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Simplify: The Kitchen

September 11, 2010

I mentioned a few weeks ago how we were making several changes in how our family operates. One of those changes is to simplify our lifestyle. Our days have become so cluttered with activities and tasks and our house has become cluttered with stuff.

I am home for much of every day and seem to be constantly making and cleaning up messes. I came up with two solutions for these constant messes.

1. Have less stuff.

2. Each piece of “stuff” has a place to be.

Not earth-shattering organizational advice, I know. I’m a little late to the game.

My simplify project for the fall/winter is this:

1. Go through each room, one at a time and weed out the stuff we no longer use.

2. Clean out all the nooks and cranies.

3. Put all the stuff that’s left, back in its place. If it didn’t have a place before, create one.

4. Stuff that we no longer need/use gets either trashed or stored in a bin for a big garage sale in the spring.

I really needed to make the basement the first room that I did since I plan on having several bins filled with stuff for a garage sale, but that task just seemed too daunting. So I started with the room that I spend the most time in: the kitchen.

Before:

With a little Monkey to help me out, the first cupboard I tackled was the island. Here I keep appliances that don’t get used too much, loads of plastic containers, and miscellaneous kitchen items that don’t have another place to go.

Before:

After:

I saved the good containers and tossed all the grubby ones. Each piece now has a place to be and that place is not just thrown on top of whatever was there first.

I have two drawers that give me trouble closing all the time. The drawer that holds my dish towels (when it’s full) and my random utensil drawer. It’s full of oddly shaped utensils that just get thrown into the drawer. (Quite literally, when Bruiser is helping me put the dishes away).

Before:

After:

Many rarely-used utensils were purged and all were categorized and straightened after the crumbs were wiped out of the drawer.

My non-perishable food cabinet doesn’t look too bad, until you realize what is behind the first row of food. Too much stuff just kept getting pushed back.

Before:

During:

My knees were thankful to have such an eager helper.

Helping is fun when you get to stand on the counter and find a half-opened bag of chocolate chips!

It’s not quite so fun when your mom hands you a wet rag and tells you to wipe down the shelves while she sneaks bites of chocolate chips scrubs the shelf-liners.

After:

I forgot to take an after picture, so I snapped this one a week later. Still organized.

This next cabinet is rather deceiving. It doesn’t look so bad, but it’s the corner cabinet so it goes pretty far back on the right hand side. All kinds of junk got shoved back there.

Before:

After:

So after cleaning out every cabinet (no, I didn’t show you all of them…I figured four was about three too many anyhow) I was left with this:

Before:

After:

This two-day cleaning project left me with a cleaner “inner kitchen” than “outer kitchen,” but the room already feels lighter to me!

Before:

After:

With the changing seasons, I’ll be switching over the boys wardrobes soon so I’m sure one of their rooms will be the next one for me to conquer. These posts of simplifying certainly aren’t the most exciting for you to read, I’m sure. They are mostly just for me…to remember the cluttery way I used to live and as a reminder to live more simply so that I can focus on the things in my life that really matter.

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