Thursday, January 13, 2011

Simple & Beautiful Kitchen and Pantry Organization

Form or function? Must one really choose? I love both and I don't see why one can't have both. Personally, I find the simple things can often be beautiful and perform just as well as their less aesthetic counterparts. Take the kitchen and pantry for example...


The Fly Lady talks a lot about keeping a clean and sparkling sink. I like it to be pretty, too. Find a lovely soap dispenser that makes you want to get in there and do dishes. This one from Anthropology was acquired on a clearance table this summer. Unfortunately the dish soap was worthless, but refilled with my favorite brand, it's perfect! An extra basket I had around the house holds tea towels ready for work. Yes, there is the drawer, but I saved that limited space for dish rags and sponges. Let the towels stack up and look inviting!


Just below the sink is an decorative false front that hides the sink inside the cabinet. A matching knob was attached to make it look like the rest of the cabinet fronts. But now...


for just $8 and some change, I swapped out the knob for this long modern handled pull from the hardware store. Now I have a place to hang a used towel. Before, they just got thrown on the counters.


You're going to know I love Anthropology after this post! I don't spend lots of money there, but I love their kitchen items and so I try to find one or two items each trip to the really big city (LA). Last spring I found this hook and it sat in my widow sill for the last 6 months because I didn't know what to do with it. Finally it occurred to me that it would be perfect for my rings and bracelets when doing dishes. With three girls, someone always needs this in the kitchen.



I do not like clutter and lots of ugly mismatched cups and dishes. One way to keep from accumulating that kind of thing is to open up the cabinets. Yes, just take the doors right off and store them in the attic. Line the back with some bead board or wallpaper and you're ready to start adding things back in. 


I love the Pantry Essentials from Williams-Sonoma, but wouldn't it be fun to just collect various white dishes from the thrift store? Just stick with one color theme and your set! And let's talk glasses just a minute. Put the mismatched items in the garage sale and go to TJ Maxx and pick up plenty of the same glasses at discounted prices. If you have toddlers and need to keep some plastic sippy cups, get a cute basket and keep them corralled in the cabinet below where they can reach them, too.



I have two sets of cabinets without doors. The second set holds cooking pots and mixing bowls that I use every day. Do you realize how simple and easy this makes it? The top shelf of both cabinets holds just a couple of decorative items (I hate to dust), but most of it is stuff that we use every single day. Pretty, practical, and NO clutter. Nice.



Do you have a canister for cooking utensils? Why not have three (or five for that matter)? One of Martha Stewart's kitchens has tons! Have you ever seen them lined up on the back counter? This frees up a lot of drawer space, but looks great when you group like items. Everything is at hand, quick and easy to grab, but easy to put away, too (which is half the battle)!



Gather up all those oils and vinegars as well as salt and pepper shakers in a basket by the stove. This one was perfect as far as size, but it was a little deep and the bottom was not even (due to the weaving). I had my husband cut a board that fits neatly in the bottom and doesn't rock. It elevated the items about an inch  and a half while providing a flat surface. Problem solved.


I found this lovely utensil caddy and decided it was perfect for every day. However, the utensils kept poking through and getting stuck. I didn't want to ditch the idea, but it had to be solved. My 8 year old unloads the dishwasher and things were going everywhere!


Finally I figured out a small canning jar would fit inside and keep the items from escaping. And since there was only 3 small compartments and one large, adding three jars to large size gave me room for different size spoons and forks. 

Moving to the pantry, I wanted it to be pretty, too. When we moved in to our "dream home", we didn't have money for cabinets in the pantry, so it was just a large bare room. Some metal shelving has served me well for 8 years, but it isn't too charming. But I have a plan...

Each trip to the big city, I try to pick up one or two baskets or a jar with a lid. I was careful to pick a basket and jars that I had seen often as a standard at a couple of my favorite stores so I knew they'd have them for a long time, because it was going to take a while to acquire all that I wanted on my budget. But time and patience has paid off and those metal shelves are looking pretty good. Someday I'll get to build shelving that will fit my baskets perfectly, but until then...



they corral things like extra oils and vinegars I use to make salad dressings...



cups and lids that use to easily get knocked over... 



recycled clam shells for fruits...



egg cartons for my chicken's eggs...



and paper goods. You get the idea. But here's one thing you need to remember if you go to buy baskets for your pantry. Be sure to get baskets with straight sides, not slanted or tapered, because they will nest closer together and not waste space. Most baskets are tapered and they will touch at the widest point leaving a lot of unused space. Avoid these if at all possible.


