How We Organized The Kitchen

Organized Kitchen with Lemon Stripes

The room that made me fall in love with our home at first sight was the kitchen. It’s bright and big and beautifully simple in design. And it has more cabinet space than I’ve ever had in my entire life. Living and cooking and eating in it have proven to be wonderful experience. It is my dream kitchen in every way.

The week we moved in, my friend Stef (or Jonesie as I call her) came over to help us organize the kitchen. She’s a professional organizer and we met because I literally Googled organizers in my area and found her for this project almost a year ago. Our first meeting was basically a scene out of a rom-com where we fell deeply in love as friends and bonded immediately.

Having Stef there for our move-in with her calm energy, hilarious (slightly off-color) jokes, and insane organization skills was one of the few things that kept me sane on a very emotional day. She helped us decide where everything would go and set up systems so that drawers and cabinets wouldn’t get messy or cluttered the way they always seem to do. Then she came back to label everything once she was done with the organizing. She used the same label maker I have (this one) so I can change anything in the future if I need to.

I’m so excited to share our organized kitchen today. We took photos on a random day two weeks after we set it up and I didn’t touch or stage a thing. It looks like an ad for The Container Store because she helped put systems into place that would last. They’re pretty idiot-proof.

Anel calls me the messiest clean person he knows because I keep our house looking spotless but the drawers are generally a mess unless I set myself up for success. Having organized systems in place makes me feel more comfortable and relaxed in the kitchen and makes me want to cook and bake more because I know it won’t be a hassle to get things in and out of drawers. I always know exactly where everything is and the amount of joy that feeling organized brings to my Type-A self is unreal.

A note on childproofing: I got a lot of comments asking about how we keep our supplement/medicine drawer child-safe. We use these magnetic safety locks and keep the magnets out of reach for any drawers or cabinets that we don’t want Amalia getting into. We haven’t childproofed that drawer yet because it’s too high for her to reach but as soon as she’s close to it, we will be adding the magnetic lock.

Sweater / Jeans / Kitchen Mat (gifted)

Spice Drawer:

Lemon Stripes Spice Drawer
How to Organize a Spice Drawer

Making me a spice drawer was actually Jonesie’s housewarming gift to us and it is my favorite part of the whole kitchen, hands down. I smile every time I open this drawer. She bought twist-top spice tins with clear tops but then made her own labels with a label maker because we wanted them to be white with black writing. She put the tins on top of drawer liners so that they stay in place without sliding around.

She’s also making me tell you that the thyme is crooked because she wasn’t here the day we took pictures. But normally it is lined up perfectly. I’m not a monster! 🙂

We placed all of the spices we use in alphabetical order and then put the extras that didn’t fit in the back so we can refill as we run out. When I left for a meeting and Stef was labeling she asked if I cared what the labels said for each area and I said just do whatever you would do in your own house. The fact that this drawer says spice up your life and brings me back to my Spice Girl fandom days is a fantastic touch.

Utensil Drawers:

I wanted really easy access to my cooking utensils so I can just reach in and grab what I need from the stove. She put the utensils to the right of the stove which accomplished that. All it took was a clear divider with three sections and some drawer liners to make this work. I needed a solution where I could take things out and put them in quickly without thinking about it and the divider allows that to happen. All the spatulas are in one section, all the wooden spoons are in one section, and the metal utensils are to the right.

I didn’t get a photo of the other utensil drawer but it’s essentially the same setup but with a garlic press, can opener, lemon juicer, vegetable peeler, and other small gadgets. We also brought our shallow clear dividers from the old house for silverware.

The pantry:

We don’t have a closet pantry so Stef turned our entire island into the pantry. The three top drawers are used as a tea and tea towel drawer (Jonesie had to get creative with that one), the middle is a supplement drawer (shown at the bottom of this post), and the third is a junk/everything drawer.

The cabinets below the drawers are all filled with food. I didn’t photograph all of them because we’re still waiting on a few containers to arrive but here you can see a can/grain drawer which is divided with a drawer divider, a breakfast drawer (my personal favorite), and Amalia’s drawer which is at her level so she can grab snacks or a water cup.

