How to Set Up Your Kitchen 2

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You’ve completed the first steps of setting up your kitchen in a new home. Now it’s time to tackled the rest of the kitchen. Grab your Setting Up Your New Kitchen Checklist and let’s get to work. 

How to Set Up Your Kitchen – Part 2

Second Phase:

 4.  I locate pot holders, hot pads and trivets in a drawer near the stove.  The time I will need a hot pad is when I have a hot pot and that will be at the stove.  In my current house, we have a cook top and a separate wall oven.  They’re located 8 feet apart.  I’ve chosen to put hot pads in 2 different drawers; one near the cook top and one near the oven.

5.  I put pots and pans in a cabinet near the stove.  There are usually 1 or 2 cabinets large enough to hold pots and pans near the stove.  Place the lids in the cabinet with the pots and pans. 

6.  There’s usually one tall, thin cabinet near the stove where you can place cookie sheets, cooling racks and cutting boards.  If there isn’t a cabinet designed for that purpose, you can often move the shelf up in a regular cabinet to accommodate the cookie sheets.  If possible, store the cookie sheets, cutting boards, etc. vertically because they take up less space and are easier to access by just sliding out the one you need. 

open cabinet with organized spices on turn tables

6.  I prefer to store my spices on a 2-level lazy Susan in a cabinet near where I’ll prepare meals.  This cabinet has been a corner cabinet on the wall with the stove in my past 3 houses.  The spices are conveniently located for food prep but are not too close to the stove (having the spices too close to the stove can effect the shelf life of the spice).

7.  I always locate the dish towels and dish cloths near the sink.  Often there are oddly small drawers or cabinets near the sink.  I put the towels and cloths there. 

My goal is to be able to grab a towel when standing at the sink (usually with wet hands after I realize some one took the dish towel and didn’t put a new one out.  argh!).  In one house with extremely limited cabinet space, I put the towels in a basket sitting on the counter near the sink. 

Third Phase:

Third phase items fill in around the first and second phase items.  You may not have room for all of your third tier items.  You’ll have to assess the “stuff” you have and the space you have and then prioritize

I’ve had to store appliances in other rooms in the house.  This isn’t ideal, but in that situation it was the only solution.  (Plus, I really don’t use the waffle iron or the blender all that often, or not as often as I do cups, dishes. and pots and pans.)

organized wire pantry shelves
two organized cabinet shelves with cans and jars
8.  Although I’ve listed  pantry food items in the third phase, I consider where to store these items while locating tier 1 and 2 items.  If you have a pantry, yea!, this is a no-brainer. But if you don’t have a pantry, look for a cabinet large enough to hold cans, jars and boxes.
You’d like these items located between shoulder and knee level to make it easier to access.   I keep cookies and potato chips on the highest shelf (a deterrent that makes it harder to just grab them unthinkingly). 
Some of my favorite pantry organizing tools are:
9.  Put lighter weight items and seasonal items on the very top shelves and in that impossible cabinet over the refrigerator.  I put seasonal serving bowls and dishes over the refrigerator because once a year I can handle the hassle of accessing that silly cabinet. 
I also put light weight plastic storage containers, plastic serving bowls and my plastic colander on a higher shelf.  If those fall down as I reach for them, it may hurt if it hits me, but it won’t hurt if it hits me.

10.  I put heavy items on the very lowest shelves.  If these items fall, I want them closer to the ground to minimize damage.   I also place seldom used items on awkward bottom shelves.

lunch boxes and water bottles organized in bins in a kitchen cabinet

11.  Ideally, you’d like to locate items into usable zones, e.g. the baking zone will contain bowls, mixer, flour, sugar, cookie cutter, and so on.  This has been possible for me in about 50% of my kitchens.  But it’s still a goal when possible. 

In my current kitchen I have a pull-out designated as the lunch box zone.  With 3 children and a hubby taking lunch each day, we have a whole lotta lunch box stuff.  With everything located in one spot, packing 20 lunch boxes a week is just a little bit easier for everyone.

12.  When my children were younger, it was important to have a craft area in the kitchen. They could color or glue while I was working in the kitchen.  I wanted them doing these messy activities at the kitchen table. 

When I didn’t have the luxury of a dedicated cabinet for crafts, I tucked a rolling drawer unit in a corner.  Once, in a teeny tiny kitchen, a plastic dish tub with coloring books and crayons was all I could fit.

Setting up your new kitchen is simple if you approach it methodically.  If you can do a puzzle (and I really don’t like puzzles much), then you’ll have no problem unpacking and setting up your kitchen.

To review how to set up your kitchen when moving into a new home, simple click the previous page button.

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  1. I realize this post is a few years old, but I want to thank you for laying out your method for kitchen organization so clearly. We’ve moved several times (also a military family), but organizing is not a natural talent for me, and hasn’t gotten any easier with all our moves. Our HHG shipment arrives in a couple days, and I feel ready to tackle the endless kitchen boxes now. Thank you!!

    1. Hi, Lani. So glad that you found these tips helpful. With 20+ military moves, you know I understand your military move challenges. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions at iorganize31 (at) gmail (dot) com. Wishing you all the best in your new home!

  2. It may also take extra time. My mom rearranged the kitchen FOUR TIMES in the first 6 months they lived in the their current house. In less than a year, she decided the built-in pantry/coat closet HAD. TO. GO. This was for several reasons:
    1. The shelves were really deep, and it extended all the way to the ceiling, but that 5’ of space was useless to my mom, who was only 5’2” (plus the door was only an average size door, extending to to 10’ ceiling).
    2. It made the kitchen so small and cramped, you could barely turn around. And couldn’t open the pantry door if another person was prepping.
    3. It blocked the cooker from the rest of the family….or the whole family had to stand IN the kitchen (and my mom liked to chit chat while cooking).

    So they knocked down the pantry/coat closet, installed a bar/prep counter on the exact floor square the closets had been, and then had a built-in pantry built in the corner of the dining area—a pretty useless corner too.

    I think she rearranged the kitchen another 4-5 times after that whole project was done!

    1. It sounds like I’d be great friends with your mom, Sarah! You brought up a great point. Sometimes you have to live in a space to find out what will work (and not work) for you in a space. You should always make adjustments until you find what works best for you.

  3. I’m sitting in the middle of 200 boxes from our last military move. Your article makes me think it will all be ok. Thanks

    1. I feel your pain, Tavey. It will feel like home for you soon. Just tackle one box at a time and prioritize what to unpack. And feel free to email me if you have any questions or just want to chat with someone who really does understand. You’ve got this.

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