Anchor Hocking makes several great jars in various sizes, but my favorite is their Heritage Hill line. You just can't go wrong with a classic. It's perfect for smaller amounts of seeds for sprouting. 


My attachments for my food saver...



plastic items that I need on occasions...




and lids for my canning jars. Anything that has lots of parts and I don't want dusty. In fact, I use the in the laundry room and bathrooms as well. I like how they move around and can be reused and regrouped depending on what I need at the time.

Kitchen and Pantry Organizing Tips

January is such a great time for purging and organizing. By spring, we'll all be out in the garden again, but for now, think simple, practical, and pretty. Plastic functions well, but it just doesn't warm the soul. Keep these questions in mind when planning your simple kitchen or pantry makeover:

• Is it just pretty or is it practical, too?
• If it's practical, is it really lovely to look at? 
• Is it warm and inviting?
• Does this arrangement work for the way I really live and work in my own kitchen?
• Am I keeping an item because I think I have to (guilt)?
• Am I afraid to give something away because I might need it once every five years?
• Is there something else I already have that can do the job that this item is doing (so you can eliminate one of them?) For example: do you really need a grapefruit knife? Won't a regular knife work just as well and quick?
• What really needs to be hidden in a drawer or cabinet and what can be on view?
• What do I use nearly every meal or at least every day? Can it be on view and easy to reach?
• What needs to be corralled and contained?
• What needs to be within easy reach?
• Can things be grouped by function (like baking, grilling, etc.)?
• Will this make things easier to put away when cleaning up?
• Will this simplify my life?

Be careful that you don't move everything out of your cabinets onto the counter top. Choose just a few things so that you leave plenty of work space for food prep or you'll constantly be frustrated. Eliminate the pretties that don't have a function other than looking good or at least limit them to just one or two. Remember, whatever you "display" has to be dusted. Don't make a lot of extra work for yourself. 

I hope this little kitchen tour and tips helps those who feel challenged when it comes to organizing and decorating. As part of Simple Thursdays, perhaps you'll find even more great ideas for de-cluttering your life and simplifying the things that are a must! It feels so good to be free of too much stuff and it allows you to work more efficiently and productively!


What's your favorite beautiful and simple kitchen organization tip in your own home?


78 comments:

  1. What an awesome post. I've just decided I'm going to come in and move in to YOUR kitchen!
    Thanks tons for all the great inspirational ideas. Keep 'em comin'!

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  2. Such great and beautiful ideas...I have a bit of reorganizing to do in the kitchen...I'll be watching out for lovely containers at the local thrift shop. I found TWO BIG boxes of canning jars a few weeks ago...$4. I also found two LARGE lidded jars...old and cool...for $2 each.

    Any ideas for a beautiful casserole with one broken handle? My sister in law broke my pretty white casserole dish while washing it on Christmas. I can't bear to toss it in the trash!!

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    1. how about using it for a drink station on the counter? Pretty towel to hide the broken handle and then fill it with your favorite drink accessories, or us it as an "in box" on your desk. Or on the table with salt, pepper, napkins, sugar,butter, toothpicks.......... the broken handle can be covered with any kind of doilie, linen, you could even use it in an open cupboard for holding cookbooks... have fun experimenting!

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  3. Fantastic post!!! Love the ideas! Beautiful pix too. Gave me some ideas of my own. And you're right...this is a great time to give some thought to organizing our indoor space since it's where we're spending the bulk of our time right now. Thanks!!

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  4. Oh my goodness, you have just given me some great ideas. We are moving end of this month, so I can implement some things right away.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Wow! Your kitchen is amazingly organized! I wish mine looked 1/2 as good as yours! Thanks for all of the tips. I'll have to put some of them to use. :)

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  6. Michelle, Sorry to hear about your casserole dish. It's hard to part with those favorite items. Do you think it could be used in the pantry to corral some bottles - just put the broken handle toward the back and use the other handle like a drawer pull? Or, if it's really pretty and you want to display it, turn it horizontal and stand it up with another item propped in front of the broken handle - does that make sense? Perhaps you could use it to hold your dish towels instead of a basket? Just hide the broken end or re-glue the handle so it's not so noticeable. Hope you share what you do with it; I'd love to see.

