a lifetime supply of almond extract & honey

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, Kitchen, My House, Organizing62 Comments

This week I’ve been working on organizing our kitchen.  It’s one of the spaces that has been bugging me the most (organizationally speaking).  I hadn’t moved things around since we moved in and, after cooking in this kitchen for a year and a half, it has become clear that some things were put in the wrong place initially.

Everything looked neat and orderly from the outside, but there were a few messy cabinets behind those closed doors.

One of the biggest problem areas was the deep, skinny cabinet to the left of the fridge.  I decided to use it for my baking gear and ingredients.  It ended up being okay for the gear since baking dishes, rolling pins, etc. fit well in a deep, narrow space, but it was not working at all for the ingredients.  All of the little jars and boxes were buried, disorganized, and things were hard to find.  I often bought multiples of something simply because I couldn’t find it.

So, I moved the baking ingredients and used that cabinet strictly for things that fit well in the space.

My recipe binder and some cookbooks were above the stove where they were hard to reach and would often slide out at me.  I moved them to the upper cabinet along with some baking dishes I seldom use but didn’t want to get rid of.  (The antique juicer belonged to my great grandmother.)

I need to update my recipe binder!  I put that together when I was a newlywed, so it’s almost 20 years old!  Do you like my block font?  I was laughing at it when I edited this picture.

My favorite cookbooks are on the open shelves between the laundry room and butler’s pantry.

Now I had free space above the stove I filled it with round cake/tart pans, some pots that don’t fit on my pot rack and lids.  The lids were in a jumble in a drawer by the stove, so this was a great solution.  They are organized better and the drawers will be easier to keep tidy.

I moved the baking ingredients to the lazy Susan in the corner cabinet to the left of the stove.  It was filled with just a few bottles of olive oil and wine I use for cooking, but otherwise, it was empty.  All of the ingredients fit easily and now I won’t lose any in the back of a cabinet.

Back in that cabinet was hidden a lifetime supply of Almond Extract!  I guess I kept buying bottles because I couldn’t find it.

I also found seven jars of honey while cleaning out the cabinets.  They were spread out in three different places in the kitchen, so we couldn’t see the honey hoard.   I showed Jeff how much we had and he laughed.  Apparently, he’s been buying a new jar when he can’t open an old one!  Don’t worry, I introduced him to running the lid under hot water.

Thankfully, the honey will never go bad, so all of those bees who gave their life’s work to fill those jars will not have done so in vain.

Another problem area was the skinny cabinet by the stove.  I was trying to keep too much stuffed up in there, so I cleaned out my spices and moved them all to a drawer just to the left of the stove.  I just kept the things I use regularly for cooking here and now I don’t have to dig for what I need.

One of my favorite storage spots is the “dresser” to the right of the stove.  Deep drawers in the kitchen are brilliant and, if ever I design a kitchen from scratch, it will include lots of drawers!

I keep all of my cooking utensils and measuring cups/spoons in the shallowest drawer.  Some bamboo organizers from Ikea happened to fit perfectly to create some division.

I used a small plastic organizer to further divide the small measuring spoons.  (And I know I have a lot!  I went through a big-time cooking/baking phase pre-kids, pre-business and I had a thing for kitchen gear.  I could probably thin them out, but it’s nice when I’m making a few different recipes simultaneously and can just get a clean cup or spoon.)

And, with the lids up over the range hood, the drawers aren’t overloaded and messy.

I do have a few of the largest lids in the bottom drawer with the baking sheets since they were too large to fit in the upper cabinet.  These are relatively contained, though.

Just ignore the state of my cookie sheets!  I always use foil or parchment paper, so I’m not too concerned about how they look!

I won’t show you inside every cabinet, but those were the problem areas and how I addressed them.  With the rest of the cabinets, I straightened things out, moved some things around, and made sure the stuff I use most is easily accessible.  I did a pretty good job getting rid of things when I moved, so I am only bringing a few things to the thrift store.

We might eventually add sliding shelves to some of the bottom cabinets to make things even easier to reach, but it’s fine for now.

One thing that has gone on my to-do list, though, is painting the inside of the trim on the bottom of the cabinets.  I didn’t do that when I painted the cabinets and I can often see that unpainted wood in my pictures.  It won’t take long and it’ll be a nice finishing detail.

All of the changes happened behind closed doors, so it’s not a dramatic makeover, but it is to me.   The changes are not only more functional, but it feels more like we’re fully settled into the kitchen.  It’s no longer in the post-move-dump state, but everything is in a well-thought-out place.

And just for fun, here is how the kitchen looked shortly after we moved in.  We already had a new dishwasher installed (the old one was damaged from hard water), hung the pot rack, and switched out the lights over the island, but everything else was as we bought it.

