Organizing Plates and Platters

Organizing Plates and Platters

I have shared with all of you how much I (we) enjoy cooking and entertaining family and friends.  I also love plating and food presentation, so over the years I have accumulated quite a few dishes.

It is always a challenge figuring out how to store so many dishes in a relatively small kitchen.  I don’t have many cabinets and I use most of them for pantry use (we do not have a stand alone pantry closet). I keep some dishes in the dining room hutch, but the majority reside in the kitchen cabinets.

Here is how I store and organize my dishes.

Organizing Plates

I have also collected quite a few glasses over the years.  I keep most of them in the dining room hutch.

Below are the ones we use daily.  The goblets are inexpensive and sturdy; they are Libbey brand and you can find them HERE.  I have also seen them at Marshalls and Homegoods.  The smaller tumblers are not as sturdy but they are inexpensive and I love the size.  They are from CB2 and you can find them HERE.

All the other white plates are from different stores that I have collected over years.

Organizing Plates

 

A pet peeve of mine is stacked plates. It’s not a big deal if they are plates that you seldom use, but your everyday plates should be easily accessible. You shouldn’t have to lift salad plates to get the dinner plates on a daily basis.

I have cabinet dividers and risers in almost every cabinet to maximize the space and to make my dishes easily accessible.

Organizing Plates

The metal divider/shelf below is from Target.  You can find some white ones “here”.  Walmart and Homegoods also have a good selection of cabinet organizers.

Organizing Plates

I do have some colorful dishes but 90% of them are white. I think that food looks better on white plates. I also love that I don’t have to worry about them matching. Plates that I bought last week match the ones that I purchased 15 years ago.

I love cool plates like these concave ones.  By sliding the shelf against the cabinet, I made space for these narrow plates.

Organizing Plates

Most of my drawers hold serving platters.  These are too big to fit in my cabinet.  They are perfect in the drawer.

Organizing Plates and Platters

In this drawer I keep the bowls that we use most often.

Organizing Plates and Platters

Organizing is an art!  This is a standard size drawer and I was able to fit quite a few serving dishes by playing around with placement.

I love opening a drawer where everything has it’s place and is not shifting all over the place.  Because all these plates fit in here so tight, there is no room to budge.  As Martha would say – “That’s a good thing.”

Organizing Plates and Platters

The bottom drawer is the deepest.  In here I keep all the clear baking dishes.

Organizing Plates and Platters

As you can see, I rarely buy dish “sets”. I prefer to buy them separately so that I get exactly what I want. I may love a plate but dislike the coffee cups that come with them in the set.

I want to leave you with some good tips for building your plate and platter collection:

  • Get rid of plates and cups that you no longer like or use.  We sometimes keep things in our cabinets that we don’t even like, instead of making space for something we truly enjoy.
  • If you only want or have one set of plates, make them accessible by placing them on a removable shelf riser.  This will double your space!
  • If you buy plates separately like me, it is best to buy 9 if you need 8. That way if one breaks, you still have a full set.  If two break…well…try not to break two!
  • Take your time buying dishes.  It is fun to collect things that you love over time, instead of buying things that are on sale to fill up a cabinet.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas because I really enjoyed sharing them with you!

Tell me –  do you collect plates too or is one set more than enough?

Always Organizing,

Maria

 

 

Advertisements

Organizing Pots and Pans

Pots and pans…how many do you have?  How many do you need?

Organizing all your pots and pans

Well, I need a lot of them.  I cook almost everyday and I enjoy it.  I enjoy it even more when I have the right tools.

In this cabinet (albeit small) I have:

– 8 Skillets

– 4 Small Pots

– 2 Stock Pots

– 2 Medium Pots

– 1 Steamer Pot

That’s a total of 17 pots and pans!  Not including, 3 enamel dutch ovens (probably my favorite), that I store inside my oven.  One of the enamel pots sits on the stove at all times, since I use it often.  I also have cast iron pans which are my husband’s favorite, since they can go directly on the grill.