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  7. Wow Amy, I have a lot of work to do! Thanks for sharing many of your ideas? Do you have any ideas for DVDS? ;)

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  8. I loved your storage ideas-I could not do that here in dusty, sandy, blowing wind Arizona. I use to do it-but over time got tired of having to rewash or throw out things that are covered with sand or dirt that you just can't figure out how it could get in with all the windows closed.
    So I have reverted to making sure most of my storage is closed with lids-the glass jars with the lids were a great idea for me. Also the basket with handy towels and towel racks.

    I love color and do not have the money to go and shop for new-so thrift store miss match I put behind closed doors to use-and decorate with what I love(antiques, red and white, and chickens. I think we all have our own style and what works for us-I really liked how you have figured that out and embraced what works for you!!

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  9. Great post-thank you! I am definitely in a "de-cluttering" mode right now and really need to make some progress soon!

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  10. I sooo appreciative of this post, after Time Warp Wife inspired me to "clean up my act" in my bedroom I am in definite need of kitchen inspiration too!! Cannot wait to apply all of your GREAT tips!!! Love your kitchen, so crisp and clean yet simple.

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  11. Great ideas! I love the open cabinets. I may just have to plan a few of those into my someday house.

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  12. I love this post! Very inspiring. :) I have several of those glass Anchor Hocking jars with lids, too. Every time I see them in the store I feel I should add another one to my collection. :)

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  13. Great post. Love all your ideas.

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  14. This post makes me feel so happy! I love, love, love simple, organized, functional and pretty. You covered it all here! I will definitely be looking over this post again to get inspired about the uninspiring spots in my kitchen.
    Blessings to you today!

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  15. Amy, these are wonderful ideas... We just did a modest kitchen remodel and it has made me much more honest about what I need and actually use.. I have been on the hunt for large glass containers for storing bagged items such as beans and rice. I like how you lumped yours all together in one large container.. and I'm rethinking my utensil storage idea too... I think I could use a couple more!
    Thanks for the great tips!
    Dandelion Wishes,
    Deb

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  16. Hi there, I'm a new reader of your blog and I love it! I am constanty looking for ideas to conserve. I made some cloth paper towels and used a very handy system with a grocery sack holder. Here's the link.....http://www.creativelittlehouse.com/2010/05/bye-bye-bounty-and-brawny.html
    Julie

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  17. You are so inspiring! So many ideas that I never considered! Thanks so much for the lovely tour!
    Gina

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  18. beautiful!! the jars are gorgeous... i'll have to save up for some of those in the future. i've been in need of some inspiration for my kitchen and i've got it now! thank you!

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  19. Thanks, Ladies. And Welcome Julie! Glad to have you visiting. Your paper towel replacement system is great! Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Wish I had all that counterspace ,but I like don't and I like to have my counters pretty free. My hubby built me some wonderful built ins for my pantry and I LOVE it!!! Lots of storage, some baskets, and some wire baskets too. You can see it on my blog, but I'm with you on the tidy pantry!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

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  21. Love your ideas!! I have those same Anchor Hocking jars for grain storage, etc and so do lots of my friends!!

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  22. Oh, goodness, you are full of tips today :) :) Very good ones, too...You know the first photo you showed of all the white dishes and bowls stacked on the shelves. I have a white bowl just like the ones pictured in your photo. It was an "orphan" I found at a yard sale for $0.10...it's so sim ple and elegant. My dad and I "fight" over this bowl. It's from Pottery Barn...but oh my it's got a vintage look to it too..and it's perfect for cereals or soups.

    I'm in the midst of reorganizing my kitchen cupboards...one for the dishes and things. The other for pantry staples. I like those Anchor Hocking glass jars. Those are nice!!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

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  23. Oh Amy, your kitchen is just lovely.

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  24. Lovely post; inspirational. I'll be back!

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  25. Not only a lovely post but so useful as well!!

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  26. I LOVE this post, Amy! My favorite kind of decorating is just this: practical and pretty! These are some great ideas -- thanks!