The change is pretty incredible, isn’t it?

a lifetime supply of almond extract & honey

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62 Comments on “a lifetime supply of almond extract & honey”

  1. I love the results of cleaning and rearranging shelves and cabinets! Your kitchen looks amazing and you’ve done a beautiful job on styling it. I struggle with what and how to decorate the refrigerator top and rarely see them on blogs. What’s your take on frig tops? I remember my mom always kept cereal boxes and a cookie jar on top. hehe

  2. The kitchen has really taken on your personality versus the bland if nice developer look. I really enjoyed seeing the transformation especially because you did it without ripping out everything and starting over.

    I moved recently and hope to get to a kitchen remodel by the end of the year. For now I am soooo missing the drawers I had in my previous kitchen. They make finding things and keeping them organized so much easier.

  3. I was sad to see your grandma’s machine stored away out of sight. Wondering if you might put it out where it can be seen? If it’s not usable, maybe place some faux greenery in a pot inside the middle? That sweet piece of memory deserves to be displayed so you can remember her daily.

  4. Always love looking at cookbook collections. Barefoot Contessa Family Style…such a good one!

    1. I do, too! You can always find great recipes online these days, but I like having the books and use them pretty often.

  5. Your glass knobs and pulls are perfect. Classic, they sparkle but do not overwhelm anything else.

  6. Loved watching the transformation of your kitchen and agree with your thoughts on how one has to live in a place for awhile and then reorganize. Also noticed your jute runner, I’m looking for one as well, where did you purchase it from?

  7. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has ratty cookie sheets and pans and that you didn’t “hide” them from us. I’m always insecure about anyone seeing my hard working cookie sheets. Even though I use parchment on them- I feel the need to hide them if someone is going to be in my kitchen. It’s just a small thing… ♥

    1. Ha, I love it! Who has pristine cooky sheets?! And, since I use parchment or foil, I’m not going to spend time scrubbing them.

  8. I love you showed your cookie sheets that we all have, I love you have more measuring spoons than I have (barely) I love the look of course. I can’t recommend strongly enough for pull out drawers, they are a game changer.

  9. I also have my grandmother’s juicer. It was pretty dinged up so I spray painted it red and found an antique measuring glass that fits it perfectly. It actually works great. I use it all the time for a one lemon, lime or orange recipe. Think about painting yours that wonderful green in your kitchen. As suggested above, you could use it for a unique plant holder. Your kitchen is lovely. Those copper pots are to die for.

  10. Purging and organizing my kitchen was one of the greatest things I ever did!! Moving the pans I use EVERY day to the “eye level” shelf in the pantry and out of the bottom cabinet was life changing. When I came to terms with the fact that I don’t need EIGHT casserole dishes, three without lids, life got real simple…lol!

  11. Looks so neat and tidy! After completing an organizing project, it seems to energize me to do more. Such a good feeling. I thread the lid handle through the handle on the pan, then hang them on the pot rack. Lack of space initially forced the issue, but even now with more space it continues to work well for me. Love reading your blog, you are such an inspiration. Thanks!

  12. I put a small lazy susan inside the small cabinet next to my stove for the spices I use on a regular basis. It has helped to keep them from getting out of control! I love how “real” your kitchen is!

    1. I have several small lazy susans for spices too, they save so much space don’t they…and so easy to find things…especially if they’re organized. Did I just admit I do that??? So fun to see your kitchen…inside and out! I think it’s so beautiful.

  13. Hi Marian – I love the kitchen.. it looks Fabulous 🙂

    Would you share what brand the white casserole pans are that are in the bottom of the cabinet with the measuring cups… l love the shape.

  14. I love all the changes that you’ve made to your kitchen. It feels so good to organize and to be able to make a check mark on your list of things to “do”!

  15. Marian, you’re amazing! Thanks for sharing these great ideas! Everything looks so beautiful and we can all use these great tips to help us get organized! I did laugh along about your comments on the cookie sheets. 😀 I think we all have the same problem – if we actually use them. It’s so refreshing to me to see those little reminders. By the way, I never noticed the underside of your cabinet trim until you pointed it out.
    I was also wondering about the lovely white casserole dishes. I really like your measuring spoons. They are unusual and the shape looks like they would fit inside the spice containers. I try to gently pour my spices into round measuring spoons that don’t fit inside the bottles and always seem to spill and/or get too much into whatever I’m making.
    Love the French flair you’ve added with your Copper Pots & Pans!

    1. Thank you, Karen! Those white baking dishes were a HomeGoods score. I love the classic shapes of them and they come in a nice range of sizes. They were also around $8-12/each! You can find a set of those oblong measuring spoons at any good cooking store and they will last forever. I’ve had mine for over 15 years.

