I signed up three weeks ago for the Kitchen Cure. Week 1 wasn’t bad – over the course of an afternoon I organized and cleaned up my food stores. Week 2 was another story. Week 2 was the reason I signed up for the cure in the first place. This week’s assignment had me sorting, purging, and reorganizing all my *stuff* “From little stuff like flatware to big appliances.” I took the directions to heart and organized everything from biscuit cutters and muffin tins all the way up to stock pots and appliances. This project took most of the WEEK instead of an afternoon. I started with one drawer. That drawer went fine, so I did the rest of the drawers. The next day, I did the lower cabinets. The following day I did the upper cabinets and finally sorted serving pieces and placed them in the very highest cabinets of all.
The key for me was to get *everything* out where I could see it. This meant unpacking things, emptying drawers, and bringing up wedding presents (many still with store receipts!) from the basement so I could comprehend the scope of my belongings and also answer with definity questions like, “Do I have enough whisks?”.
After the “keepers” were selected, they were wiped down and placed back in their drawers. I even bought some pretty new organizers for the occasion. : )
Week 2 also involved choosing a “special project” to beautify your kitchen. We choose to replace the ugly mini-blinds we have already torn off all the other windows in the house and replace them with the shades we used in the living, dining, and bedrooms.
Unfortunately I do not have before/after pictures to share for all the nooks and crannies of my kitchen. One afternoon while I was at the office, Tyler decided to help and got things “pre-organized” for me. This was an invaluable aid, so I didn’t even get annoyed about the lack of before photos but I just wanted to let you all know what happened. Sadly we do live in a rental, so the kitchen is blighted with ugliness beyond what we can control. Please keep that in mind and reserve judgement.
Things had gotten *really* bad because this was a project I intended to implement from the first day we moved in, meaning that we’ve had months of living in relative kitchen disarray while I allowed myself to shove things into dark cabinet recesses and casually toss them into drawers. I don’t normally live like this. You saw my folded underwear drawer, right? This project had been intimidating me for a long time – even before I moved in with Tyler I had a mishmash of stuff I’d collected over college and had been moving from place to place. This was finally the time to make a fresh start, especially now that most of our needs have been taken care of thanks to the generosity of our friends and family.
This whole process was exhausting, more emotionally and mentally than physically, although I did manage to slam my finger in a door. A few tips for those of you embarking on the process yourselves:
1. Get everything out in the open – even if that means a blanket on your kitchen floor.
2. No excuses! This is the time to HONESTLY evaluate if something is worth the space it takes up in your life and to evaluate not only what you need to get rid of – but what might need to be replaced or added. All of our vegetable peelers were rusty and (IMO) hazardous. Out they went. Off I go to Williams Sonoma : ).
3. Bring a friend. Use the support of another person to help you make those tough decisions. When I needed to be reassured that it was okay to get rid of 4 perfectly decent cookie sheets, Tyler was there to remind me about the 4 brand-new super-fancy ones I had in the cupboard. He was there to help me realize I did not need them for some sort of unidentified craft project (part of the no excuses rule).
4. Don’t stop! It’s okay to do this project in phases – but don’t let yourself quit part way through. Keep at it, little by little, until it is done!
By the time we finished Week 2, I had cleared five HUGE boxes of stuff out of the kitchen, along with a George Forman Grill and an electric griddle. A room in our basement was nearly empty thanks to all the space we cleared out upstairs for the wedding presents (now in use!) and our kitchen is filled with useful items we love and cannot wait to use! So now you know, it can be done, and despite it all- the process is well worth it. Your kitchen probably isn’t as bad as mine was, but I’m sure it’s not perfect! Are you inspired yet?
Drawer 1 Before
Drawer 2 Before
Drawer 3 - Before
Mid-Utensil-Sorting: I like to organize categorically. I start big - utensils, flatware- and start moving into ever more specific groups - baking vs. stove cooking - then down to wooden spoons, whisks, thermometers. Meanwhile I literally move the items into questions into different piles - it's visual and helps keep me from losing my place in the process if I get distracted or have to do something else for a moment.
Drawer 1 - After
Drawer 2 - After
Drawer 3 - After
Cupboard - After (many dishes still in dishwasher)
After - Tupperware, Ceramic Baking, Small Appliances, Cookie Decorating
After- Pots, Cookie Sheets, Newly Hung Fire Extinguisher
The Discard Pile