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  27. Love, love, love this post! I am a perpetual organizer and could thoroughly sink my thoughts into this post. I have many of the same things as you, however, I do not have my cabinets exposed. I think that is beautiful however, my container cabinet would give me nightmares as that's the one cabinet I just can't seem to get organized. Ever. I know exactly which lid goes with each container and can even name the size, and color to each lid for each container (as was proven by a game my husband played once). Impressive huh? hahaha...

    I use large pottery to put my utensils in. Pots that I have either wanted to plant in or heck, have even planted in and washed out very well.

    I use baskets a lot to keep things organized, rubber bands and closepins to keep bags closed.

    I also use the covered glass jars in my bathroom to hold cotton swabs and soap. Each having their own jar with a beautiful lid attached. Simple items, displayed simply are a simple way of decorating too!

    Thanks for the additional ideas!

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  28. Thanks for the inspiration! I'm curious where you got the screw on lids for your canning jars? I have the two piece lids that I use during the canning process but have never found one piece lids that I'd love to have once I open a jar of jelly or something else that will take a few days to use up. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

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  29. Stacey,
    These white caps are from Ball Canning. You can purchase them wherever there is a decent stock of canning items, or click my "Books" tab at the top, and you can go to my Amazon store page 5; click the link and purchase through my store.

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  30. That is just so lovely...organized and pretty! I love your utensils, especially. I've got several things in my pantry that are organized similarly to what you've done with the baskets...so I like it a lot! Beautiful!

    Becky B.
    www.organizingmadefun.blogspot.com
    Organizing Made Fun

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  31. Oh man I am LOVING your blog! And our kitchens employ many of the same ideas!!! I LOVE my baskets - everything seems to be in baskets around here! lol! And we recently we went to having only white mugs, plates, bowls ets too. I like plain white and I figure it will be easier over the years to add to replace with white items from thrift stores as munchkins continue 'learning' how to unpack and repack the dishwasher.
    Anyway, just love your ideas that you've shared.
    Thanks :)
    Lusi x

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  32. I love your baskets. We always get the "to-go" coffee cups and they seem to fit perfect in your basket. May I ask where you got the basket? I'd love to not have ours falling over all the time AND look pretty.

    Love your blog.
    Lisa

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  33. Lisa, so glad you like the blog! The baskets came from Michael's.

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  34. Excellent!

    Blessings from Ohio...Kim<><

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  35. Tha ks for linking up. I love your blog. It looks like we have similar style. ;))

    Toni
    A bowl full of lemons

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  36. Sometimes I think I'm too practical - your post reminds me that practical can be pretty, too.

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  37. I love love love your kitchen organization. Some day when I have a bigger kitchen I will definitely use some of those tips, right now I try to be practical since I have a small apt. kitchen! :) Thanks for sharing! P.S. LOVE Anthropologie!

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  38. Love your blog! Found you through the Bowl Full of Lemons organizing challenge.

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  39. Hi Amy,

    Love your blog!!! I'm not sure if you have a Hobby Lobby store near you but I have been able to find the EXACT same knobs, pulls and decorative accessories as Anthropology but for half the cost. It's not as nice as visiting Anthropology but like you our store is far away and Hobby Lobby is closer. I hope that helps!

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  40. I just found your blog last week, and I am IN LOVE with it! It is so informative for this homesteadin' gal wanna-be! We're shooting for 2012 as our date to start our own homestead, Lord-willing! Anyway, I LOVED this post! Everything is so organized and so pretty at the same time! It's very inspiring! Thanks so much! Oh, and do you have a big kitchen? I'd like to take the fronts off of a couple of my cabinets but I have so many things in those cabinets with no room to put them other places.

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  41. I love this! Again, so sad I am just now seeing it! Wow! Your kitchen is so charming! I love the idea of taking the cabinet doors off completely! Our cabinets are old and makeshift . . . what a perfect remedy!! Thanks for the tips!
    AFG,
    Megan Jenelle

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  42. Love this blog post! Where did you get your utensil holders by chance?

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  43. Thanks, Brook. I got them at World Market some time ago. I haven't seen them there for a while, but Cordon Bleu use to make some nice white crocks.