  16. Hi. I just found your website and am enjoying looking around at all your projects. I love to cook and was inspired by your arrangement of your cupboards–I will go back and look at mine through your eyes and see if I can make them work better.

    A tiny suggestion to you: I also stack my pots and pans due to space constraints-and let’s face it- sheer number of pans. Look around for some asterisk-shaped (***) felt seperators. I found some at TJ Maxx and Amazon carries them to see a picture. They will NOT meet your color requirements for your kitchen but you can use them as a pattern-they have graduated sizes- and make your own. They are a game changer–just like the deep drawers! No more clanging and your pans’ non stick coatings are protected. Now I don’t wince when I look at those stacked pans. Off to more looking around!

    1. They are holding up well! There are a few nicks and dings in the cabinets we use the most, but that’s normal with painted cabinets.

  17. Wow! Your kitchen is beautiful!
    Could you please tell me what kind of toaster oven you have? It looks like the one that is an air fryer, also. Just curious because I need one.

    1. It is a Kitchen Aid and it’s the best toaster oven we’ve ever had! I was looking for one that wouldn’t be a visual black hole on the counter and this one blends in nicely and works very well.

  18. I seem to have missed the decorating gene but this organizing is my kind of thing. Love everything you did here. Can you remember where you found the bamboo trays in the tall cabinet by your frig? I have an ancient one just like it and would love to find more. Thank you!

    1. They were from my Oma’s attic, so they are vintage. We’ve lost a few over the years and I’d like to find more, too. I have come across them before and antique stores and yard sales, etc.

  19. I think I rearranged our kitchen every summer for three years before I finally figured out the best system for our kitchen. And I love your recipe binder! I wouldn’t change it at all if I were you. I have a similar one that I first created about 18 years ago but I got super fancy and used a CD of clip art that my husband bought me as a gift. I’ve changed the binder several times but I have a fondness for the young newlyweds who spent a fun evening picking clip art for section dividers.

  20. Love it all!!! I get the bug every New Years…so I’ve been at it now too.
    Your soy sauce and Lea & Perrin’s need to be refrigerated …..IF they are opened. I LOVE Lea & Perrin’s!!!! I been known to take a hit off the bottle!!!!…lololo…seriously!

    1. Oh…I forgot to say…I have one of those lazy Susan cubbards… I use it for appliances that I don’t want to see all the time. Are you going to like to bend when baking?

  21. And now you are ready to bake! I have my baking ingredients arranged just as you do on the Lazy Susan corner cabinet in my kitchen. In fact, I did a double take since your photo looks so much like my storage. I hope you find it as handy as do to spin that baby and find what you need. Happy Baking!

  22. Love your kitchen, mine is a tiny galley style, with about 6 small cabinets . I do have a pretty nifty idea
    I use a vintage metal dish drainer for my pot lids works great and they can’t fall out the sides.

  23. Everything looks wonderful…congrats on the undertaking! I just installed pull outs in my large bottom cabinet…a 2 story one…back and knee saving whe looking for something!

  24. I just returned to your blog after a couple years. When did you move? Are you on a farm now? I’m not in the furniture phase anymore but your topics still interest me. We also moved to a one of the Philly suburbs from another state. Areyou still in the Gettysburg area

  25. I have that same juicer, although mine is all the silver color. Even had the original glad measuring cup. I love it. My mom got it at a salvage she work at back in the 50s. As far as baking pans, I just feel they are well loved and used when they look like yours. Mine are the same. And I also use parchment or foil on them. Love your blog and glad to have you here in MN. We are up in the Midwest part of MN.

  26. Yes, drawers in the kitchen was a must for me when i did mine over, so much easier, just open them and you can see everything in them, everything looks so pretty in your kitchen, very nice

  27. Love the organization! Everything in its place and a place for everything. What is the brand of your hot water kettle? I am looking for a white one to blend into our white kitchen. Thank you!

  28. always feels good to find just the right place for things. We remodeled ur kitchen and its taken me a couple of years to find the proper place even though I thought I knew at the time. Your counters made the biggest impact on your kitchen…I love my quartz too…

  29. Funny , I had a super cool old cookie sheet, dark baked on stuff. I accidentally left it in the oven and hit ” clean” well you can’t open it once you start the process. It came out like a brand new sheet. But I liked it the other way…. I love your idea about what to do with the pot Lids. How handy 😊 And your kitchen is gorgeous!!!

  30. Everything looks wonderful. I absolutely love the blues and greens of your kitchen and dining room…and how those colors are carried out throughout the house yet with unique combinations so nothing every feels too matchy-matchy. I’m curious if you like your Kitchenaid electric kettle? Does it have an auto shut-off? I’m on the hunt for one, but having never owned one, I don’t even know what features to look for. I love that that one is pretty enough to leave out on the counter.

