Archives For Cleaning and Organizing

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.

Part of my mission in the kitchen is to make better use of the available storage space. To that end, I took some time the other day to corral all of the items needed for baking into one area. I used to keep most of the baking ingredients and supplies on the top shelf of the pantry but it was difficult for me to reach without a stool and there was no prep area nearby. Since this stretch of counter that is sort of like a peninsula is where I do most of my food prep I put my stand mixer and knife block in the corner, then filled the cabinet above with mixing bowls, flour, sugar and various baking accoutrements.

organized baking cabinet

I’ve had these snapware canisters forever and used scrapbook letters (with clear packing tape over top) to label them years ago, but they don’t fit standing up in the cabinet so I applied some plain white labels to the lids and wrote the names with a sharpie. It’s not the prettiest solution ever but it’ll do.

labeled sugar and flour containers

My absolute favorite part is the hooks! I used some small Command hooks to hang up the various attachments for my mixer. Now they’re always handy. Though I neglected to warn Nick and when he swung the cabinet open rather quickly the other night he was startled by the dough hook swinging around right at his eye level.

baking cabinet

Next I want to move the tin foil, saran wrap, etc., out of the drawer below this area so that I can put the cutting boards there. No other drawers are big enough for the big rolls so I need to get one of those door hanging thingies, and all of my doors are childproofed so I’d rather put it on my not-yet-created new pantry door. Patience is paramount when all these small projects piggyback on each other! But little by little the hardest working room in the house is becoming more efficient (and prettier!).

Thanks so much for reading, yall, and have a great weekend!

So after posting a roundup of pretty soap pumps last week I decided to go ahead and order this glass oil cruet from Amazon to see if I could make it work as a dish soap dispenser. It arrived on Thursday and I filled it immediately with my lavender-scented store brand dish soap. I was worried that it would be too viscous and I’d need to water it down, but actually it works great! It does take a moment for the air bubble to work its way up and the soap to flow out but after a couple days of use I was convinced to keep it.

olive oil dish soap dispenser

There was one other small issue: as I’d suspected, the smooth glass is a little slick on soapy hands. So on Sunday afternoon I took literally ten minutes to give it a quick little DIY improvement. I started by wrapping some painter’s tape around the top and bottom. I just eyeballed the placement but tried hard to keep it straight and level.

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Then I brushed on some of this glass etching cream that I’ve had forever. It’s pretty old and seemed kind of goopy so I tested it on the bottom first to make sure it worked. Once I was sure it was still good I applied it to the glass as smoothly as I could manage.

etched glass cruet

I set my kitchen timer for five minutes and then rinsed it off. The moment of truth!

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It looked pretty good! The bottle of etching cream had said specifically that it wasn’t intended for use on large, solid surfaces so I was nervous that it would be splotchy but it wasn’t at all.

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It’d probably look better if it wasn’t almost empty but I’m just keeping it real here. I am not the type of blogger who will make a special trip to the store for more dish soap just so I can get a prettier picture.

DIY Etched Glass Dish Soap Dispenser

It’s subtle difference that’s not even really visible from afar but that wasn’t the point. The point was to make it easier to grip and that mission has been accomplished!

DIY Etched Glass Dish Soap Dispenser.

With all of the incremental changes I’ve been making in the kitchen lately it’s quickly becoming my favorite place to be. Nick and I even decided this weekend to challenge ourselves to go 30 full days without dining out. We usually go out at least once a week, usually more, but we need to cut back on our spending and I’m actually getting to be a pretty good cook. So between now and March 15 I’ll be spending plenty of quality time in here cooking and cleaning. Nick helps, of course, but honestly at the end of the day I’d rather send him off to play with Jack and have some time to myself. Just me, the stove, and Pinterest, haha.