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Picture your dream kitchen. Now imagine you had to choose between style and functionality: Which way do you go? Anastasia Casey, founder of The Identité Collective blog, picked the first option. Then she called organizing pro Shira Gill to come and salvage what she could of the storage. 

The remodel had eliminated all of the upper cabinets, most of the lower cupboards, and a hefty amount of interior shelving; Gill had her work cut out for her. “My goal was to create functionality for real-life cooking and hosting, without adding any visual clutter,” she says. First, Gill ditched any duplicates (two spatulas is too many) and donated anything Casey and her husband didn’t regularly use. Then she got inventive. 

All it took was a lighter color palette and some open shelving to display Casey’s vintage Heath Ceramics collection to change the blogger’s outlook on meal prep. “Since the remodel, I’ve literally been cooking nightly!” she says. “My husband wakes up early every morning, makes his pour-over coffee, and wipes down the counters for like 20 minutes. He loves it as much as I do.” 

We spoke to Gill to learn how she squeezed in storage where there previously was none—without compromising her aesthetic vision.

Tricks of the Eye

If you can’t hide your cooking essentials, turn them into accent pieces. “We ditched all plastic, opting for natural materials like wood and seagrass,” says Gill. By getting rid of packaging and using matching woven baskets (more on those later) and glass canisters instead, she streamlined the look of the open pantry. Then she decanted dry goods, like pasta and nuts, into those containers so Casey can take inventory quickly. 

Location, Location, Location

Casey had already designed a custom spice rack that tucks in next to the fridge, putting the ingredients right next to the stove for easy access—all Gill had to do was fill it with matching mini jars. The pro followed a similar strategy for the placement of the cooking oils and vinegars (they found a home immediately inside the pantry); everything is organized according to how frequently it’s needed. 

Catchalls Wherever Possible

In Casey’s kitchen, they took the form of deep, woven bins, which house everything from bulky appliance parts to baking supplies. “Matching custom labels clipped onto them makes it easy to find what you need and maintain order,” Gill explains. 

Rolling Racks

“It was the most affordable upgrade we made to the kitchen, and we are obsessed!” says Gill. She installed pull-out racks from The Container Store in all the lower cabinets, doubling the cabinet storage and making it a cinch to grab heavy pots and pans. Every inch counts, right?