Sunday, January 25, 2009

Operation: Kitchen Organization

Okay, I can be a little OCD about some things... I will whole-heartedly admit that. You would not know it by the way my house looks most days, last Friday afternoon in particular. My father-in-law came and got the girls to spend the night and I couldn't WAIT to light in on what seriously resembled a war zone in my living room. Polly Pockets, mini hair brushes, miscellaneous game pieces, all as far as the eye could see. It didn't take long to straighten it all up, but the real thrill was the next morning when hubby and I sorted through and put some toys in the garage to "rotate" in and out, as well as trashing some of the "junk" toys (like the ones from Happy Meals, The Dollar Tree, and all the odd-ball Polly Pocket shoes with no match). We do this from time to time, but ALWAYS when the girls are gone for obvious reasons. The living room was looking great, and I got on a roll and headed for the kitchen.

I knew I wasn't going to be able to completely overhaul it like I wanted too, after all, the kids would be home in a few hours. But I decided to do what I could, starting with that "drop off" zone on top of the counter. You know what I'm talking about, that space in your house where the mail, the book bags, keys, and everything else that doesn't have a proper place gets left. It was getting out of hand, to say the least. And though the little file box I had bought a while back with a slot for everyone's paper "stuff" has helped tremendously, it was all the other non-paper stuff that was now taking over. I was pleased that it didn't take long to find everything a happy home. Why was I putting all that off? I guess I was figuring that there wasn't going to be any room in the cabinets, oh well.

I don't care how big your kitchen is, I don't think any woman is satisfied with the amount of cabinet space she has. When we first moved into our house 3 years ago, I remember thinking to myself that I should have cabinet space LEFT OVER. Yeah, that lasted about a week. Whatever space I have, believe me, I can fill it up fast. This comes mostly from the fact that I am a pack rat and like to save things "just in case" I might need them later on. Inevitably when I do throw something away, I will need it the moment the garbage truck is hauling it away from my house. I am trying to do better, but like most things, it's a process.

Anyway, as I was working my way around the room, the two major areas I wanted to concentrate on (besides the "junk" pile) was underneath the sink and the silverware drawer. I recently bought a dish pan to put our cans in until they make it to the garage to the recycle bin. Before that, the cans just accumulated on the counter mocking me and my attempt at a tidy kitchen. I took everything out from under the sink and grabbed a rag and some cleaner and went to town (that means I got busy for all y'all above the Mason Dixon!). I put back my vases, cleaners, and trash bags (that were housed there previously) tossed the old magic erasers and such, took cleaning rags to the laundry room, and then placed my dish pan under there. Wow! I know it sounds lame, but it just thrilled me to death. When my in-laws came, my father-in-law was about to throw a can away and he said, "Are you still saving cans?" I said, "Yes, just put it in the dish pan under the sink." He opened the cabinet and said, "Well, how about that!" I think that's code for "That's a super-fine looking set-up you got there!" in man language. That's what I'm telling myself anyway!

As for the silverware drawer, I wish I had taken a before and after picture, seriously. I'm ashamed to admit how much it needed to be cleaned, not just organized. So again, I took everything out and got my Antibacterial Windex on the job. I washed all the silverware and my husband even took his Lowe's gift card that he got for his birthday and we bought a wooden expandable utensil tray. By now I guess you can tell that it doesn't take much to get me excited, but it looks awesome. On our organizational roll, we also bought a wire contraption to attach to the cabinet door for wax paper, aluminum foil, etc. That in turn freed up a whole other drawer, so I began to separate cooking utensils between two drawers instead of cramming them all into one. I'm telling you, I am fired up now! I'm going to get into the cabinets one by one and go through the whole kitchen and organize myself silly! Seriously, it has given me such a sense of peace to open a drawer and be able to actually FIND something (Oh, I found lots of stuff while cleaning. Sometimes two or more of the same things. That's just wasteful, buying something because you can't find it, or worse, not knowing you had one in the first place!). Maybe I'll even post some pictures of my progress if I'm not too embarrassed of the "before" shots. Next stop on the "Operation: Kitchen Organization" route? I'm thinking Junk Drawer. Wish me luck!!

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