We were able to reuse a bunch of the OXO pop-top containers that I had in my old house (here) by simply moving the labels to the top. We used these for loose grains and snacks and baking items like flour and coconut sugar. We also had a lot of these clear bins (which I use all over the house) in all sizes and used them to house packaged goods.

Not pictured is a baking drawer (under the cans/grains) and two snack drawers. One of them has bigger bags of snacks like popcorn and tortilla chips in the large clear bins we love. The other is full of nuts and crackers, all removed from their packaging placed in the pop-top containers for quick and easy snacking.

Cabinets:

There aren’t any organizing products in the dish wear or glass cabinets, but as you can see in the first image above, we used bamboo lazy Susans for condiments, oils, and vinegar. I leave the olive oil and marinara sauce in between because I use them and replenish them so often. The lazy Susans have proven to be the sleeper MVP of kitchen organization in my house. It makes pulling taller bottles out so easy.

Bottles never fall over as I’m grabbing other ones, and I don’t have to pick one or two favorites to go in the front of the cabinets because everything can be in the front with a quick little spin of my girl, Susie.

Under the sink:

While this section isn’t the most beautiful of cabinets, it’s highly functional and feels extremely organized. We used a rubber under-sink mat that will help if there’s ever a leak and also keeps everything in place. Two more lazy Susans and a clear bin (size small) keep everything that we use in easy reach at all times. We put sprays on the left and dish soap/detergent on the right. Other cleaning supplies go in the clear bin in the middle.

In case you’re wondering where all of our other cleaning supplies are for the house, they’re currently in a section of the coat closet that we haven’t quite finished yet. What you see here are the products we use most often.

Supplements:

The supplement storage was the bain of our existence in the old house because Anel and I take a lot of them every day and it used to be hard to pull them out and put them back in so we’d often skip days or just forget. I have not missed one morning of my supplement routine since Stef created this divided drawer. It is divided into 4 sections: Anel’s, mine, “CVS”, and Amalia’s.

We used dividers and drawer liners so that they don’t roll around.

So there you have it! Jonesie is the absolute best and I’d tell you to hire her but she’s pregnant (with twins!) and going on maternity leave soon. Until she’s back in the game, she has some great tips on her blog. A big big thank you to you, Stef, for being a supportive and loving friend, the best organizer in the entire universe (fact) and for letting me post the photo of the crooked thyme. I know it’s killing you inside.

If you have organizing questions for Stef, ask them below and she’ll answer you!

PS this is not a sponsored post. I paid Jonesie for her hard work. Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. Brigid said:

    Such a great use of space! Also, love the nickname. I call one of my dearest friends “Jonesie” as well so that made me smile 🙂

    10.1.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Aww love that. It is so fitting for my friend Stef too. She’s just such a Jonesie!

      10.2.19 · Reply
  2. Libby said:

    OMG. This makes the Type A girl in my so so happy! Like I cannot wait to have a kitchen like this some day 🙂
    I do have organization questions/a dilemma:
    Dilemma= because I am a grad student, and basically live at my desk, it never ever stays neat, and I always waste precious studying time tidying up…
    Question= what I can do with my desk/pens/highlighters/papers/ in the draws etc to help keep me study sanely, ahah!

    xx Libby
    https://premedwearspearls.blogspot.com/

    10.1.19 · Reply
    • Stefanie Jones said:

      Hi Libby! It totally depends on the kind of desk you have and the storage space in the desk. I’m the same though and spend far too much time tidying before I get any work done. Having only what you truly need on the desk is helpful, and having a space for everything to be tucked away can help clear your desk easier. I like using little drawer organizers to contain everything in the drawers, and then using a paper filing system on the desk (or in the drawer is space allows it) so I can file papers away and focus on the task at hand 🙂

      10.5.19 · Reply
  3. Heather said:

    Hi! Do you have any tips on how to save/organize kids art somewhat efficiently?

