Posts tagged ‘storage solutions’

July 30, 2012

Moving Monday::Kitchen Basics

by heatherkp

We’ve finally landed in our new home.  It’s been a LONG haul and a very much anticipated transition with bumps and curves along the way that no one could have anticipated.  We’ve been “in” the house for just a week now and we are quickly coming to love it.

We feel very lucky to have found it, it’s pretty much exactly what we were looking for in a fantastic location.  After living in a house in MD that was big but still didn’t fit our needs and then not having any space of our own we feel like we’ve found just the right size which includes a new studio space for me to create art and textiles and a workshop for my husband’s tools and business.

Now to share with you some of what we’ve been doing in the house and some tips on organizing your way through unpacking.  Start with the basics!  Last week I mentioned some supplies to have on hand to make the transition easier but the next step should be to get your Bedroom(s), Bathroom and Kitchen set up.  These are the first areas I unpacked since I wanted to be able to really start using the space.  I got the clothes in the closets (removing all the wardrobe boxes from the picture), next came unpacking luggage into our dressers and linens and toiletries into the linen closet and bathroom.  With these practical things out of the way we could find clothes to dress and go about our normal routine.  May seem obvious but man did it feel great to put clothes into drawers and closets after living out of luggage for quite some time!  But I’ll share closet organization in another post…

Next I focused on the kitchen.  I had 20 boxes of kitchen, dining room and bar supplies!  We have a small house built shortly after WWII and the kitchen is a galley type with no pantry.  I have 1 curio and 1 china cabinet to fit all our non-essential dining items and I was quite concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in the cabinets!

Somehow I managed, with room to spare (not much).  I started by really thinking about how I would use each zone of the kitchen and since it’s not eat in I wanted the dishes and silverware to be easy to access from the dining room (which adjoins the kitchen).  I determined which items I wanted in each cabinet and drawer (roughly) and then started the process of unpacking and putting things away.  As I came across the inevitable items I’d forgotten about and didn’t yet have space for I set them aside on the dining room table.  I also mentally reserved space in certain spaces for these and other larger items as I worked through each box and cabinet.  Since I don’t have much counter space our microwave, toaster and mixer are the three items I knew I would have to keep out.  The rest of the small appliances went into the cabinets.

I had certain organizing pieces/tools I used that are flexible and can be made to fit various configurations, like baskets,  that hang from the shelves (below) and risers (above), these can be great help if you have tall cabinets and in some situations they can almost double your useable space.  I find that containing smaller items (like lids, spices, utensils etc) in baskets or bins makes the space easier to keep tidy and it makes it easier to grab what you need and return the rest without disrupting everything around.

Finally there were the cleaning supplies under the sink.  I wish I could tell you the name of this contraption that I used, I’ve had it for ages and the great thing is that the “shelves” snap in place and can be configured around pipes and other obstacles.  I’ve used it in the last 2 houses and it’s a great organizing tool (I’ll see if I can find it and post a link soon).

Overall I had to be flexible and re-think how I organized quite a few things since I use to have a pantry and a lot fewer drawers.  These cabinets are also much deeper than I was use to, which makes for extra storage but I will have to move things to get to the less used items.  That’s okay with me.  Each person has to customize their space to their needs and that’s the fun of organizing for me, finding a fit for each person’s specific needs and desires.

PS…I have no garbage disposal in this kitchen and that white bin on the top left is my compost bucket:) fits perfectly!

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July 2, 2012

Moving Monday::Living like a Gypsy

by heatherkp

I haven’t said a whole lot about our move for several months now because we have been in a holding pattern.  We have been living like Gypsies honestly, going from place to place…and were settled into a lovely furnished home downtown Charleston for May and June.  We found it too difficult to search the real estate market and make the necessary new connections in a new city living an hour away so being in a temporary furnished place for a short period really allowed us to make the  get to know the city and get down to business.  The time there came to an end yesterday and I will always have fond memories since it’s time spent really getting to know the city on foot and in person.

Onward we move though and we packed it all up over the last few days for our final temporary stay before we settle into the new place we found.  After looking for several months and at over 30 places (the rental market right now is extremely competitive!) we are VERY excited about this home, it has everything we are looking for and it’s in a fantastic location.  We are renting and we found a real estate agent who was super helpful but we also put the word out to anyone and everyone we know and scoured the papers and craigslist.  In the end, we found something through word of mouth. I’m now in the process of setting up all the utilities, TV, internet etc.  Next we will line up a truck for moving day and try to enlist whatever help we can get…it feels like we are down to the final stretch!

