I’ve now been living in my flat for six months, which I have to admit I find quite hard to believe! I’ve finally got all the furniture I need and worked out how I use the flat, so this week I started on a big project to streamline, tidy and reorganise everything more efficiently.
The kitchen has a reasonable amount of storage space, but when I first moved in I didn’t really think through what should go where and simply shoved everything into the cupboards and drawers. It worked, but it wasn’t ideal and occasionally I would find myself under attack from things leaping off top shelves.
There are three double-fronted cupboards and one wide single door one, as well as two drawers, so there wasn’t really any excuse for the chaos. It’s now a lot more logically arranged because I sat down and thought carefully about what needed to be where – based on how and where I use each item – before clearing everything out and re-stashing it neatly.
As I mentioned before, my crockery has all been rehoused from the upper right cupboard to my lovely new dresser, so that cupboard became available to house my baking ingredients and spreads for toast; ideal as the cupboard is directly over my stand mixer and where the toaster plugs in. It also is now home for all my plastic storage boxes. Before, I was scrabbling around in the back of the cupboard under the sink whenever I wanted to store leftovers, whereas now I can simply grab a box, transfer the food in, leave it to cool on the side and then pop it into the fridge without having to take a single step.
The left top cupboard hasn’t changed its purpose as it has always contained food, but now it’s much more sensibly organised. The bottom shelf is full of grains and vegetables that don’t need refrigerating, the middle shelf is packed with protein sources, tinned tomatoes and my small tea collection kept for guests. And on the top shelf are the various things that I only use occasionally but want to keep around.
Underneath the sink is the classic place to keep cleaning supplies, but I was also hoarding plastic boxes down there which was making me a little uncomfortable – who knew what weird chemicals were leeching into my tubs? Since they’ve all been shifted out, I was able to move in my lesser-used appliances (most of which are in boxes). The bottom shelf is devoted to cat food, including a neat little tub of treats so that they don’t get lost behind the bags and tins any more. The cat bowls are directly in front of this cupboard which will make it easier to feed Paige when she’s insisting that she’s on the edge of starvation. It also resolves the issue of cat food dust escaping from the bag and covering my pans, because they’re no longer next to each other!
The wide cupboard next to the oven is the easiest to access when I’m cooking, so it was obvious that I should keep everything I use most frequently there. On the top shelf is all my baking gear, and below are my pans, chopping boards and baking trays. At the moment the trays and boards are simply propped on their sides, but I’m hoping to snag some tray dividers in the January sales.
And finally the drawers! The one underneath the sink is quite small, and I keep all my kitchen cloths and towels there. For some reason it used to have aluminium foil and cling film, but that made no sense to me so it moved across to the wider drawer. I’d bought a cutlery divider for this drawer months ago and for no discernible reason put it in sideways, which made it very hard to get anything in or out of it. I’ve swivelled it 90 degrees, popped the film and foil next to it and tidied the dividers a bit. Not sure why I was still keeping two novelty egg moulds when I no longer eat eggs… I’ve also got a stone presentation dish for cheese, which is not only totally pointless for a vegan but also not very functional for cheese-eaters since it weighs a ton and isn’t airtight. Anyone want those?
Both drawers had been overflowing with various plastic bags. I chucked away the grubbiest, most worn-out ones, folded up the others and put them in a dresser drawer with home-made dividers (various rectangular plastic boxes that I never use for food but have kept for years for some reason). Unfortunately two of the dresser drawers stick badly, thanks to an excess of paint on the sides. Eventually I will sand them down, but for now I don’t really need them. The other openable drawer has a tablecloth in it.
I’m sure I will still need to tweak things as I discover that I’ve put some essential item in the least accessible place or have hung onto something I still haven’t used in another six months, but for now I’m pretty proud of it. Anyone fancy coming over for dinner?