    Thanks!

    10.1.19 · Reply
    • Alex said:

      I’m curious about this too!

      10.2.19 · Reply
    • Stefanie Jones said:

      Hi! Kid’s art can be so challenging. It can be really hard to toss anything they create, especially when it’s brand new. What I’ve found works best for me is to have a space where all the artwork for the year goes (in my boy’s case, it’s actually for the years leading up to Kindergarten). I actually just use a paper box from Ikea for mine. Every piece of art that’s worthy, I place right in the box. If it’s really good or I can tell they’ve worked really hard on it, I hang it up for a while in my office, then it goes into the box. At the end of the year, I sort through it again. I find that all these pieces that were precious at the time, aren’t as precious anymore so about half get tossed (and I am REALLY sentimental so this says something). Then you can use companies like ARTKIVE to create a photo book of all your kid’s art, or you can create one yourself if you’re crafty.

      Sorry this is so long winded! Hope this helps!

      10.5.19 · Reply
  4. Alyson Albert said:

    Love this post! Would love to see how you organize all of your rooms. So inspirational. I’m definitely stealing the mat under the sink tip. Thanks!

    10.1.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’ll share them as I finish each one! But nothing will be as organized as this I’m pretty sure 🙂

      10.2.19 · Reply
  5. KT said:

    It looks great. I highly recommend storing your medicine in a high cabinet. My mom is a pediatrician, and a toddler she treated got into a low medicine storage area like yours and had to go the ER bc she got into the vitamins. Better safe than sorry, I think.

    10.1.19 · Reply
    • toi said:

      Agreed!

      10.1.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you for the tip! As soon as she can reach it, we will either move it way up or add a child lock. But that is so scary! I hope the toddler was ok!

      10.2.19 · Reply
  6. Athena said:

    You’re a great mama and people need to shut it! The internet brings out the worst in people for sure. Hope you’re feeling better. Love the organization of the kitchen. Even the supplement drawer! 🙂

    10.1.19 · Reply
    • Lauren B. said:

      I don’t think it’s fair to equate people expressing concern about the accessibility of vitamins/supplements/medicine in a home with a toddler to “the internet bringing out the worst in people”. The comments I have seen pointing this out have been fair and simply stated. Readers are clearly taking notes about organization for their own homes so it’s not unreasonable for Julia to include how she child proofs areas like this drawer or the under the sink cleaning supplies. Anyone with young children at home can relate to this challenge to find effective child proofing options that don’t cost a lot, won’t compromise the functionality of their cabinets, and maybe just maybe aren’t aesthetically displeasing.

      10.2.19 · Reply
      • Julia said:

        I agree with this part and should have been more clear. People being helpful and giving tips is wonderful and great! I was referring to the people who were nasty about it (comments deleted). I’m going to add a paragraph now about childproofing, thank you for the idea!

        10.2.19 · Reply
  7. Kris said:

    I have never commented on here before and do enjoy your blog. Obviously there are trolls out there with poor intentions, but I think the majority of the comments came from a good place. No one is calling you a bad mom. Quite frankly, none of your readers unless they know you in person, can assess whether you are a good or bad mom. But, you give out advice frequently on parenting, organizing, health related topics, etc. It’s okay for your followers to comment and voice their own opinion on the topic. Storing harmful and potentially life threatening products out of reach of a child is not really a controversial topic.

    It was not clear in your message yesterday that you were just referencing the “troll” comments. It’s sounds like you were referencing anyone that commented politely, most likely from a place of concern.

    10.2.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You are totally right on that. I appreciate and welcome opinions and comments. I will be more careful in how I phrase things going forward! I was emotional and didn’t think about the fact that you guys can’t see the comments I deleted.

      10.2.19 · Reply
  8. Inna said:

    Love how you organized your drawers, especially the spice drawer!

    http://innapishtoy.com/

    10.2.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      The spice drawer is a thing my dreams are made of 🙂

      10.6.19 · Reply