Published on Dec 30, 2018

Tour: I re-organized my kitchen

We just finished a three-day re-organization of our whole apartment. I got some new appliances and pans for Christmas, so I had to figure out how to fit them into our tiny galley kitchen. I’m really pleased with what I came up with.

Here’s a tour of my kitchen that nobody asked for.

A galley kitchen

The stove

First up: the stove. I leave my four most frequently used pans on the stovetop. From top-left clockwise:

  • Wok, mostly for frying
  • 12-inch cast iron pan
  • Stainless steel pan
  • Crappy nonstick pan. Only ever used for bacon and eggs

A stove with a wok, cast iron pan, stainless steel saute pan, and a nonstick pan

The oven

I don’t want to talk about it.

The left-of-stove

The left-of-stove countertop is my main workspace. It’s home to my cutting board, utensils, scale, butter, dish, and three-tier produce basket.

A countertop with a cutting board, digital scale, butter dish, two jars of utensils, and a basket of onions, garlic, ginger, and citrus

Hanging a produce basket behind the stove is one of the best improvements I’ve ever made to this kitchen. I keep lemons, limes, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, avocados, and onions here, always in-reach from my cutting board.

The drawer below this countertop is immediately next to the oven, so I keep pot holders and silicone oven mitts inside. Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, wax paper, cling wrap, and my collection of fast food condiments found a good home here too.

A kitchen drawer with cling wrap, aluminum foil, wax paper, ziploc bags, silicon mitts, pot holders, and various fast food condiments

(Shout out to Instant Pot for shipping with silicone mitts, they’re super useful)

The right-of-stove

I’m right-handed, so this countertop is where I put my spoon after I’ve stirred a pot, or where I reach for my spatula when I need to flip a burger. It’s my control center.

A countertop with an Instant Pot and a collection of spices

The Instant Pot is a new addition. I got it for Christmas and was hesitant to give it primetime space on the counter, but after making a few meals with it, I realized it’s so versatile that it totally deserves a seat next to my favorite pans.

I keep salt, pepper, and my most frequently-used spices next to the stove inside the lid of a fancy cake tin. I keep kosher salt in a large bowl with a 12 tsp. spoon, and finely-ground salt in a shot glass for baking.

The drawer below this countertop is for extraneous utensils—tools I need, but don’t use often enough to keep in the open where they’ll get dusty. The white box in this drawer is the lid of a box of pralines we got for Christmas.

A kitchen drawer with a bunch of utensils

Above-the-stove storage

The left cupboard above the stove is for canned foods, grains, pasta, seeds, nuts, and other dried things. I don’t reach for these items terribly often, but they’re readily-accessible when I need them. I keep this cupboard shut as much as possible to reduce the nuts’ light exposure.

A kitchen cupboard with dried goods, canned goods, nuts, seeds, dried fruits

The right cupboard is for oils, vinegars, and baking supplies. The oils are on the bottom shelf so I can reach them as I stand at the stove. I use canola oil almost every time I cook, so it sits at the front, with coconut oil and olive oil immediately behind it.

I keep this cupboard closed when I’m not cooking to reduce light exposure and prevent the oils from oxidizing.

A kitchen cupboard with oils, vinegars, hot sauces, and baking supplies

I hate rifling around my drawers for measuring spoons, so I put these magnetic measuring spoons on my Christmas list, and I absolutely love them. They sit on the stove’s hood, always in reach. I use them so frequently that even though they’re lying flat in the open, they don’t get dusty.

A set of magnetic measuring spoons attached to the hood of a stove

Under-the-stove storage

I recently acquired a food processor and a blender, but we have limited counterspace, so I can’t keep them on the counter. Figuring out where to store big appliances stumped me for a while, but I think I came up with a reasonable solution.

There’s an outlet in this cupboard below the stove, so when I need to use the blender or food processor, I’ll plug it in inside the cupboard, and set it on the floor to use it. Not glamorous, but it’ll do. There’s a waffle maker, immersion blender, and a hand mixer hiding in there too.

A kitchen cupboard with a food processor and blender

Extra pans are stored immediately below the stove. My favorite sauce pans and stock pot are at the front, crappy pans get moved to the back.

A kitchen cupboard with pans

The last cupboard below the stove is for baking sheets and baking tins. My cooling racks sit on the bottom shelf on a paper towel, since they tend to get greasy (I fry a lot of meats). There’s normally a big jug of peanut oil to the right of the racks, but I just ran out.

A kitchen cupboard with baking sheets and tins

High-traffic storage

In every kitchen there are items you reach for every day. In our household, it’s coffee/tea, mixing bowls, measuring cups, lids, and a few other baking dishes. We keep these items in open storage right outside of the kitchen.

There’s extra space on these shelves, but items stored here collect dust quickly, so until I think of something that deserves a home here, it’ll remain unoccupied.

A shelf with mixing bowls, a coffee maker, coffee, tea, and measuring cup

The sink

Dish soap in a pump dispenser, a two-sided sponge cut in half (smaller sponges are easier to clean with), and rubber gloves (to protect my nails).

A kitchen sink with dish soap, a sponge, and rubber gloves

Plates, bowls, and a countertop

These shelves didn’t see too many changes during the re-organization, and what’s inside is pretty self-explanatory. Plates, bowls, and more bowls. I did however clear space for my wireless charging pad which is a game changer. Being able to charge my phone safely tucked away from water, food splatters, and spills is so good.

This countertop used to house the blender, which took up way too much space. Clearing it completely means I can use it to knead and roll out dough, set out my prepped ingredients and spices, or stack dishes after preparing a particularly messy or large meal.

I keep clean kitchen towels in the drawer peeking out below the counter.

A cupboard with plates and bowls and an empty countertop

Cups, cutlery, and another countertop!

Not much to say about the cups and mugs. They’re cups!

I’m really excited about this countertop though. We used to dry our dishes in a giant drying rack that took up the whole counter. It also built up a layer of scum and filth that we had to clean regularly. Gross. We got rid of it and replaced it with a kitchen towel. We try to do our dirty dishes right away and put them away as soon as they’re dry, so most of the time, we’ll be able to hang the towel up and use the countertop! Hell yeah.

Silverware and chopsticks are in the drawer below, which is convenient, because now I have space to plate dishes on this counter.

A cupboard with cups and mugs, and a countertop with dishes drying

Spices

I bulk store spices in 4 oz. Ball jars in the cupboard left of the sink. We have a serious cockroach problem here in Texas, so it’s important that I keep my spices in roach-proof containers. I originally kept them in bags, but I’ve learned that roaches will happily chew through plastic bags to get a taste of paprika (I mean…wtf?)

I organize the jars alphabetically in 9x13 baking tins. Each tin holds 12 jars, and they stack well. I’ll probably add a third tier soon.

A kitchen cupboard with a bunch of spices in small jars, labeled and organized alphabetically

I also keep our toaster and spice grinder on the shelf immediately below these spices.

Recipes, food storage, and appliance manuals

The cupboard to the right of the sink is a safe space for recipe books, hand-written recipes, and manuals for kitchen appliances. We also keep plastic cups, popsicle sticks, and straws down here. And yes, we occassionally use straws. Don’t @ me.

And of course, my favorite HEB-branded food storage containers.

A kitchen cupboard with recipe books, straws, and plastic food storage containers

That’s it! I cook a lot, so even small improvements to my kitchen go a long way to make my life easier. This is my best kitchen yet, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves over time.