How to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger - Use Items With Multiple Purposes | From Overwhelmed to Organized: How to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger - Use Items With Multiple Purposes

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger - Use Items With Multiple Purposes

Do you have enough cabinets in your kitchen?  Do you get frustrated when you can't squeeze enough into your cupboards?  Do you struggle to get something out from the back of a cabinet because it's just too crammed full of stuff?

Kitchens are the hub of our homes.  We need them to function well.  But they are often one of the most cluttered rooms in our house!  No matter what size kitchen you have, it always feels too small.

But it doesn't have to be this way!  Today I want to share a way that you can make more space in your kitchen cabinets, so your kitchen won't feel as small.  You can do this by using items that have multiple purposes.

1.  Declutter Items You Haven't Used in a Long Time

Before we get to that... you know I always recommend decluttering when you feel like you don't have enough space!  In fact I did a whole series on how I decluttered and organized my kitchen (with a heavy emphasis on the decluttering side... my kitchen is pretty small!).

I really believe decluttering can make your kitchen feel bigger!  I've seen it with my clients who call me because they're frustrated in their kitchens.  After we declutter they're amazed at how much more space they have and how much more they enjoy being in their kitchen.

So ,if you have things in your kitchen that you haven't used in over a year, please let them go.  You'll be so happy you did, because it will free up more space for the things you actually use every day, or every week, every month, or even for those special occasions once a year!

Here are a few things to think about decluttering, aside from the obvious things you know you don't use:

  • You have an overflowing food-storage containers cupboard with many containers that you only use for certain types of food, but you could use less containers and use them for a wider variety of foods.
  • Similarly, you have a mix of different food storage containers that they take up a lot of space, but you could use a set of nesting containers with mix-and-match lids that take up much less space in your cabinet. (more on food storage options in a future post)
  • You have tons of pots and pans because you prefer to use certain sizes for certain types of foods, but by using a only few pots/pans for more than one purpose, you could reduce the number of pots and pans you need to store.
  • Same idea for baking pans and cookie sheets.
  • And don't even get me started on how many big spoons and spatulas/flippers you probably have, if you're anything like most of my clients (and like me before I started really decluttering!).  You can probably get by with much less than you have, which will make your utensil drawer much less overwhelming. 

2.  Invest in Items That Have Multiple Uses (or Start Using Items for Muliple Purposes)

OK now on to what I really want to talk about today.  Using items that have multiple purposes.  This is a huge space saver!

How many of you have drawers and cabinets full of things that you can only use for ONE purpose?  {Or that you are in the habit of only using for one purpose?}

Here are a few examples:

  • You have an abundance of small appliances, but you could purchase a multi-functioning appliance that does the same things and takes up less space (more on that below and in a future post)
  • You have a drawer full of tangled charging cords for all your different devices, but you could use a multi-charge adapter to charge all your devices with one cord.
Multi USB Charger Adapter

  • You have an overwhelming under-the-sink cabinet full of various cleaning products, but you could use a multi-purpose cleaner (or DIY cleaners like baking soda and vinegar) to make that cupboard more manageable and simplify your cleaning.
  • Your junk drawer has several single tools taking up space, but a multi-tool could replace all of them and meet your need for a few tools for simple jobs.  
  • You have a 3 different corkscrews and 2 bottle openers, but you could just use 1 multi-tool to open both bottles and cans (I have one like this and the corkscrew is better than any other corkscrews I've used)

All-in-one Wine Corkscrew and Bottle Opener

I'm sure there are lots of other ways you can combine things in your kitchen to save you space!

Note: some of these multi-functioning items won't apply if you are an amazing chef or baker.  If cooking or baking is your passion, and you love spending time in your kitchen, then you probably use a lot of the things in your kitchen cabinets and drawers.  You still may find you can combine some things, but you'll probably find it more challenging.  {Although, if you look at restaurant kitchens or bakeries, they have just what they need and nothing more, and their kitchens function well because of it.  So still look for ways to streamline what you keep in your kitchen.  Make sure you're actively using it all.}

I'm really speaking to the average person who cooks because they need to eat.  Or their family needs to eat.  You know... those kids who just keep growing and wanting more and more food :)  And you're overwhelmed in your kitchen because you have too many things.

3.  One of my Favourite Multi-Purpose Kitchen Items

A few months ago, I became frustrated with how many different small appliances we had in our kitchen.  We had a sandwich maker, a griddle, a small George Foreman grill (that wasn't even big enough to grill 2 burgers on at once!), and a waffle maker, and they all basically plug into a wall and heat a variety of foods on similar surfaces.  I thought, there has to be some kind of all in one appliance with interchangeable surfaces that would take up much less space.

So I started looking around and I found the Cuisinart 5 in 1 griddler.   I was immediately struck by how much less space this would take than all our separate appliances!  And it seemed to do the same job.  I read some reviews and researched prices and waited for a sale.

The 5-in-1 part of this is that you can interchange the grill and griddle plates and you can use it in an open or closed position.  So you can have:

  • Both grill plates in the closed position 
  • Both griddle plates in the closed position 
  • Both grill plates in the open position
  • Both griddle plates in the open position
  • One griddle plate and one grill plate in the open position (pictured below)

Of course I'm not a food blogger so I never think of taking pictures while I'm cooking, but picture bacon and eggs in the above picture :)  

There are also waffle plate inserts you can buy separately or the waffle plates come in a bundle with the griddler.  Initially I didn't buy the waffle plates because I wanted to make sure we really liked the 5-in-1 machine first.  But we definitely did so I used some gift cards to purchase the waffle plates last month.

The only thing my kids commented on was that the waffles were rectangular instead of round (the old waffle maker made a Belgian style waffle), but once they tasted them they didn't care :)

This griddler is so multi-functional!  It replaces our griddle, our small grill, our waffle maker, and our sandwich maker.  Now that I know we really like the 5-in-1 griddler, and we haven't needed any of our old separate appliances, I'm going to give those away.  Look at all the space that saves!

I'm not sure if you remember when I organized my pantry a few years back... here's our griddle way up on top of the pantry (it always bugged me up there and it got dusty between uses because it was out in the open).

And here are the other 3 small appliances on the bottom shelf (the 3 on the left).

Now I don't need to store a griddle on top of the pantry, and here's the griddler (with the waffle plates tucked in beside it) on the bottom shelf:

{More on where the rest of the stuff on the shelf went and what I'll be doing with this extra space in a future post.}

The only thing that could improve this griddler is if it stood on end to maximize space even more :)

Aside from the space saved, the griddler makes clean-up much easier... just toss those removable plates in the dishwasher!

I'm so happy with this 5-in-1 griddler!  It's saved me space, made cooking and clean-up easier, and made my kitchen feel bigger by reducing the amount of appliances in it.

{And no, I'm not being paid to promote Cuisinart or anything... I just really like this grill!  Although the links in this post are affiliate links, so I make a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you choose to buy something after clicking on them.}

Now is a great time to declutter your kitchen before all the holiday entertaining and baking happens :)  Stay tuned for a couple more posts in this series!

For more tips like this, you can check out my Kitchen Organizing board on Pinterest.

What can you declutter from your kitchen to make it feel bigger?  Do you have any multi-functioning items in your kitchen that save you space?  Is there a category of things in your kitchen that you want to replace with one multi-purpose item?

Happy organizing!

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