Messy Tea

I don’t know about you, but if my kitchen isn’t organized I cannot keep it clean, either. Once I manage to organize a drawer, however, we manage to keep it that way.

Once I tackled the spice drawers, I knew the next step was to purge and organize our tea cupboard. I also new it was time when a guest pointed out to me that it was really disorganized and needed some work. She left and I started planning.

It’s really too bad I didn’t get a good “before” photo. The before photo should have been all of the various tea bags, tins and boxes haphazardly crammed on the little shelves. Instead, you can see the enormous amount of tea I extracted before the purge.

I have no idea how this all fit in. I think we hadn’t even looked at most of it in years.

I then threw out all of the old tea and brought any tea we didn’t like to work (green tea, I’m looking at you!). I sorted the rest into categories such as rooibos, herbal, black and oolong. Can you tell I’m married to a Brit? Tea is serious business in our house.

Empty tea cupboard- once stuffed full and now waiting for a makeover.
Empty tea cupboard- once stuffed full and now waiting for a makeover.

I bought 12 coloured tins from David’s Tea and filled them up. Anything that didn’t fit was given to friends or the office. I’m always up for colour-coding, and this was no exception. Here is the “Oolong” tin:


Now I had organized the tea, but I knew that it would still remain a mess if I didn’t make everything easily accessible. I decided a tiered-pull out shelf was just the ticket and found this tutorial online. I won’t go over the details (there is nothing to add to Ana White’s tutorials, she is fantastic), but I will show some of the steps and the final results.


Here are my tips:

  • I don’t have a table saw and needed square cuts. My chop saw was too small, so I went to Rona and asked them to cut it for me. The people at Rona are usually wonderful and they cut all of the plywood for me. They even cut the plywood for my pantry project (stay tuned).
  • Keeping everything square is paramount. I used a squared piece of plywood as a guide to install the runners in the cabinet itself. You can see it in the (extremely flattering) photo of me with the drill and my head in the cupboard.
  • The shelf was a little small, so I used a small, flat piece of wood as a shim when installing the runners to the pull out shelf.

All that was left was deciding what to do with the door. The pull out shelf was roughly the the width of the cabinet, so I could not use the hinges that opened the cabinet face. I removed the face and drilled it directly to the front face of the pull out shelf (from the inside). I left the asymmetrical handle, as moving it would leave a hole. Luckily, it is less annoying than I thought it would be.

All loaded up! I added labels and created a
All loaded up! I added labels and created a “tea map”. It has stayed tidy ever since.

Notice the giant tins on the bottom shelf. Those are the important, everyday teas. My husband is an addict.

Sneak Peak

Isn’t it beautiful?



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