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nerdy kitchen details

when we were settling into our new home I mentioned how pumped I was to be able to fit our entire kitchen into this much smaller one. two months later and I can say the efforts I put into organizing our kitchen has been one of the most rewarding projects yet. well, maybe tied with the closet install.

I've always loved all things organizing and planning and that only gets nerdier when I'm dealing with a space that I love to be in. in this situation its the kitchen. bob and I love to cook together, I love to try new recipes as a creative outlet and we both love kitchen tools. all this paired with my training in occupational therapy means that I put quite a bit of thought behind the placement of things in our kitchen.

my work on our kitchen began before I started opening any of the boxes. I asked bob to resist opening kitchen boxes so that I could have a clean slate to work with. it's easier for me to visualize and plan when I have less things to mentally ignore. the visualization part is crucial for me and is an actual step in my process in just about all my projects.

for this kitchen project I spent at least 30-45 mins visualizing. in real life that was me being in the space and imagining how we physically move when we are doing all the tasks related to cooking and cleaning. to bob it looked like me sitting on the floor starring at our cabinets for almost 40 minutes.

I had a bit of an easier time setting up this kitchen because I had our cincinnati kitchen layout dialed in to support our cooking habits. this made things a little easier because I already had a template for grouping our tools and categorizing our drawers. here's what was working for us in cincinnati.

now the work was in getting that similar setup here in the new kitchen so we could have easy access of our favorite kitchen tools at the time we need them.


- kitchen knives readily available without taking counter space

- vitamix and food processor stored close to outlet

- spices stored to see what we have

- not using the oven as a storage space

- food storage containers well organized

here's an overview of the setup for what I did in our current cabinets...

keep scrolling for an inside look at each drawer/cabinet before [on top] and after [below].

these are some of the most used items in the kitchen in this nook. I put the heavy plates at the bottom and the lighter cups on the top shelf and less used cups even higher. just below the dishes I utilized our previous utensil organizer. and our pots are stacked with cork trivets between them, above our vitamix and food processor. The counter above them has an outlet for quick plug and play.

I reused fabric baskets above the fridge for our packaged snacks. it's much, much smaller spot than we had. we've definitely cut back on how much we buy and we don't have as many things go stale. so far its working for us.

our stoneware pans are heavy and I was sad giving up the pantry where they had three shelves to call home. this is the best I can do without using our oven as storage. I hate having to remove pans from the oven before cooking...mostly because I never remember until the oven has been preheating for 10 mins and everything is hot.

I ordered this bamboo/sustainable expandable kitchen divider that has a variety of needed compartments. even though there is a lot going on in this drawer of tools, having them all a cohesive look makes it easier on my eyes. and this is only a fraction of the storage containers we own, the rest are at the storage unit. tbd on this situation, its a work in progress.

the top right drawer is closet to the stove, so it made the most sense for our knife set and also counter space right above to use the knives on. I bought a bamboo/sustainable knife holder to go inside the drawer and that saved us a lot of counter space from the knife block we had. right there with our cutting tools are the measuring and stirring tools, all in one drawer. we moved the liquor to a cabinet in the living room then I cut and installed a shelf to maximize this oddly sized cabinet. this is home to the rest of the tools we will use when measuring and stirring. also the kitchen tool I didn't know I mini food processor.

the drawers to the right are still getting refined for me. the top one is our much needed towel drawer. it might seem silly to use such a prime drawer for towels, but I'm really messy and I'm always reaching for a towel. I also like to put a fresh one out after cooking and wiping the counters. plus we use these small towels as reusable napkins instead of paper. and I regularly use our small hand towels in place of oven mitts. the second drawer are more tools for cooking but a little less used the other things.

the only double cabinet in our kitchen is now our pantry. I love that these pop containers are square and clear because it makes for super easy organizing and seeing what we've got. I can't recommend them though because the lids come off easily when grabbing at the top and that drives me nuts. the cabinet to the right of the microwave is still in transition...mostly baking supplies, some pastas and other random dandelions for my dandelion syrup! above the microwave I used the same baskets as our bathroom for extra oils and spices.

speaking of spices...we love our seasonings and I love to make homemade blends. no surprise, this was a big priority for this project. the first pic is a well loved drawer from our cincinnati kitchen. since we didn't have the option for this at hillcrest I took over the cabinet to the left of the oven and microwave. I cut and installed a few more shelves so that we could see as many jars as possible. it's right above the measuring utensils so there's seamless transition when spicing things up. and top shelf holds all our different oils, vinegars and liquid seasonings.

I'm pretty content with what I've setup for us for now. like most all things in my world this will be an evolving project. I'll adjust the location of things if I see a more effective way to complete a kitchen task, a more prime placement to get better body alignment or increased storage-organization opportunities.

I love this stuff so much I'm thinking of starting a series called 'ask an ot' so that I can play with blending organization + functional movement during tasks + aesthetics in other people's spaces. click here if you'd like to be a tester for this series!


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