Organizing the Kitchen

Whenever I’ve moved, organizing my kitchen has been my most anticipated and most dreaded task. It always takes some tweaking to make sure it works, but here are some tried and true rules for organizing and setting up your kitchen, along with some notes that work for me.

  1. Keep like items together.
    No need to have different kinds of plates in different cabinets. Keep it simple and keep your sanity.
  2. Store stuff where it makes sense.
    Basics: dishes near the dining area, glasses near wherever you usually get most of your drinks (sink, fridge, wherever), mugs and coffee stuff near each other, cooking tools near the stove.

 

Things that work for me

  1. I love having all my stuff within arm’s reach when I’m cooking. This means using all the available space, mostly because my kitchen is small and I don’t have a lot of other options: magnetic knife rack on the side of the cabinet, crock with cooking utensils, towel rack on the side of the cabinet, and well-curated tools in a highly organised drawer (seriously…stuff only fits in there one way…). There are perks to having a small kitchen! I never have to move to get what I need.
  2. Use the outside of cabinets. Listen, I’m all about a clean, streamlined look, but that gets a little rough when the insides of your cabinets are running out of space!
  3. COMMAND HOOKS. I have like eighty of these around our house, and about two-thirds of them are in the kitchen. I use them mostly for hanging stuff on the backs of cabinet doors: pot lids in the pantry, potholders and strainers in the workhorse cabinet, a paper file in the pantry that holds the plates for our griddler, strips to hang magazine files that hold parchment/aluminum foil/wax paper. Lots. Of. Storage.
  4. Shelf stackers have gotten us a lot more storage in our cabinets!
  5. Hanging wire baskets are another great storage multiplier, although I find them a little more difficult to work with than the shelf stackers. That’s partly because there’s a definite weight limit to these guys. We use ours for plastic baggies and (currently) ice trays.
  6. Over-the-door baskets are great under our sink and keep things in arm’s reach but out of sight. Which I kinda love.
  7. I keep less frequently used items in clearly marked, see-through boxes in the top of my pantry. That makes it easy to get out what I need a couple times a week (canning stuff, or cookie cutters, or my stick blender), but don’t need readily accessibility to at all times.
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Dressing Up | Oatmeal

There’s little that can be as filling as oatmeal for breakfast. It’s full of good carbs and, when cooked well and mixed with the right things, it’s downright COZY. It’s also a milk-booster for nursing moms, so sign me up! However, the same thing over and over for breakfast can get boring, and for me to eat breakfast, it basically has to be ready to eat when I get up with little or nothing more to do than pop it in the microwave. So my stipulation in searching out these options were that they 1) had to be make-ahead-able or require extremely little effort and 2) had to really vary in flavor so I don’t get sick of this nutritious goodness. Here are some great ideas for dressing up your morning bowl.

Classics:

  • maple syrup, pecans, bananas (super easy if you just keep chopped pecans on hand–I’m actually SUPER lazy and pull out as many pecans as I need the night before–and slice the banana in the morning)
  • diced apples, cinnamon, and walnuts
  • blueberries and brown sugar (totally works with any frozen berries too, especially if you’re already heating up the oatmeal again)
  • peaches and cream–add nutmeg and cinnamon to basically have peach pie for breakfast (I absolutely use frozen peaches for this)

Fun ideas:

  • mango and coconut (and cashews? Maybe?)
  • yogurt and orange marmalade
  • peanut butter and strawberry jam
  • banana and molasses
  • maple, brown sugar, sweet potato, and pecans
  • chocolate chips and raspberries
  • banana and nutella

Savory: Totally appropriate for lunch or a quick, solo dinner as well as breakfast. I had to give these names so that my sweet tooth and I are more likely to make them!

  • The Grits Treatment: cheddar cheese, scallions, and a sprinkle of paprika
  • Mexi-Oatmeal: avocado, salsa, and a fried egg
  • The Baked Potato: cheddar, fresh tomatoes, chives, and bacon
  • Oatmeal a la Provence: apples, rosemary, and gruyere

 

What are your best oatmeal hacks? Any favorites that aren’t on this list?