I have to admit that we have been lugging around so much (i.e. too much) stuff over the past 8 months living in various locations and taking trips back and forth to here and there…I have had my moments where I just wanted to toss it all out for a more simple life but I didn’t because as organized as I am, I love my stuff!  I will say that after moving so much around for so long, I have learned to edit more quickly and more often.  I have many hobbies that require stuff like knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, reading and more so I doubt I will ever be living a super minimalist lifestyle.  If you have ever lived somewhere temporarily with the majority of  your stuff in storage you probably know the feeling and just know, you are not alone and you will have certainly learned some valuable things about yourself before it’s all over.  I have learned to keep things sorted and separated by category (in bags, boxes and bins), to stick to some kind of regular routine and pattern, edit often and a bit more ruthlessly than I use to, get good rest (because all this moving is exhausting) and probably most importantly I have learned to be flexible and make due with what I have where I am.  I also make a lot of lists and check and double check where I’ve put things, especially if its a very important item.  We have traveled with a portable file box and our fireproof safe box for certain important things and this gives me peace of mind, it’s really a scaled down version of my normal system.

Have you ever lived like a gypsy?  If so did you love it and what did you learn?

All this moving

June 18, 2012

Makeover Monday::Kitchen Edition

by heatherkp

Disclaimer:: These photo’s are not very good and I apologize, I think those of you who regularly read my blog know that I’m normally a much better photographer.  These were taken with  my new phone and I’m still getting use to the settings.  Okay, on with it.  This project was in a very small home (just over 800 Sq’) in the historic Byrnes Down neighborhood.  The homes in this neighborhood were built in the 40’s as “war homes” and their sizes reflect this historic fact.  This particular house is the home of 2 adults and 2 kids who love to cook and entertain but their very limited cabinet/cupboard space has made it challenging.   In the 4 hours we worked, we tackled 6 of the 8 cabinets in the kitchen.  These 6 cabinets must hold ALL the food and dishes.  The remaining 2 cabinets are under the sink and above the refrigerator.

Above the sink-Open cabinet

Because this is an open cabinet (i.e. dust will accumulate etc) I wanted it to be filled with frequently used items that were not cluttered looking so we opted for glasses and a few serving pieces.  The top shelf contains seasonal and less used items.

Dishes and Glasses

The daily china and smaller glasses stayed in this cabinet.  Less frequently used barware was moved to the dining room and a shelf riser was installed to double the amount of short glassware and coffee mug storage.  Again the top shelf contains fine china and less frequently used items.

Lower Storage Left

The opposite side of the kitchen (this is a galley style kitchen) only contains 4 cabinets.  This side has a trash can that lives in front of one side so the left had to store less frequently used items such as larger serving pieces and small appliances/accessories.  Whenever possible I like to use containers to keep like items together, this makes it easy to locate the items when you need them and know exactly where to put them away.  We took advantage of the tall space to use another riser for canned goods.  A few frequently used utensils hang on the inside of the door since there are only 2 drawers in this kitchen.

Lower Storage Right

This side (of the oven/stove) holds the cooking items and every day items used to make the kids lunches.  By corralling all the wraps, bags, foil etc. into a door mounted unit these items are now easily accessible without bending down and digging through the cookware.  The deep cabinets allowed for this good size unit to be installed and the other door can still be used if needed.  Doors are a great place to store things when space is tight.

Food Storage Upper Left

All the food staples need to fit into two cabinets less than 30″ wide.  The other drawback to these cabinets is the lack of shelving, with only 2 useable shelves in each it was necessary to bring in shelf risers to accommodate more storage.  The client may install additional risers or shelves in the future to fit even more in but we decided to work within boundaries of only purchasing 4 items (2 shelf risers, one stepped spice rack and the inside the door unit for the foil etc). The top shelf contains baking goods and other less frequently used foods.

Food Storage Upper Right

Lastly the upper right cabinet contains the more frequently used breakfast and snack foods as well as pastas, rice and other staples on the top shelf (where a step stool can be used to access them relatively easily).  When its constantly necessary to use a step stool I recommend finding a small collapsible one that can be mounted on the wall or slid into a tight space for easy accessibility.

Shortly after leaving this client she sent me this email:

“So excited to use our organized kitchen! Thank you Heather!”

As with all organizing projects it’s important to re-evaluate how well the changes you made are working for you.  I will follow up with this client to tweak things and be sure the “system” is working for them.