Before and After: Small Changes Yield a Big Impact in This Super-Busy Kitchen

published Dec 9, 2022
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Before: a pantry with lots of shelves

Not all organizing projects have to have a horrifying “before.” You also don’t need to wait until your space gets out of hand to add order to it. Likewise, your changes don’t have to be drastic to make a difference, especially in areas as often used and challenging to organize as the pantry and the under sink cabinet.

Christina Lee of Graceful Spaces, a professional organizing firm, illustrates this with her subtle but beautiful overhaul of her client’s Kiawah Island retreat. Shown here are some transformations made in the kitchen, namely the pantry, under sink area, and various drawers.

The space is unique because two different families occupy the space at different times (and they both have a lot of guests). “This Kiawah Island retreat is owned by a couple that rents to a larger family every summer,” shares Christina. “With different needs, organization styles, and preferences across the board, creating a space where everyone felt at home was a fun challenge.” 

With a time allowance of two weeks, Christina set out to obtain her goal of creating “strategic zones that every member of the household would be able to use and sustain throughout the year.”

She and her team sourced the kitchen essentials from The Container Store, Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more. They also “implemented labels throughout the home to ensure everyone from the owners to the renters could easily find what they needed.” 

Here’s how Christina and her team made this happen:

  • First, they edited and categorized the current contents of the home.
  • Next, they “refreshed older dinnerware, kitchen tools, and household supplies” and “curated organizational products to fit the aesthetics” of the space. That included risers, bamboo turntables, hyacinth bins, and clear canisters for the pantry; turntables and plastic bins for the under sink area; and bamboo drawer organizers, modular drawer inserts, and spice jars with labels for the drawers; for instance.
  • Then they created zones in the pantry and kitchen.
  • The team made a stock list for easy, coordinated upkeep throughout the year. 
  • The final touch was adding extra labels “to ensure everyone can participate in the upkeep.” 

Christina shares her favorite part of the project, a stance that, refreshingly, underscores the big-picture effect of organizing. “Bringing a household together through organization is one of our favorite parts of our job,” she says. “Creating systems that everyone knows how to use cuts down on upkeep and makes spaces a joy to use.”

Offering some insider knowledge we can all learn from, Christina tells us, “The most important thing to note in this part of the home is the strategic zone planning that went into the kitchen. You can easily see the organizational products that [were] implemented to elevate the zones, but what you wouldn’t know is how we rearranged the essential items in this kitchen to both maximize space and simplify the way each guest would utilize the kitchen.”

Small changes with big impact — and zones — for the win. 

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: See How Small Changes Make a Big Impact in This Heavily Used Kitchen