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Before and After: Kitchen Cleanup and Organization

A pro organizer is charged with getting a kitchen back in proper working order.

Sandy Thompson's kitchen is a wreck. At 9 x 13 feet, every inch of counter space is covered with reading materials, paperwork, food and countless knickknacks. She wants to get this space in working order again, but has no idea where to begin.

That's where professional organizer Deb Lillard comes into the picture. She is called upon to restore order and give Thompson a spacious, functional kitchen, where she can feel at ease.

The first step in making that happen is to sort through all that stuff, removing items that do not belong, deciding what can be donated, and creating piles for bakeware, plastics, cookware and dishes.

Once that's complete, Lillard outlines her plan to whip this kitchen into shape. She suggests a new laminated countertop to open up the space as well as a new dishwasher, reinforced shelving and hanging baskets for storage. Fresh wall paint and new curtains, chandelier and wood tiling in the dining room will add the finishing touches.


Before: The kitchen was overflowing with too many dishes, plastics, expired food and papers that had no business being there in the first place. There was hardly enough room to cook.


After: Now it's a spacious room with more countertop space, plenty of room for all of Thompson's cookbooks, appliances and food as well as everyday items like plates and silverware.

Thompson's new kitchen is more than she could have ever dreamed. She feels at ease and more productive in the new space, thanks to the expertise of organizer Deb Lillard.


Before: Not only were the countertops a jumbled mess, but the area below the sink was as well.


After: Now everything is neat and tidy, and a specific space has been assigned for each item.

Products from The Container Store:

four small under-shelf baskets
four large expandable shelves
two plastic lid holders
two medium racks, Maple
lid organizer
sliding cup rack
ceiling-mounted pot rack
two packs S hooks
pot hooks
Master Grip bookends
slim folding step stool
four Expand-a-Drawer cutlery organizers
under-sink storage shelf

Products from Designer Organizing Bags:

yellow creator bag (bags can be displayed as an accessory for the kitchen, bath, or bedroom)

Product from Seabrook Classics:

Plantation Buffet, White

Products from Solutions Catalog:

insulated tab-top curtains, Sage
8" drapery rod set, Oak

Products from Lillian Vernon:

White double-door desk

Sherwin-Williams paint colors used:

two gallons Lighthearted Pink, SW6568
two gallons Jocular Green, SW6736
one gallon flat white ceiling paint
one gallon White semigloss trim paint

Product from Kitchens By Design:

kitchen pantry

Product from The Counter Shop:

custom-made countertop


flooring and pantry installation, B & B Contracting
new ceiling fan and chandelier installation, Universal Wiring
electrical work for stove and dishwasher, Clover Electrical Service


Before: The cabinets above the sink were equally as messy as the ones below, even sagging in the middle from all the weight.


After: New stronger shelves hold the dishes that Thompson will use on a daily basis. All other items are stored elsewhere.


Before: Adjacent to the kitchen was an extremely cluttered dining area. When Thompson ran out of room in the kitchen, she simply used this area as a catchall. The dining table is barely visible and clearly not utilized.


After: The now-organized area includes a larger, plantation-style buffet and a small secretary's desk for the paperwork (not in view here). Fresh pink paint, sage-green curtains and a new chandelier complete the transformation.

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