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New addition to the kitchen–A rolling kiddo cart!

on October 13, 2013

In our modestly sized home, sometimes we have to come up with creative ways to contain…well, everything we own.  And, it seems like the kitchen has been receiving quite a bit of love these days.  It could have something to do with the fact that we spend most of our time there, and I am constantly running into small irritations that can be easily solved with a little planning and a spare 10-20 minutes.

One of the biggest culprits in the kitchen for clutter and frustration seems to be my daughter’s goodies–which have sort of taken over an area intended for cooking and eating only.  The current problem area that I tackled I had tried a few solutions with already that were only somewhat successful.  This would be the art/school supply/craft making items that live in our kitchen.  There really is nowhere else to keep the piles of coloring books, learning activity workbooks, colors, pencils, markers, play-doh, stickers, rulers, scissors, etc. in our home.  And, it makes sense to keep them in our kitchen/eat in dining area because that is where we use them most.  Without a designated “playroom” area, we make due with what we’ve got.

My first attempt was to buy some cute plastic bins to keep her items in on a shelf in our pantry.  While stylish, they were kind of a pain to get in and out, because they fit very snugly on the shelf.  I would have to remove one to get to the other, and there was no way my kiddo could do it on her own.

What our pantry looked like earlier this year...

What our pantry looked like earlier this year…

Then I tried one bin and a drawer in the plastic contraption below our pantry shelves.  This worked ok, but there were still things piled up the length of an entire shelf and now in a drawer.  My pantry is SMALL–and all of these items were taking up prime real estate.  Plus, there were certain things we used every day and needed easier access in order to be put to use.

So, solution #3 is in the works.  I have read quite a few blogs talking about homework centers and closets or nooks turned into study centers.  We are not quite ready for that, but we do need a place to keep all of our stuff that we use at the table frequently.  First of all, we don’t have the space and she doesn’t really have much homework yet.

To solve my problem, I decided I needed something that could be kept near the table, didn’t take up much space, and was somewhat easy on the eyes.  After much thought, I bought an inexpensive 3 drawer plastic cart with wheels.  I debated on the wheels, but kiddo said it would be good to move it around depending on where we were sitting at the table.  So, it is on the casters that came with the unit.  It fits very nicely in a corner by a half-wall in our eat-in dining area.  Unless you are standing in our kitchen by our stove, you can’t even see it.  And, we call all three still sit at our chairs at the table without it getting in the way.  Plus, it’s on wheels!  So it is easily moved if needed.

All the drawers happily organized and each with a purpose.

All the drawers happily organized and each with a purpose.

I organized the contents of the pantry into three categories to better organize the cart–supplies, learning stuff, and coloring books.  In the bottom drawer live all of the coloring books.  I am always AMAZED by how many coloring books we actually have–every time I look at them.  And, we never really use them because they have been hiding at the bottom of a box in the pantry.  I also think we need to downsize soon–and a donation to our children’s hospital may just be the answer.  The middle drawer houses all of our learning items–like workbooks, flashcards, story cubes, etc.

IMG_5520

The top drawer is home to our supplies.  Two small green buckets (that once were home to flower bulb plants we sent to my mom) hold crayons, small colored pencils, scissors, pencil sharpeners, etc.  These can easily be transported to the table when needed.  This drawer also holds our marker collection, glue, rulers, stickers, etc.  The flat top holds a long rectangular basket for pens and pencils that we use for daily homework.  The homework papers are kept next to the basket so as not to clutter up the table (at least I hope we can get this to be where we put them!).

New cart added to our kitchen area.  This hides behind a half wall and is next to our eat in kitchen table.

New cart added to our kitchen area. This hides behind a half wall and is next to our eat in kitchen table.

The drawers are a bit tinted, so the objects inside are obscured a little, but they still looked really messy to me from the outside.  I had also read about people making their carts like mine pretty with some sort of paper stuck to the inside.  I decided to be frugal and reuse some scrap paper left over from a project last year that looks like scrabble tiles.  The paper actually looks pretty nice from the outside and doesn’t stand out too much in our kitchen.  I simply cut it to size and scotch taped it at the top and bottom.  We can easily switch this out if we ever decide to do so.

I also designed some new labels for the drawers.  All of my daughter’s other drawers use the same label–both in her bedroom and in the pantry.  But, the pink flower didn’t really fit the scrapbook paper I picked or the decor of our kitchen.  So, I decided to design and laminate a little more sophisticated label for these drawers that still had a bit of whimsy.  They are simply a black and white version of the labels I used on the baskets in my pantry.  I really wanted to use some sort of scrabble tile font, but couldn’t find one to easily download.  I am still working on that.  If anyone knows a good one, let me know!

I have high hopes for the third times a charm rule on this one.  Hopefully this solution works out.  It has already made me happier already, because I freed up 1/2 of a shelf in my pantry and our lunch bags, cups we use for morning smoothies, and some extra pantry items now have a home!  Plus, my daughter is able to access her supplies much easier all on her own.  Total win so far.

Yeah for a more useful pantry!  Still hold some art and craft supplies, but our every day use items are easily to access now.

Yeah for a more useful pantry! Still holds some art and craft supplies, but our every day use items are easily to access now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 responses to “New addition to the kitchen–A rolling kiddo cart!

  1. Such a great idea to have all their stuff in one place – and on wheels! I’m hosting a giveaway for two great pillow covers that you should enter. http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com/2013/11/pillow-covers-giveaway.html

    • Kayla,
      Thank you for your sweet remarks! I cannot take the credit for the wheels. I wasn’t going to put them on, but the kiddo thought it would be fun. Turned out she’s kind a brilliant sometimes.

  2. […] seems to permeate every room of our house and also how I tackled some storage problems related to homework/learning center in our eat-in kitchen.  It’s funny to look back on some of these posts because I realized […]

  3. […] well today, though I did make a little adjustment by moving some of my daughter’s things to a rolling cart in the kitchen.  But, my kitchen cupboards were giving me a bit of grief.  Specifically two cupboards in […]

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