I am not a fan of purchasing full sets of pots and pans sold in a box, although it is a good way to figure out what you use most.  The box is usually a better value, but I end up giving away the pots that I don’t use…this negates the whole “better” value concept.  I prefer selecting quality pieces that I will use often and will last for many years.

This also means that I haven’t been able to buy all these pieces at once.  I purchase maybe one piece a year or my husband will give me one for my birthday or mother’s day.  I am one of those women that is REALLY excited to receive a stockpot as a gift.  Truly, it’s what I like.  Why should I ask for pearls when I really want something for the kitchen?

Not all of my cookware is expensive or that high of a quality.  I have yet to splurge on really good non-stick, so I have pans that do the job but won’t last for many years.  A good non-stick 12-14 inch pan is on my list though (honey, I know you don’t read all my posts, but I really hope you are reading this one!).  I get points for subtlety.

Back to how I organize the pans.  I get points for segues too.

I found a metal rack that could be used to store files or bakeware, and I placed it on its side.  It fit perfectly snug inside my cabinet, so each skillet rests safely in separate slots.

Organizing all your pots and pans

Next to the skillets, I have smaller sauce pots since the skillets take up a lot of room.  Behind the sauce pots, I have a large stockpot and a steamer pot.

Items that are rarely used are always towards the back.  The most used items get the best real estate.

Organizing all your pots and pans

In the top shelf, I place medium-sized pots.  I stack the ones that are alike.  Towards the back, I keep larger, less used deep skillets and pots.

Organizing all your pots and pans

This is the largest cabinet in my kitchen and that’s why I chose it for this purpose.  In some of the smaller corner cabinets, I keep specialty pots like pressure cookers, rice cookers and slow cookers.  I label the shelf to remind me of the item behind the front pot, since it’s not visible.

Organizing all your pots and pans

The labeled shelf…

Organizing all your pots and pans

I do suggest that before organizing all your pots, you take them out of your cabinets and make sure they deserve the space that they are taking up.  Obviously, I am not a minimalist when it comes to the kitchen, but I don’t keep things that I don’t use.

At this point, if I did get another non-stick skillet, I would have to get rid of a skillet.  Otherwise, this cabinet would turn into stainless steel mess.  It already does when I don’t put things back where they go.  And by “I”, I totally mean my husband.  Sorry Babe.

Do you enjoy cooking too?  Do you also get excited when kitchen catalogs arrive in the email?  Tell me that I’m not alone!

Kitchen: Refrigerator Organization

Give them food and they will come…the fridge.  Everyone congregates in the kitchen and everyone is always checking out what there is to eat in the refrigerator.  With all the hands coming in and out of the refrigerator it is bound to get messy fast.  There are ways that I have discovered to minimize the mess.  Here I will share with you how I organize the refrigerator in my home.  These systems work for me and maybe they can work for you too.

The fridge.  We have had this refrigerator for about 5 years now.  When it is clean it is perfection.  When it’s not….its gross.  I have to clean it everyday to keep it looking like this.  It’s part of my night routine to give it a little wipe down before I sit down to watch some TV with the boys.  Considering that I have a toddler that is always putting his little sticky hands on the freezer drawer, it doesn’t stay clean for very long.  I must admit it is kind of cute when I see his little hand print there at the end of the day.  When I see my 40-year-old husbands hand print it isn’t quite as cute 🙂 .

_MG_5589BLOG

Here it is on the inside:

_MG_5619BLOG

It’s ready for its close-up!

_MG_5627BLOG

The first thing I want to share with you are these adorable fridge coasters that you can see below and also peeking through the picture above.  They are so cute!  This proves that you can bring beauty to anything and everything.  They are from fridgecoaster.com and they are very absorbent and should be changed out as often as you change out your water filter unless they are still in great shape.  They come in many colors and designs.  I couldn’t decide on one design so I mixed and matched different designs in the yellow.   I don’t endorse the product, I just love it.  I will be doing a giveaway on the coasters at a later date so I will keep you posted!

