That might sound a bit melodramatic. Who- Me??
And yet, my kitchen has been given a new lease on life, in the sense that the kitchen has gone from a room that I didn’t care for very much to a room that I actually enjoy.
Nothing against my kitchen specifically. It’s just that kitchens aren’t all that fun. You’re either standing at a hot stove and sweating and cooking up a meal (that’s let face it, somebody is going to complain about,) or you’re standing at the sink scrubbing dishes and sloshing icky water – and I don’t like icky or sticky or slimy or gross-anything touching me. Ewww.
But that’s all a matter of perspective and attitude, isn’t it? Gee, God’s been teaching me a lot about that lately, hasn’t He?
And it helps that I’ve decided to change my attitude, roll up my sleeves, and spruce my kitchen up with a little reorganization rather than just harboring bad thoughts about the room I spend most of my time in each day. And Laura’s Monthly Organizational Round-Up gave me a little bit of motivation to stay on task, too.
If I talked about and showed pictures of everything that I have worked on in the last month, well, we’d be here a while and you’d quit reading before you ever got to the end. Suffice to say that I have dug through every single cabinet and workspace in my kitchen and left no corner untouched. It was a thorough job. Some of the cabinets were in pretty good shape from when I did a little bit of reorganizing back in the summer, and some of them got a total overhaul. So how about I just show you a handful (or two) of pictures and talk about my new favorite spaces in my “new” kitchen?
First let me say that my initial goal was to improve the “view” that Big Daddy gets when he first walks in the door (since that’s the door he comes in when he gets home.) I realized, after a friend pointed it out, that my least favorite room in the house is the first thing Big Daddy sees when he gets home, and that the first part of the kitchen he sees is the front/top of the fridge and the bakers rack – both of which were overrun with clutter. Not a very welcoming sight. My original goal when I started this task was to improve my husbands first impression when he walks in the door. And then of course the reorganizing just spread like wildfire!
With the help of my new fridge basket, by moving the microwave, and by regrouping the things on the bakers rack to “pots and pans on top” and “appliances on bottom,” Big Daddy now has a view worth coming home to. (Also, my washer/dryer tackle helped since that’s just to the right when you walk in the door, too.)
Clearing the top of the fridge was no small task! Among other things, I found up there: desk items like notecards and staples, 28 bottles and boxes of medicine, pet meds, 2 bottles of glue and 2 tubes of superglue, 3 bottles of craft paint, EIGHT disposable cameras (4 of them used and 1 half-used – which is bad b/c I haven’t used any since we got our digital camera a year and a half ago), candy and gum, a few pre-natal vitamins (ummm, Little Prince is TWO), a stopwatch, a nightlight, nighlight bulbs, flashlight, a computer mouse, and last but not least, pumpkin seeds. I told you it was crazy. I pulled everything down to the table, sorted it, decided what needed to remain in the basket, and put everything else in the trash can or a new home. Here’s a picture at the end of the sorting process.
I also cleared the clutter from the front and side of the fridge by paring down Little Prince’s magnets and tucking them into the “hidey” hole where they are less visible, creating an art “gallery” in the school area with fishing line and clothespins, throwing away as much as possible, and hiding my magnets with emergency numbers, etc, behind the magnetic dry erase calendar. Now I’m not really sure what I’m going to use the pink magnetic clippies for but they’re too cute so I’m not getting rid of them yet. 🙂 I created a “memo board” by my mail sorter where I can temporarily tuck dr. appt. cards or birthday invitations for a limited amount of time so that they don’t end up back on my fridge again.