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  44. I love this post! As I learn more about preserving food, I have more equipment on hand and have been looking for ways to organize it all. Thanks!

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  45. As a fellow organizer, I so enjoyed reading this post, nodding my head in agreement with your suggestions. I'm still an apartment dweller, and looking at your photos makes me long for a home of my own some day SOON. My favorite idea here, though, is the ring hook. So smart!

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  46. your kitchen organization is great. Some day when I have such a big kitchen like this I will definitely use some of your tips, thanks.

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  47. My husband and I are going to build a cottage in the country for our retirement. Square footage must be under 1,000 square feet of heated area to meet local codes for a second home which would be built on my daughter's 5 acres. We plan to do alot of the work ourselves contracting and hiring professionals for the work we can't do. Anyone out there who has done this successfully who can give us advice from their own experiences? Seems to be plenty of books for designs and etc. but have not found anyone who has published their own " county cottage building journey".

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    1. I've seen books at Barnes & Nobles that talk about hiring contractors, etc. I just don't remember the titles. It doesn't have to be "country cottage" specific unless you're building a log cabin perhaps. And you need something that will address building codes for your state (LOL - that would be for those who live in CA!!!!. It's a real joke here).
      Do you have a floor plan?

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    2. Please don't forget to research Mike Holme's books. His "Make It Right" company and shows, (Gawd I love his shows - you can't HELP but learn things from him! You should've seen me one Sunday morning cussing out the guys on "This Old House" for all the problems they were ignoring AND CREATING, and I was perfectly lucid and listed them all! And yeah, I know, they can't hear me, as my dh will patently tell you...LOL) Came from watching his shows, cuz he's never condescending and all "preachy". He has several books, different angles on codes, building, materials, and some on how to inspect your house and not get shafted by some paid shill that will leave you w/ a dangerous, nasty, rotting house. (If you're buying.) Don't know if you have Lowe's/Home Depot's around you or if you are in another country, however, he should be on Amazon.

      Amy, can this "Cottage Loving Lady" search for books via your Amazon store, or only what you have listed? Perhaps, you could give her your link again? This man is a BEAR about knowing codes and sticking to them! He's the tops. At least check him out please, along w/ others, in your studies. It will be worth it.

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  48. I enjoyed your organization ideas very much. We plan to build a very small rustic cabin this year and I will need to utilize every inch to it's fullest. I love to search Goodwill, thrift stores and yardsales for bargains and have seen lots of similiar baskets and containers si I will keep a watchful eye for sure. Thanks.

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  49. This is a very inspiring post... Reluctant Entertainer shared about you on fb and I am so glad she did!... Hope its ok if I nose around your blog dor a bit...

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  50. I am finally motivated to organize my kitchen after reading this post! I have very limited counter space and my cabinets are narrow and deep, but I think I can, I think I can...chug..chug..chug
    I really LOVE your yellow salt/pepper grinders. May I ask where they came from? Would love to find a set!

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    Replies
    1. Andrea,
      The salt and pepper mills are Peugeot and I got them at a Williams Sonoma Outlet. I LOVE the look of many of the Peugeot brand mills, and while they work okay, they aren't stellar. Not sure that any work perfectly, so this is not to be a big criticism of their mills. Just that they aren't flawless. We actually don't use the salt mill much because you must use DRY course salt and most course salt is wet. Also, we like to use various salts with minerals - grey, red, etc. So we usually just use the pepper mill.
      http://www.psp-peugeot-usa.com/

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  51. Great post= I really enjoyed the details and your pictures! :) I've never thought of adding a towel bar to the front of my cupboard door, may have to try that! :)

    Chara
    stitchingheartstogether.blogspot.com

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  52. It is indeed very important to have a well-organized pantry cabinets. Your organization techniques are very simple yet effective. A lot of homeowners will surely be inspired to follow. Thanks for sharing.

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  53. You must have a big kitchen, sadly my counter space is limited, so under the cabinets they go...

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  54. I so enjoyed this post. Simple but beautiful with many great and useable ideas. I just discovered your blog this morning and I am enjoying it so much.

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  55. Amy, what a fun blog and a beautiful kitchen! I'm in love with your blue/green mixing bowls! Where are they from?

    Thank you!

