• Tana Lane

Project Highlight: Empty Nest Kitchen (Phase 1)

Hey everyone! I hope you're able to enjoy some real Autumn weather wherever you are, I know I am! This week's post is going to highlight phase one of a kitchen project I'm working on. My favorite! With the cooler weather headed our way, this is the best time to get your kitchen ready for new baking ideas and holiday gatherings!

First things first, easy access to your daily items like pots and pans. This kitchen had limited cabinet space with fixed shelving so I really had to utilize the spaces efficiently. You don't need fancy racks to make your space organized, but in this case they were extremely helpful. The skillets take up less room and are easy to remove and put back. The lids were originally in the oven drawer, taking up much needed space for baking pans and sheets. A simple rack made them more accessible and gave me more room for other things. The shelves in the back are now easy to get to, so regular use items like crock pots and mixing bowls work perfectly there. Last but not least, we swapped out the traditional colander for a collapsible one.

Next, we found a new home for the rarely used food processor. If you have items like this that you only use on occasion, think about moving them out of the kitchen. Deviled egg holders, roasting pans and gravy boats come to mind. Holiday gear doesn't need to be in your kitchen all year long, tote it up in the storage room or put it on the high shelves in your laundry space. This will give you so much more space to put regular use items and negate the process of digging through your cabinets to find something.

The pans on the bottom were relocated. Some we put in the now empty oven drawer, while the others were moved to the pantry (which I'll show you in the Phase 2 post!). This gave us a whole cabinet just for plastic containers! Two simple baskets separate the lids and bottom pieces, with easy access and removal.

I'm not a huge fan of lazy Susans, but you work with what you've got! This one basically became a catch all for oddly shaped pieces and rarely used items. Once again, we relocated some of the stuff that wasn't used very often and got rid of some duplicate items. For tight spaces like this one, try to find ways to use your own pieces as additional storage, especially if you don't use it that often. For example, that tall cylindrical plastic container made a great mini crock holder!

We also tackled the under-the-sink space in Phase 1. Again, you don't need to buy special racks or holders but they really do make a huge difference. The biggest things to take away from this area are making sure you use everything you have and that the kitchen areas hold only kitchen things. So, we pulled everything out and narrowed the collection down a bit. Bathroom cleaners went to the bathroom caddy and the industrial stuff was sent to the garage. If you want to be real fancy, I like to throw down some of that cabinet paper or foam liner.

Can't forget the junk drawer! Seriously, this little space makes such a huge difference! Pull out all of those stolen hotel pens and dried up markers, figure out what the miscellaneous keys belong to and bundle up the rubber bands. Then, grab yourself some dollar store baskets that fit perfectly in pretty much any drawer. You're going to smile every time you open it.

Tada! Phase 1 complete! I wanted to show this work in progress because I know how overwhelming a big project, like your kitchen, can be. Look at the difference though and we aren't even finished yet! Don't let a mountain stop you, we can climb it together one step at a time.

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