Carol’s Downsizing Journey – Reorganising the Kitchen

In part one of this series, we learnt how Carol prepared for her big downsizing move to a 2 bedroom apartment from a 4 bedroom townhouse.

Once Carol had moved in with the new kitchen installed, the Howards team reorganised the kitchen as part of a case study to demonstrate how a few clever organising products and strategies can greatly improve the utility of the space. Given that Carol enjoys entertaining, it is a wonderful example of how living in a smaller space doesn’t need to limit how you live.

This article shows you how we reorganised every aspect of Carol’s kitchen, starting with our organising methodology of “stop, sort, solve”. The results speak for themselves – Carol was very happy with the result!

Read Part 1 “Preparing to Move”.

View the video of “Carol’s Downsizing Journey and makeover”.

Makeover Step 1: STOP

Firstly we had a review of the kitchen with Carol where we asked some key questions about her kitchen:

  • What’s working well?
  • What’s in the wrong place to have a good workflow?
  • Are there opportunities to utilise the space better?
  • What is frustrating you about the current situation?

Note! At this stage it’s all about setting a vision about what needs to be achieved. So don’t be tempted to start organising yet.

What we discovered with Carol was that when things were put away after the move, things were allocated space more on the basis of where Carol had been used to using things based on her previous kitchen layout and it was all put away in a bit of a rush as often happens.

Indentifying that the workflow was compromised was the key to the reorganisation plan.

Makeover Step 2: SORT

Rather than pull everything out of every cupboard, we resolved to systematically work through the cupboards starting with the cupboard above the main work bench.

Knowing where to start if often a confronting question. We chose this cupboard as we could see there were items stored in the drawers below that could be stored in archive space up high. So sorting out that archive space then created the opportunity to properly organise the drawers. This then created a flow on effect throughout the whole kitchen ultimately allowing us to tackle the biggest cupboard being the pantry.

When sorting out your items, think about the following things:

  • Do you need it? What can be donated or disposed of?
  • Put like items to be stored together.
  • How often do you need to access that item?
  • Things you use most should be allocated the easiest to access space.

When sorting through Carol’s items using this strategy, we found about 10 potato peelers. This is a classic example of how items can over time end up in different places and take up valuable space. So the best 3 peelers were kept and the others went into the donation box.

Makeover Step 3: SOLVE

This is always the part where you make a lasting difference as choosing the right organisers is the key to ensuring that a space stays organised. For example, your knives and forks would end up in a mess without a cutlery tray – and the same applies to every other space in your kitchen.

Below you can see exactly how we organised every section of Carol’s kitchen with before/after pictures. All the organisers used are also pictured and they are linked through to our online store, so you can see more details like dimensions.

Wherever we could, we tried to reutilise what Carol already had, as its better for your budget and the environment. However there were a couple of instances where it was better to “start again” such as plastic containers and pantry storers, so that we had sizing consistency which is more space efficient.

TOP TIP! The team in your local Howards store is there to help you. We highly recommend that you take some photos and write down cupboard dimensions to make choosing the right organiser easier.

The Drawers

Divide and conquer drawers! Crafted from sustainably harvested bamboo, an Expandable Drawer Organiser with 5-7 compartments makes use of an extra wide drawer.

Extra stationery items were put in the cupboard above so that this drawer – which is closest to the main bench – can operate as a proper serving area with knives and forks close at hand.

Before

After

Plates were moved out of the pantry closer to the serving area.

Plastics were moved to the bottom drawer.

Before

After

Old plastic containers were donated. Nicer glass and specialty containers were kept.

We maximised the storage potential in the deep drawers by nesting Aroma Premium containers and grouping lids within a Mimi Separator.

Before

After

Aroma Premium Containers  are  stackable, 100% airtight and leak proof with integrated silicone seal. Technology at it’s best, this microwave and dishwasher safe container is BPA free and comes in a range of sizes.

The Pantry

Using space economically is important; using key items, such as quality food storage containers are essential for maintaining organisation. Along with a new collection of modular food containers, we grouped other like items in easy to access caddies and boosted visible space with a range of shelf helpers.

Before

After

After

Aamina Easy Access Storer

Mimi Separators

Oxo Pop Containers

Under the Sink

Under the sink can often be a difficult area to access. Make it user friendly and kinder on your back by grouping like items in visible pull out organisers. Remember to keep high use items front and centre.

Before

The Finishing Touches

One of the nicest ways to given a kitchen a “fresh start” is to replace the bin and the dish rack. The two below were chosen for their compact size. In addition to this we added a handy step ladder to ensure that Carol has safe and easy access to the higher shelves. By making archive space more usable, the whole kitchen’s organisation was improved.

Large Black Folding Stool

simplehuman Compact Dishrack

18L Eko Soft Close Pedal Bin

The Result

This move and this new home is all about Carol and the wonderful life she leads; and with everything now purpose built for her, what does she think? She says, “It’s absolutely fabulous! It looks out of this world. It’s going to be so much easier to cook – everything is grouped together and easy to find. I can’t stop looking at it.”

Now, just 8 weeks into her new home, how is Carol finding ‘living with less’? “There’s a lightness and a freedom to it,” she says, “Living with less is an opportunity for a fresh start, to do everything new again and now that I’m here I don’t really miss anything.”

This was a really great example of how successful a downsizing move can be – particularly when you add some great organisation. Thanks Carol for sharing your story!

More about Carol’s Journey

In part one of this series, we learnt how Carol prepared for her big downsizing move to a 2 bedroom apartment from a 4 bedroom townhouse.

Read Part 1 “Preparing to Move”.

View the video of “Carol’s Downsizing Journey and makeover”.

Acknowledgements:
Many thanks to Carol for allowing our team into her new home. It was a pleasure to help organise such a lovely space. Storage solutions provided by the Howards Storage World Team.

© Copyright Howards Storage World, 2015.

Article accurate as at July 2015.