  31. LOVE WHAT YOU’VE DONE…

    I worked as a chef in NY for some years and I know there is nothing more important that the way a kitchen is organized. Your’s is perfect. I owned my apt in NYC and was able to do anything I wanted so I gutted it and made the kitchen the focus, both in size and feeling. In LA I rent and, while I live in what could be called an ‘old’ building for Los Angeles (1930s, lol), the kitchen is tiny. The other rooms are large and lovely but I had to do a lot to the kitchen to make it work and not everything I would want to because I don’t own it. The thing that gives me joy every time I see it is a curtain rod for utensils that I use every day. I put it between cabinets and above the sink. I never need to dry anything on it because the utensils drip into the sink! I also put up a shelf above the sink with hooks that hold the colander and some strainers and they, too, drip into the sink, along with cutting boards that hang on hooks. I never have to open a drawer for the things I use the most. It’s fun making things functional and I wish I could do more here. Your kitchen is so gorgeous. Mine is, well… functional, ha ha. Don’t know if you can get these images but thought you might appreciate the concept. It would look better if my utensil bar was not in front of a window but it’s the only place for it and it is nice to see the flowers in the yard (especially in January!) while I’m standing at the sink.

    Super job and thanks for sharing it with us!
    Alexis

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  32. You’re so correct in stating that you have to work in a kitchen for a while to determine the logical places for things. And I laughed at your Almond Extract and Honey hoard! I had almost a year of spaghetti-dementia and wound up with enough pasta for the Italian army!

    My brother-in-law built my mother sliding shelves for her lower cabinets using drawer slides, plywood and 1/2 round molding on the edges. Easy, cheap and doubled the use of those cabinets!

    I do love your kitchen, especially the green accents.

  33. Can you recall what the PATTERN of your beautiful floral sterling silver flatware is? It is shown in the same drawer as all your measuring spoons…I covet that silverware!

    Also, about the almond extract…my friend just told me what she had to pay per ounce for pure vanilla extract and I did not believe her until I googled it. I bought 16 ounces of King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract several years ago and now I feel like I need to lock it up because it is priceless.
    Love your blog, products and decorating ideas.

  34. I have a very well equipped “batterie de cuisine” and do a fair amount of cooking. A lot of gear has accumulated over the years. When I had my kitchen cabinets and appliances replaced ten years ago, I extended the island and one cabinet by about 8 inches each and fitted them with slide out drawers. A relatively small change has made all the difference in the world. All of my ceramic, glass and stoneware baking dishes fit in one cabinet. Small appliances not used every day plus some miscellaneous equipment are in another, and my cooking pots are in a third cabinet. Unfortunately , drawers are not practical for under the cooktop and sink due to the exhaust pipe and drains, respectively.

    Right now, my daughter and her young family live with me so the entire kitchen, including the pantry closets, need to be decluttered and rearranged. When they move out in six weeks (!!), a lot of duplicates items (like three bottles of hot sauce) will go with her and I will tackle the kitchen. It is so much easier to work when everything is easy to access and neat.

  35. I LOVE the changes you’ve made to your kitchen. We remodeled ours several years ago and the best thing we did was replace those cavernous bottom cabinets (that you had to get down in the floor to utilize) with deep drawers. Such a game changer, especially as I get older. You are such an inspiration 🙂

  36. Nice kitchen! I was fortunate to be able to completely remodel my kitchen (built in the 60’s) and can offer a few tips if you ever get that opportunity.
    1. Use the cabinet above the refrigerator for cookie sheets on end. Use dividers (I installed 5 dividers) and put all your large flat items up there. Works great for the large deep space.
    2. Put shallow pencil drawers under the island seating area. How handy to grab a pencil or notepad!
    3. Reserve 18″ bottom cabinets for a slide-out trash/recycle bin. Works great!
    4. Glass front cabinets are nice for storing glasses and dinnerware. Mine are frosted.
    5. Install rope lights above the cabinets for a soft glow.
    6. And definitely deep drawers can replace nearly all your lower cabinets!
    7. For island seating, plan it so people are not just sitting side-by-side. Conversations are easier at right angles.

    1. Wonderful tips! My kitchen has a lot of the features you mentioned (like the rope lighting, pull out trash bin, deep drawers, etc.)

  37. The handles on the spoons and tongs next to the measuring spoons are so exquisite that you could leave the drawer open as a statement piece – well almost.

  38. I always Love your tips- thanks for sharing. Do you have a microwave hidden somewhere? That’s the sore spot in my kitchen- it’s above the stove.

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