Archive for the ‘organizing’ Category

Update on Organizing the Kitchen.

February 1, 2009

Well, today is the first of February, and I am not done with the kitchen.  In fact, I am only about half done.  I still have a lot of de-cluttering to do, a couple of drawers and several cabinets.  I still have some work to do on making things work well.  The next step is to consider Rabbit Trails.  What things do I do often, that I run all over the kitchen (or house) to gather the stuff needed to do those things.  Can I move some stuff to make it easier to do those things?  In some cases yes, and in some cases no.  So, considering all of this, I am going to spend another month on the kitchen. 

I have done a lot in the kitchen so far.  I have:

moved the dishes so that the kids can put them away and set the table.

bought a spice rack so that I no longer waste time looking for spices that I know I have.

installed a pull-out drawer in the cabinet where I keep the pots and pans.  This makes it easier to get them out and put them away.

de-cluttered the counters, and made (and am keeping) a goal of keeping them clear.

 

I still have a lot to do. I have to:

de-clutter several cabinets and a couple of drawers.

replace the flooring (wish me luck with this one!)

paint the walls (I don’t know if this one will happen either). 

 

I have learned several things so far.  I have learned that:

I have to run the dishwasher AT LEAST twice a day.

it is better to run the dishwasher 3/4 full, than to wait until it is full.  If I wait until the dishwasher is full, then there are dishes left over and they clutter up the counters. 

the kids CAN load, unload, and start the dishwasher.

the kids (it is now Kiddo’s job) can set the table.

that little changes can make big differences.  (Changes like moving the dishes so that the kids can get to them.  I didn’t even put them down low, I just moved them to where a ladder can reach them.)

 

Things are looking up as far as the kitchen goes.  I just wish that the whole house looked so good.

Still Working on the Kitchen

January 27, 2009

pretty-pattern

My goal of having a self-cleaning kitchen by the end of January is coming along nicely.  (I know that it won’t really clean itself, but anything that makes it easier…) 

I have new spice racks.  I picked a kind that has three drawers that you lay the bottles of spice in.  Each drawer pulls out when you need it and then you can slide the drawer back.   Each drawer can hold 9 spices (double that if they are the short bottles), so I got two. 

 spice-racks

I put my most used spices in the bottom drawer and alphabetized the rest.  I wrote on the drawers with a wet-erase (visa-vis or overhead projector) marker.  If I want to change it, I just have to wash it off. 

open-spice-racks

So far, these are working great!  I no longer spend ten min. looking for a spice that I ‘know’ I have but can’t find.  The basket on the top shelf holds the extra bags of spices (I buy in bulk and then refill my bottles), jars of extracts, food coloring, and things that might leak if they were stored laying down. 

My new kitchen project is to keep the kitchen counter clear at all times.  The kids have been helping to load and unload the dishwasher (it is much easier for them since I rearranged the cabinets), and I am making a point not to leave anything on the counter.  Its only been two days on this goal, and Dh keeps pointing out other things that need to be cleaned and then saying, “But the kitchen is the priority right now.”  At least he gets it.  I still have one major cabinet and one more drawer to clean out and organize, but I think that I might reach my goal by the end of Jan.

My Bread Machine Died

January 21, 2009

My bread machine died Sat. night.  The paddle in it was stripped and no longer turns.  The last loaf that I put in came out with water on the bottom, a doughy gooey kind of stuff in the middle, and flour and yeast on top.  YUCK!  At first I thought that I was just not getting the paddle pushed all the way down, but it wasn’t me, it was the machine. 

My Dh is great though!  He ordered me a new one that night!  He even let me get the one I wanted.  Our new one (which is on its way) will have two paddles in it.  It is also stronger (more power) so that it should last a little longer.  This will be my third bread machine, and they have all been good, but haven’t lasted too long as we use them a lot.  I can’t wait for it to get here.

I have been making bread by hand.  Even with the same recipe, it comes out a little differently, so we are eating more bread.  I have made bread everyday since the machine died.  I really can’t wait for the new machine to get here.  I know that it will take several loaves to get the recipe ‘right.’ But that is not a big price to pay for having a tried and true recipe for daily use.  Have I said that I can’t wait for the new machine to get here?

Organizing the cabinets so that the girls can put things away.

January 13, 2009

As I have been thinking about how I use the kitchen and how the girls could help more, I realized that they don’t put dishes away because it is VERY difficult for them.  The dishwasher is under the cabinet were the most used dishes are kept.  When the dishwasher is open, there is no place to put a ladder where they can reach the cabinet.  In fact, the only way for them to put dishes away is for one girl to climb up on the counter and for another to hand dishes to her.  It doesn’t happen very often. 

There are only two low cabinets, and neither seem like a good place to store plates and cups and bowls.  That leaves the upper cabinets, but they can’t reach them.   Then I realized that with the ladder they can reach two cabinets, so I decided to put the plates and bowls there.  I put less used items over the dishwasher.  Now they can unload most of the dishes from the dishwasher and they can set the table without help.  This is a good thing!

The only bad thing is that Dearie is totally resisting change right now.  She keeps telling me how much she likes the old way.  I think that she has gotten too much MSG in the last few days and even though she has not had a headache, her behavior has taken a nose dive.  But that is a story for another post.

Organizing the Kitchen

January 10, 2009

I did not make any new years resolutions this year, but I did set a goal for January.  After reading the book “The House that Cleans Itself,”  I decided to tackle one room per month.  This month I am organizing the Kitchen.

The book is pretty cool.  It talks about how to change a room to fit the habits of the people who live there instead of trying to change the habits of the people.  (Of course you can only change the house so much, the people will have to change some too.)  In November, I converted the entryway the way that “The House that Cleans Itself” recommends.  It was pretty easy to do, but the entry way is the only room that the book walks you through.  “The House that Cleans Itself” does tell you how to figure out what to do in the other rooms, but you are much more on your own than in the first room.

So, I have been doing a lot of research on-line for ideas and solutions to problems that I have in the kitchen.  First I organized the pantry.  After I got rid of half of the cookbooks (don’t get too excited, I just put them in the basement), there was room for a snack basket as well as for all of the food I keep there.  I have some before and after pictures.

 

Before:

pantry-before1

 

This is after I cleaned out the pantry:

empty-pantry

I didn’t take everything out.  I left the things that are working for us now.  I keep onions, garlic, and potatoes in the bins, and the containers on top hold grains and pasta and beans and other stuff like that.

This is what the table looked like after I emptied the pantry:

stuff-from-the-empty-pantry

 

And finally, the finished pantry:

clean-pantry

 

Its been a couple of weeks since I finished the pantry, and it still looks pretty good.  I moved more than half of the books to the basement.  (I know that I should have gotten rid of them, but our diet has totally changed more than once.   Several times I have gone to books, that at one point I thought I would never use again, and found them very helpful.  So until I am sure that we will always eat the way we are now, I just can’t throw out any cookbooks.)  I also created a “snack shelf.”  It is a place to put snacks that the kids can get (with permission).   I also moved some of the food to the basement.  There is no reason to have multiples in prime space.  (We buy in bulk so it is often temping to just put everything in the pantry instead of in storage in the basement.)

I have also been working on the drawers and cabinets.  I will tell more about them in another post.  I am working on a solution to my 50 spice bottles.  Haven’t found it yet, but am working on it.  I will post about that after I figure it out.  (I know,  just get a turntable, but Dh HATES turntables.  I don’t know why but he does, so I am looking at other options.)  My goal is to have a Kitchen that cleans itself by the end of January.