I’ll see if I can find another spot for it. Moving the utensils onto the counter freed up a drawer next to the stove for towels and potholders! I’ve never had a good spot for that sort of thing in here so I’m excited to now have them tucked away neatly in such a convenient place. I’m not entirely convinced that the crock is the proper scale and may keep my eyes peeled for something shorter and wider, but I still like it. Maybe a wood cutting board nearby would help add more visual heft without feeling cluttered? I don’t prep food over here but I could use it to stage items that I’m using while cooking.

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With the microwave now squatting in the pantry I had room for the canisters over here. This is a much better place for them, anyway, since there’s a little more room to work with. I also hung our stemware rack and rearranged the shelves in the cabinets above to accommodate all of our glassware. The drawer below now holds extra tea, our corkscrew and bottle opener, and a small collection of koozies (is that the official name for those things? I’ve never heard them called anything else).

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Delicate question: should I add a small rack for my collection of fine wines? Too bourgie? (FYI that is a three dollar bottle of wine)

One of the dumbest things about our pantry is the large open area at the bottom. Jack liked to climb inside and shut the door, but in general it was just wasted space that invited chaos. See below.

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I mentioned yesterday that I bought a sheet of 3/4″ plywood with three projects in mind, and one of those projects was a new shelf for this lower area. I had Nick cut a piece to 22″ by 28″ inches for me and then I primed and painted it and a couple of pieces of scrap wood white. Then we just attached the scrap pieces to the pantry walls with some screws and set the shelf on top. I’m realizing looking at this photo that I probably should screw it down in at least one place because Jack is really into climbing lately and it could possibly tip forward. If you look closely you can see him trying to climb onto my back in the reflection of the large pot.

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I left the shelf empty for now because once I get the new doors put on I want to try putting the microwave there. I figure we’ll try it with an extension cord first to see how we like it and if it works then we can consider having an electrician install an outlet. If that doesn’t work out then it’s the perfect height to put baskets with sippy cups and toddler-approved plates and bowls and snacks.

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I also touched up the rest of the shelves and the frame of the pantry while I had the paint out. It looks so much better and already feels much more spacious without those bifold doors cramping the opening.

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I can definitely add this shelf to the list of projects that I can’t believe I waited so long to do. It was so easy and practically free since I needed the plywood for another project anyway. What do y’all think about the idea of putting the microwave in the pantry? I really want to get it off the counter but Nick is hesitant.