I tried my best to get before-and-after shots of everything for posterity, and, in some cases, I believe it will once again make me feel as if I might have flounced around in front of all of you in sundry states of undress. But in the tradition of God's original design (read: naked and unashamed) here are pictures of the process. I'm among friends here, right?
I didn't straighten any of the messes before snapping the shots. I have often heard of people who can afford someone coming in to clean their houses cleaning up before the cleaner(s) got there (SandraLane, you know I'm talking about you!). Nope, this is what it looked like and what we were dealing with on a daily basis.
This was my exact starting place. As we would say around Quaint Cottage when staring a mess in the face, this was "crunchy" (thirteen years of marriage with Ma Luffin' Mayun has developed quite an, uh, unique vernacular). A nice, hot mess. This cabinet was being used to store platters, underused appliances (i.e. ice cream maker), glass baking dishes, and a bunch of other bull butter (another us-ism...hey, is that a rabbit trapped under a glass cake plate lid?!).
Here is the same cabinet now. I know exactly what is in it. These are all appliances that I use on a regular basis (food processor, crockpot, blender, dehydrator, lightbulb oven (okay, maybe I don't use that regularly, but Brilliant Beauty can't bear parting with it), but don't want out on my counters. And all of the attachments and accessories for each of these appliances are stored together in the repurposed clementine oranges wooden box to the bottom right of the cabinet. This cabinet has been like this for a couple of weeks and TOTALLY makes sense, as well as kitchen life much simpler. *I also purged from my small appliances a deep fryer. I simply never used it. Judging by my thighs I shouldn't start now, so off it goes.
Next came this cabinet. As you can see it is half the size of the previous one, yet I was trying to make it contain all of the appliances.
Here it is now...
Good grief, what a difference. The contents are now mixing bowls, a few platters to actually BE USED (isn't that innovative?), glass bakeware, and measuring cups and spoons. This cabinet is located under the largest counter workspace I have and parallel to the upper cabinets where all of my pantry items are stored, so it makes too much sense for this to be home to mixing and measuring tools.
Another repurposed clementine oranges wooden box is home to my measuring cups and spoons.
This is some of the crizzap that came out of these two cabinets (except for the guitar...but don't think it couldn't have been in there buried under all that stuff). It will now Keep On Moving.
Next, the top of the refrigerator was quickly becoming the stuff of nightmares. Blech. I hate even looking at this junk heap.
Ahhhh. That's better. These are all things that I love and use (or want to use more), but haven't had in the right place to access or enjoy. I love it!
This is the cabinet above the stove. It's high up and really not a good place for the cookbooks, but I haven't put the thought into what should be there instead before now (really as with all the other kitchen elements).
So now the cabinet contains the ice cream maker, extra paper towel rolls, and extra napkins.
Alas, another poorly used cabinet, just to the upper right of the stove.
Now I can reach my cookbooks and the teapots (which I intend to use more).
Our medicine is stashed on the top shelf of this cabinet, with cooking oils, vinegars, and some spices on the bottom shelf. This cabinet is to the left of the stove.
I basically tidied this cabinet up. Once again, our super-consumption of clementines is obvious by the wooden box that now contains our medicines on the top shelf (I.love.these.boxes). And I put our frequently used spices (salt, pepper, creole seasoning, and cinnamon/sugar mix) in a glass bowl that can be taken down and put back before and after each meal.
Okay. This looks so staged. But I assure you, it ain't. When I opened this cabinet to take the before shot all this nonsense tumbled out.
Oh yeah. Now, all the plastic containers are stored with their lids on in a soft-formed box that can be easily taken in and out of the cabinet.
Also, plastic cups are stored in this cabinet so that Brilliant Beauty can grab one when she's thirsty and get herself something to drink.
Alright. This is so gag-a-maggot-on-a-gut-truck (so is that phrase, come to think of it).
Wow. A clean floor. And the drawer got a clean-out and straightening.
For some reason I don't have a before picture of this cabinet, but it was thoroughly winnowed and now looks like this. Also, because of the consolidation I was able to accomplish from cleaning out unused and underused stuff, I now have a cabinet completely dedicated to my reusable grocery sacks which were sorely homeless. It's a bit crammed full, but since the bags are all that's in there, I can live with that.
Here are the drawers...
large dinner trays and miscellaneous items
foils, wraps, and plastic bags
There are a couple of other things I added to make room in cabinets and cut down on clutter. One is the addition of hooks under the cabinets to hang coffee mugs.
One of my all-time favorite additions arrived courtesy of my uber-talented blacksmithing father-in-law, Pawpaw. He made this for me. A one of a kind...
I love it!
Here's the pile of chaff (although I could think of another noun to substitute there), boxed, bagged, and thrift-store-ready.
Now here are shots of my freshly-cleaned, thoroughly-winnowed, user-friendly kitchen that I love so dearly.
Man, this feels good. Genuinely, I nearly don't have words to describe how gratifying it is to walk into this space and know that everything in it has been deliberated over and thought threw to determine it's function and purpose, to get rid of excessive and ill-used items, and embrace possessions that can serve our FabFive to the fullest.
I really do so love my kitchen now. I feel peaceful within it and about it. It would have been so nice to have winnowed the kitchen long ago, but alas, it is what it is...and I'm loving it now!
I thought I would end this post with images of some of my favorite elements in my kitchen; a little show-and-tell. Most all of them, almost without exception, are things someone else has Kept Moving and now are treasured by my us-es. If you've made it this far into the post, thanks for hanging in there through the process. It's been somehow cathartic just sharing it, and I so enjoy having you along for the journey.
These are my daily-used untensils in my favorite red vase
The coffee station (Ma Luffin' Mayun's favorite spot in the room)
My humble and often-used collection of cast iron
My BFF water bottle
I have forever loved this sewing box I got from my grandmother-in-law, Ma, (where I get lots of my treasures), so I decided to line the inside and use it to hold my everyday kitchen soaps and cleaners
When we lost my grandmother, RubyLee, all I wanted was her house plants. This is one of them
Cuban oregano from Schilde, with a stained-glass angel from JoJo
curtains I made when we first moved into Quaint Cottage
My window to the world of birds and kids at play
A lovely lantern from JoCanMax that sits atop the kitchen table my mother did her homework on when she was a girl
Who doesn't love Kermit T. Frog?
A trivet given by a dear friend about a million years ago (remember, TopNotchTeacher?)
These glasses and wire rack were another find by Ma. I had them on top of my cabinets as decoration for years, but decided I love them too much and they deserve to be used well
An antique Emerson fan from my SandraLane that used to cool her grandmother in the heat of cooking on the hottest of days
An angel made out of dishtowels and a oven mitt made by TheWorld'sGreatestNeighbor
Thanks again for reading!
P.S. I just proofed and there's a lot of "love" in this post. But seeing that it's 12:53am, I'm gonna let it eat...