Make do with what you have: Kitchen clean up

So I see a lot of posts on how to utilise the space in your house as best as you can. Mostly this includes installing new racks or renewing your pantry , etc. Unfortunately, I live in a rented apartment so there’s a limit (which you reach sooner rather than later) to what you are allowed to do with the space.

But, we’ve lived here for a few months now and I got so sick of everything being in random places and not using the space to its full potential, so I decided it was time for a make-over!

Our living room, kitchen and dining room are in the same space. There’s a few cabinets under and above the kitchen working space and we have one built-in closet in the living room. Basically, that’s all we have to work with to store everything. But in that built-in closet, all of our other belongings need to in as well! (Think: shoes, bags, electronics, cat-stuff, … .)

In this post I’m going to tackle the kitchen.

Below the countertop

We have one cabinet below the countertop. This includes one small drawer for cutlery, and two other large drawers. The one for the cutlery was pretty simple, everything kind of had it’s place so I didn’t need to change anything there (yet).

The first obstacle I encountered was the second drawer. Because I love to bake, I try to keep my baking utilities kind of close by. The drawer is not very wide but quite deep, so it was definitely not being used the way it should.

As you can see, there’s no system, no order and no organisation.

Now I went to Ikea looking for something to help me organise. Originally I was looking for some kind of divider or separator but I couldn’t find anything to my liking. Then I stumbled upon this bamboo box with a handle that, according to me, actually acted like a divider! Then I saw that there is actually a bigger version of it as well! And because our kitchen is actually from Ikea, I could put it horizontally and it fit so beautifully I could cry.

The bottom drawer has all our pots and pans, but because we want to install a hanging rod for the pans later,  I left it the way it is for now.

Above the countertop

Then I went on to cupboards above the kitchen. One of them holds mugs, glasses, coffee and tea and the other one foods that usually go in a pantry. Also, if we didn’t know where to put sort something, it went on the top shelf. Below you can see what they used to look like.

 I hated the first cupboard the most, because it had no structure and it was so difficult to get the things out that you needed. My boyfriend is a coffee addict and he has many different kinds, although he usually only drinks Nespresso – so the other coffees are in there, taking up space they shouldn’t. Also, because the mugs and glasses were oddly placed, it was so difficult to find what you were looking for.

Thankfully, also in Ikea, I came across this shelf insert – And I love, love, love it! Below you can see how I used it to store the glasses on it and the mugs (that fit) under it. I solved the coffee problem by putting them on the second shelf but all the way in the back, which I can’t reach normally anyway. In front of them I put the teas and voila, easy access for everyone! On the top shelf I put a glass decanter, and glass oven dishes.  We don’t use them every day but you to have them in a safe spot because it’s glass and I’m very clumsy 🙂

The other cupboard didn’t change much except that I threw everything out that we literally never used/ate and that it’s now sorted per category rather than size. So breakfast things, baking things, pasta, bread, etc.

I used these jars from Ikea to store sugar and flour and I think it adds such a cute look!

I used a box (which I am going to restyle once  I can get my hands on the right paint 🙂 ) to gather all my baking materials in one place and the lid of the box to keep all cookies and small snacks in one place and separated from the rest of the shelf!

Yes, Gordon Ramsay and Jeroen Meus (a Belgian chef) are up there for when I want to cook something outside of my comfort zone 🙂

Under the sink

The last cupboard is the one under the sink. This is where we “stored” trash bags, things for cleaning, etc.

I bought another one of the shelf inserts to create a little more space, because again it is not very wide but quite high and that’s quite unpractical. Besides that it’s just organising according to what you use most, making sure you can see everything there is to see and, done!

For those who’d like to know:
We used to just put all spices in a row on the end of the kitchen counter but I got this amazing turning spice rack from Casa (Belgium), and I fell in love with it. It’s so practical and it adds a little colour to our black/white kitchen!

We also bought two magnetic bars from Ikea. You can use them for knives and other metals, but for now we use them to store small thing-a-ma-bobs that you can’t really put anywhere else.

I really hoped you liked this post, and hopefully you got some useful tips out of this. Next up: The built in closet in the living room!

PS: all ‘before’ photos were taken with bad lighting and without tripod – sorry about the quality!

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