    Shannon

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shannon! The bowls are several years old and come from a company called Over and Back : http://www.overback.com/. I bought these when I had a retail business and I purchased from this company at market. They have really cute stuff including "reproduction" style pieces. Not sure what they carry these days as I've been out of the business for a long while and don't keep up much.

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  56. This ... This blesses and encourages.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Just. Beautiful.

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    1. So honored to have you visit Homestead Revival! Thanks for the encouraging word and taking the time to comment, Ann! The Lord knows you've blessed me over and over by being His willing instrument, testifying of His grace and goodness!

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  57. Love this blog! I need to do something with my kitchen. I was going to refinish the cupboards and doors, but will rethink that now. :)

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    1. :-) Thank you!!! I'm sure your kitchen will be a blessing to your family, however you decide to handle it!

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  58. Hi Amy, I'm new here (directed by Holy Experience). What a beautiful and inspiring blog!
    I'll be back. :)

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    Replies
    1. Welcome!! So glad to have you, Becky!! Do come back... would love to have you here.

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  59. This is a beautiful post! I had a beautiful bronze wire basket in my bathroom window collecting dust. I ran and grabbed it to put the hand knit dish cloths from my daughter to display. Since she now lives so far away I was struggling with using them. Seeing them next to my sink in this pretty FUNCTIONAL basket makes my heart smile. Thank you so very much. (and a than you to Ann Voskamp for sharing!)

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    1. What sweet thoughts of your daughter! I have little trivets my youngest has woven together and I just LOVE seeing them alls tacked up in my kitchen. Mostly because they are a part of her in a way... her vision of what she thought was beauty.

      Thanks for stopping by... Would love to have you come back often.

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  60. Love organization and love your tips! I have the glass jars with screw on lids for our grains, oats, rice, and beans, and loved the glass jars you used but I didn't think they would be good because they do not seal, but you used them for things that didn't need to be sealed, sooooo smart. Now, I may have to break down and get some. Thanks for the ideas. I came over from dear Ann Voskamp's blog, thanks to both of you and blessings today.
    Always Experiencing Him,
    Jody

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    1. Welcome, Jody! So glad to have you here... thank you for your kind words! Hope you find just the right things for your jars... they look amazing with almost anything in them.

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  61. Would you mind sharing where you purchased your baskets?? Thanks for blessing us so much with your wisdom in life skills ~

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, villarosa! The baskets in the pantry came from Michael's Craft Stores. The other baskets came from Target. I'm sure Hobby Lobby and World Market also have some good options.

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  62. This is a lovely post with some very nice ideas. However, I have to say, several of these are obviously for larger kitchens. For example, I tried taking the doors off my cabinets. But I have so few of them, I simply don't have room to spread my things out inside so they look "decorative" and not crammed together. I need to fit as much in the cupboards as I can, because I just don't have a lot of room to spare. Similarly, I can't cover my counters with pretty jars full of things that could go in the drawers, because if I do I have no space left to use for working. I have an extremely limited amount of countertop space in my kitchen, and I don't want to have to move jars every time I need to set up my bread machine or roll out a pie crust. So while these ideas do look lovely, they don't seem very practical to me unless one has a quite large amount of space.

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    1. Elizabeth, I certainly understand a small kitchen space! The kitchen I had for the two and a half years prior to this one was only about 7 feet by 9 feet in size - NO JOKE! I could almost touch it wall to wall, so it seemed. You couldn't open the refrigerator and any other appliance at the same time. Believe it or not, I still managed to make homemade bread even in this small kitchen space by utilizing the sink itself - I had to put something over it to work! BUT, the good thing was... it caused me to seriously re-evaluate what was truly required for cooking. That's when I started culling things out that weren't necessary. You can't always add more space to your kitchen, but you can make the most of the space you have by purging the unnecessary.

      On the other hand, I know that sometimes small is just SMALL and you have to keep those counters clear! Perhaps some other tricks will work for you, like going up with stuff. I've seen some incredibly well organized kitchens in extremely small spaces (on other blogs or websites). I hope you find some things that work for your space so you feel that it's both beautiful and functional.

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  63. May I ask where you purchased the white olive jars?

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  64. Your kitchen looks like a professionaly designed and organized.

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  65. I know this was a while ago but I would have really liked to see a picture(s) of the whole thing!

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