Thursday, January 31, 2013

Decluttering The Outside of the Fridge.

I have fallen behind in my kitchen overhaul project: so many things left undone--and the month is over.

To boot, I am overwhelmed with clutter. Th dishes have piled up (again), the living room is awash with scraps of paper from my daughter's efforts to pull together her science fair project presentation board--and bits of construction paper flotsam and sticky tape jetsam have drifted into the dining room too. It's knee deep in various papers waiting for me to do something...and, well, everywhere else, there's usual mess and clutter that comes with a family of four (and a dog) who've been cooped up for a week and a mother completely distracted by everything non-household related.

Including reading this book:

It's quite the archeological study of modern life!

It turns out that at the extreme ends of the scale, "the numbers of objects families place on their refrigerators appear to signal something about the possessions they have in the house." To wit, the more cluttered the outside of the fridge, the more cluttered the rest of the home.

So, I cleaned off the outside (and top) of the fridge.


Top: dead flowers, the runner for the table, a half empty coffee can, and three or four failed sugar crystal science projects.

Side: extra recipes, pens and pencils (in the blue holder), envelope for grocery receipts (with a form for tracking them clipped to the outside), 12 magents, 2 shopping list notepads, monthly dinner menu plan, replacement warrenty information for our new cast iron frying pans.

And after:

Top: Nothing!

Side: pens and pencils (in the blue holder), envelope for grocery receipts (with a form for tracking them clipped to the outside), 10 magents, 2 shopping list notepads, monthly dinner menu plan.

Now, for the rest of the house!

Linking to Jules and the wonderful William Morris project--without which I probably wouldn't have done even this little bit this week!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Pantry Clean Out

This nifty old cube ziggerat has come down in the world. It used to be dignified with long playing records inside its mod red, white, and blue cubbies. Now, it merely holds more shelves, flour, sugar, canned goods and a whole lot of junk. