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Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Organizing Bug: Episode 1: Kitchen

A couple of times a year it hits me. The organizing bug. I start to get a little more antsy in our house. The amount of "stuff" we have around irritates me. I feel like I can't FIND things... and if I let it come to a head, I start to want to just pitch everything. Usually it's about this time of year that I start letting the organizing bug take over - and this time around I thought I would chronicle this little bit of wackiness and share it with you.

I started with our kitchen. Our kitchen is.... irritating. When we bought our house I thought - this is awesome, it's big enough for a kitchen table, has a big window over the sink... fabulous!

Then we moved in and it started to sink in that I only had 2 drawers in the whole kitchen. 2. Drawers. That the corner had a cupboard that was basically completely blind and in order to get at anything in those corners you'd  have to take practically everything out and then perform some kind of contortionism to get the things from the corner out. That the floor was SO not level and that the tile that I actually kind of liked wasn't actually marbled... it was really dirty - and had a TONNE of little nicks, nooks, crannies and such that just were magnetised for dirt.

There didn't seem to be a way that made sense for putting things away... and as such, every now and again, when I let the bug take over, I go "deep clean" mode. It started with emptying out all the cupboards and the 2 drawers. Absolutely EVERYTHING came out. I cleared off our counters completely, and then with a bleach/dish soap solution every counter top, bit of molding, cupboard, shelf, etc got scrubbed and wiped down. Then the purge.

At this point I need the hubs to come in and slow me down. Left to my own devices we'd have 2 plates, cups, bowls, and set of cutlery each ... and that'd be it. Honestly, I'd just started throwing everything out. The rule that I abide by is: if it hasn't been used in a year OR we have more than 1 of an item, it can probably go. There are exceptions of course. I only kept 1 peeler, but I kept 2 pizza cutters.

Now - I apologise, I don't have any before pictures... I was honestly far too embarrassed by the state of our kitchen to even consider taking any. I DO, however, have after pictures to share with you. Yay!

The stand mixer must have a permanent working place on our countertop, since it gets used regularly. I also decanted most of our large jug cooking/baking staples into matching stoppered bottles (Ikea, $3!) so that they would look pretty since they have to sit out and wouldn't take up as much space. The large jugs are stored down in our laundry room/pantry

These cupboards are original to the house. They were gross with a capital G-ROSS when we moved in, but we scrubbed the life out of them and painted them black. They're not the best cupboards, certainly not the prettiest, but they were there and they work.

Our dinner board! Let me tell you - this thing is a LIFESAVER. No more "what do you want to have for dinner...." convos. We just put up the calendar, write down what's for dinner, and I can plan ahead for our grocery shopping list and know what to get out of the freezer/fridge in prep for dinner. Dry erase, reusable, brilliant.
 I have a lovely little shelf (this actually sits above the stairs to our basement) on which to store my cookbooks. You may notice some Deceptively Delicious (pureed veg in your baked goods anyone?) and of course, my treasured Joy of Cooking.
Table, whiteboard, and dog water bowl. It's gotta function y'know!

Got limited storage in your kitchen? Me too. Two words: POT. RACK. This hangs above our sink and is the best idea the hubs ever had for our kitchen.
Certain things just can't fit in the cupboards when you have limited space. So, my goal is - if it has to sit out, it should at least look nice. That's why all our black/silver items occupy this corner together.

The fridge/freezer gets the same treatment: if it's expired, or if we have 2 (or in some cases) 3 of the same item, we keep the newest and get rid of the rest. I decided to go with baskets for organizing our fridge this time, and I have to say - I LOVE it. Just a few bucks at the Dollarama goes a long long way.

And the dreaded kitchen floor. Oh, how I HATE this floor. It's a gross cream/tan non-pattern linoleum which is like completely magnetized for dirt. And normally I would not use heavy chemical cleaners...I'm generally a bakingsoda and vinegar kind of gal... but this floor. I went out, bit the bullet and bought a jug of ammonia. It stinks (lemon scented my a*&), it needs a LOT of ventilation (I wouldn't recommend using it in the winter) but boy does it ever work. And now that I've got all that grossness out, it'll be back to apple cider vinegar for our floor for quite some time.

We've also just created a coffee/tea/light breakfast station at the foot of our stairs which gets some things out of our kitchen. And we have a separate pantry in our laundry room in the basement, which I will discuss in a separate post.

So voila! Even in our little, basic suburban kitchen we can have order and organization! And cleanliness! But I also have gone full-disclosure here: I didn't hide anything, don't judge our choices please :P It is what it is - a working kitchen for our little fam. Hopefully you can take some ideas or inspiration from it!

So go! Organize and deep clean your kitchen. But make sure you have plenty of tea. You're gonna need it.


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