GUYS! This blog post is finally ready. My tiny a$$ apartment kitchen (aka the little kitchen that could as I call it), got a huge organizational facelift last month.
We have been living in our apartment now for 3 1/2 years and it got tight real quick. It’s funny because I considered myself a minimalist and someone who doesn’t hoard things. But then somehow our apartment started to overflow with random sh!t between my job, having Ezra and now Jordan working from home too.
The kitchen is the place that is truly the most important to me. It is where I spent 85% of my day and when it started looking chaotic, I was getting moody and cranky. And no matter how many times I tried to organize it – I just didn’t do a good job. It would stay “clean” for a week then look like a bomb went off a few days later. Oh and don’t even get me started on the pantry.
I heard the most amazing things about Natalie from Liberate Your Space and called her immediately (scroll down for an insanely good offer from her for you guys!). From the moment I spoke to her on the phone, I knew I had to have this angel come and help me organize my kitchen and life and get some solid processes in place.
And in this blog post, Natalie is here to share ALL of her tips and tricks on what the beep she did to make or kitchen and pantry area look soooo much better. I will let Natalie take it from here. But you guys if you are local to NYC/tri-state area – give Liberate Your Space a call. Natalie and her team were in our kitchen for 10 hours making magic happen. I can’t wait to have them come back again soon to tackle Ezra and his baby brother’s stuff.
How to Organize your Kitchen (or Pantry) to make if work for YOU with Natalie of Liberate Your Space
Just the THOUGHT of Kitchen organization can be overwhelming.
Where should I start? What steps do I take? What do I prioritize?
We were thrilled to be able to work with Rachel on reorganizing her kitchen and pantry before her 2nd baby boy arrives. During pregnancy is the best time to declutter and organize your home. Naturally, the urge to nest kicks in anyway, so why not go all in and get the entire home organized?
At Liberate Your Space, we create strategic organization systems that are designed to suit your unique space, lifestyle and routines. Organization, at its core, should simplify your everyday life. We know that an organized home can alleviate stress and anxiety for everyone, and our mission is to always bring our client’s from chaos to calm.
Due to Rachel’s profession, the space that she felt needed an overhaul were the Kitchen and pantry areas. She is constantly testing recipes, testing new ingredients, photographing her process, all the while raising her larger than life toddler Ezra! Any systems she may have had in these areas have been long gone and she felt she needed a true reset. This is how the organization process went and what strategies and tips we used to get her kitchen into tip-top shape!
THE CONSULTATION PROCESS:
Rachel sent us a 4-minute, in-depth video tour of her entire kitchen and pantry.
By studying this video, our team was able to identify what areas needed more attention, what changes we should make and what products could be life changing for her. We realized that the overall layout of her kitchen was not as efficient as it could be to support her daily functions in the kitchen. As we create a plan of action for each client, we take into consideration how they use their space – which is always different for each person and each space. For Rachel, we know that she is a master recipe creator and practically lives in the kitchen! With this in mind, we wanted to create the most logical layout for her so that her days could run smoothly without any dysfunction or hiccups!
The consultation process also requires brainstorming of any products that we think could elevate her space. We prepared a preliminary list of products for her project, and once she approved, we ordered and delivered them to her home ourselves.
Bright and early on our project day, we arrived at Rachel’s place and we immediately warned her that the day will certainly get messy and chaotic before it gets organized! She gave us a quick, in-person tour of every nook and cranny of her kitchen/ pantry and then we got straight to work.
Step 1: Only work on one space
Choose one complete area and focus on transforming that space until it’s done to completion.
We chose to tackle her kitchen first, since it was the most work and required more time to test our new layout strategies.
Step 2: Edit until you’re back to your baseline
We walked through each cabinet, drawer and shelf with Rachel to edit absolutely everything we possibly could. The practice of eliminating the unwanted or unnecessary items in your space brings you back to your baseline. Imagine getting a facial or doing a physical detox – it’s the exact same concept but for your physical space. Once this process is complete, not only will you feel so much lighter – you will also realize that you never needed all that excess junk in your headspace. Limiting your space to only allow for the necessary items gives your mind a huge release. The less physical clutter you allow in your space, the more you’re able to focus, stay calm and continue being productive.