_MG_5596BLOG

You see the huge blue water bottle?  How could you not?  Well, here is the story behind it:  I used to buy individual water bottles which I would later recycle.  The recycling helped me feel better about the environment but not about the BPA that was in the bottles.  I found these gallons at Whole Foods Market and they are BPA free and just cents to refill.  I place two of these in the bin (I took one out so that you could see the cute coaster).

_MG_5577BLOG

Here is the deli drawer.  My favorite drawer (also my toddlers favorite because it’s the only one he can reach) because somehow it stays organized most of the time.  I purchased the clear refrigerator containers that you see below and they help keep the items from shifting and the refrigerator clean from spills.

_MG_5587BLOG

More bins!  I have one container that I use exclusively to hold meat that is defrosting or marinating.  So many times I have had to clean one whole side of the refrigerator because of some spill from meat…gross.  This avoids that problem so I don’t put anything else in the large shallow container.  Next to it is a smaller container that I use for the boys juice boxes.  My 9-year-old started taking his lunch to school so I grab a juice from here everyday.

_MG_5622BLOG

Below is where I place the milk and creamer since I now place the large water gallons on the door bin.  As you can see the shelves on my refrigerator don’t line up.  I move them around to fit what I currently have in the fridge.  I have a really tall space for the milk and then a really narrow space for tortillas and small items.  You can really maximize the space in your refrigerator if you do this.  The bins on the door are also removable and I have moved those around as well.  Most newer refrigerators have bins and shelves that can be repositioned.

_MG_5588BLOG

The freezer.  I don’t like it.  I love the rest of the fridge so much that I just try to work with the space in the freezer.  We have to have a separate freezer in the garage because this one is so small and I can’t stock up here.  Also the ice bin takes up quite a bit of space.  In the top wire bin I keep homemade chicken stock and homemade waffles.  The bottom wire rack has an awkward shape so I just place things in there the best I can.  I do love the design of the fridge and having the freezer in the bottom.  I just think the freezer should have a better design.  Oh well!  That’s a first world problem.  Not a big deal!

_MG_5631BLOG

Enjoy organizing your refrigerator and thank God for the sticky hands!

Maria 

Kitchen: Utensil Drawer

The utensil drawer.  Nothing daunting, an easy-peasy project.  I like projects like this because they offer instant gratification.  You can do this task in 5-10 minutes and then stand back and marvel at the results (I marvel at lined up shiny silverware…I am dorky like that).

Below is my junk drawer and my utensil drawer.  I will later do a post on the dreaded junk drawer.  Let us postpone that nightmare for now!

IMG_4952BLOG

As far as the utensil drawer, I encourage you to take everything out even if your drawer looks organized.  Once everything is clear you can wipe down the drawer and the utensil tray.   When you take everything out you will sometimes notice that there are food particles in the very bottom of the drawer.  Don’t ask me how a drawer that only holds clean utensils has food particles.  It is a mystery for sure.

IMG_4948BLOG

As you can see my utensil organizer is clear.  I like it because I can still see my drawer liner (from Target).  On the side I place my larger serving pieces that we use at dinner time.  The really large ones (for cooking and serving large crowds) are in a crock on top of the kitchen counter.  In the horizontal spot I place all of my toddlers utensils that are bulky.

IMG_4957BLOG

I cant leave scissors in in the front of the drawer (because of my toddler) so I tuck the kitchen shears and a pair of regular scissors in the very back of the drawer.  He doesn’t even know they are there.  I also keep some jar grips in the very back of the drawer.  Having all these things in the back maximizes the organization in the space and keeps my utensil tray from shifting around in the drawer.

IMG_4962BLOG

So there it is!  The utensil drawer.  It’s the little things.

Until next time!

Maria