Another new favorite space is my new workspace next to the stove. My friend Mama Nut wanted to get rid of this microwave/kitchen cart because it’s too tall for her, and when she found out I could use it she let me have it. Turns out, it’s the perfect height for my stove! Putting it there not only allowed me to use the other microwave cart for my microwave (which ya know, helped the bakers rack look less cluttered) but it also created an ideal work space for preparing food. The other one worked, but this is so much better. I love, love, love having it there. The taller cart allows me to use the blender next to the stove (the cord can reach the plug now) so I’ve stored the blender and food chopper there along with my two extra cutting boards (makes sense.) I’ve used part of a shelf for bakeware overflow from under the oven which makes it easier to find things in that drawer. And now I also have a basket with tablecloths and aprons (including my new one!) in it for easy access while cooking or setting the nearby table. Yay – those have never really had a good home! I also like how having the other microwave cart at the end of the kitchen counter (even though it is shorter) instead of the desk seems to elongate the kitchen and give an illusion of more space. Awesome!
One small thing I like is a plastic bin I added on the one little shelf under my sink which holds gloves, sponges, scrubbers and magic erasers. With my box of trash bags next to it, these things are easier to get to instead of being floor level inside of a bigger crate. How convenient!
And my last favorite thing about my “new” kitchen is my new pantry cabinets with “overstock” area. The two high cabinets of the pantry are a little hard to reach so I previously used them to hold paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, storage containers for leftovers and paper plate holders (now stored under the microwave,) plastic ziploc bags, saran wrap, and aluminum foil (now stored above the stove), plastic grocery sacks (now stored over the washer and dryer) and appliances like my crockpot and electric grill (which have now joined the other appliances on the bakers rack.) Now, however, it contains a few picnic and outdoor grill type things on the top little shelf and everything else is overstock from my baking or regular pantry goods.
My main two pantry cabinets got an overhaul, too! With some plastic containers and a three dollar label maker Mama Nut bought for me, I can see and find all my beans and pasta in a glance. With the two old baskets from the top of my fridge, I contain all my pouch mixes in one, and all the half packages of crackers or little boxes of raisins or jello, etc, in the other. I intend to also buy a shelf similar to this one to help organize the plastic containers, a couple of containers for cereal, and a container for spaghetti noodles to finish it out. I would have already if Big Daddy hadn’t been sick for a week without pay. Realizing it’s not as important as my inner organizational urges might want me to believe, I’ve put that on hold for a few weeks to make sure we pay all our bills first. *sigh* Life goes on.
See? I told you this would be long, and those are just the big things. At some point I want to get a hanging basket for vegetables. Old-lady-like, I know, but I need to have a place to put them! A friend said she might have one to give me. In the meantime, this’ll do. If you want to see more, let me leave you with a few thumbnails to browse. And let me just say that I feel this is one mission that has definitely been accomplished. With a little bit of elbow grease, some determination, some creativity, a change in attitude (that’s a BIGGY), some new curtains, and a lot of leaning on God when I just wanted to sit around and be lazy, I now have a cozy kitchen that welcomes my husband home, inspires me, and – AND! – that I actually want to keep clean. Now imagine that.
- More views of the kitchen area:
- The bakers rack:
- Tackling the top of the fridge:
- The three rolling carts:
- Kitchen cabinets (Mixing/Measuring/Baking & Drink Station; Dinnerware; Over the stove.) I added the hand mixer and cooling racks to the far left cabinet, the special pink dishes to the middle cabinet, and each white basket over the stove got rearranged and regrouped according to type and frequency of use.) :
- Under the kitchen sink (scaled down to two milk crates to free one up for the tablecloths – one contains light cleaning items such as windex, dusters and vacuum bags, the other contains the harder cleaners for mopping and bathtubs, etc.):
More posts about my kitchen, or my journey to a cleaner kitchen (some of them with pictures):
- 8 Random Things About My Kitchen (A Meme)
- Tackling My Kitchen
- WFMW – Happy House Cleaning
- Works For Me Wednesday – 3 Kitchen Tips
- WFMW – 5 Kitchen Tips That Really Work!
- Thankful Thursday – Look How Far God Has Brought Me
So that’s it for the kitchen challenge. All that’s left is to maintain it. Can anybody say “self-discipline?” Now…on to the dining room! 😉