We then took out everything and placed them into the categories that came up.
For Rachel, we identified categories like:
- Cooking pots + pans – this is Rachel’s favorite pan
- Kitchen Appliances
- Everyday plates, bowls and glassware
- Ezra’s plates, bowls, bottles, cups
- Recipe/Photography pottery
- Mason Jars
- Wine/ Liquor glasses
- Vitamins, supplements, cold + flu – more on that here
- Food prep, tupperware, paper products
Step 3: Designate Zones
We quickly learned through the editing and categorization steps that there were a few categories that we wanted to prioritize in her space.
Strategically, we decided to place everyday plates, bowls, and glasses in cabinets that were the easiest to reach. We placed Rachel’s recipe pottery altogether in one cabinet that she could reach everyday as needed. We also designated a drawer for Ezra’s own personal kitchen items!
We separated the two largest categories we found, Cooking pots + pans and Kitchen Appliances and please them in their own corner, bottom cabinets. This change alone was a HUGE improvement from how it had been before!
We did NOT prioritize categories like wine/ liquor glasses, paper products and first aid/ cold + flu medicine because these are rarely used in the Mansfield household. We placed them in harder to reach cabinets or on upper shelves.
Step 4: Product Implementation
Acrylic bins and a few acrylic risers did wonders for maximizing space and creating containment in this kitchen!
Here are a few of our favorites and why we love using them!
Risers are amazing for doubling the vertical storage space in a cabinet. You can place plates, bowls, mugs and glasses above and below them so that they don’t crowd each other. The acrylic ones are especially our favorites because they are invisible and leave a clean look. Like your plates are floating!
Containment is key for creating functional systems and maintaining them. In kitchens and pantries especially, it’s worth using clear bins to SEE what ingredients you have and how much you have left so you can actually use them. When your food is disorganized, it’s easy to forget what you have or when they expire. The consequences can lead to wasting both food and money.
**Insider Secret: Containment creates a finite space where a category should live. It limits over-buying and if you truly abide by the rules and boundaries of your containment (containers, bins, dividers, etc), then your organized system will last months, if not years!
While we didn’t go into detail about what we tackled Rachel’s pantry, we followed the same steps as in the kitchen. Since Rachel has a constant influx of foods and snacks in the house, we wanted to maximize every inch of her pantry, so we added an Elfa Door Rack. The rack is easy to install (took us 5 minutes, no tools necessary) and utilizes the back of the door for additional storage by adding metal pockets. You can build out your rack any way you want, but the Container Store sells a package that fits the average sized door with 5 pockets. The pockets are easily moveable, and very secure. We used the pockets to contain small, grabbable snacks like chocolate bites and Ezra’s fruit juice snacks!
Step 5: LABEL LABEL LABEL
White this seems like an unnecessary final touch for some, labels are the holy grail of organization maintenance. Especially if you’re someone who lives with children, a partner, frequently visiting family members or baby-sitters…. Label is by far the most important step in organization. It is a luxury to be able to know what goes where by simply glancing from feet away. There is no guessing, or confusion and absolutely no excuse for why an item might be out of place. It’s FOOL PROOF and makes investing in a professional organization project completely WORTH IT.
Organizing a space can be a time consuming process, especially if the space is a kitchen where there are so many varying sized cabinets and drawers, that are supposed to fit all your awkwardly shaped cooking accessories and bulky pots/ pans. It IS possible to do on your own, but it’s wise to follow through methodically with the steps we outlined here. Remember that once you start, you really can’t stop, otherwise your kitchen is going to be a hot mess and impossibly frustrating to clean up!
HUGE thank you to to Natalie and her team at Liberate Your Space. And they are generous to share the below offer for YOU:
FREE consultation and 2 free hours when you mention my name when you book their services. This is available to anyone in NYC and LA (you must book in November to get the offer!)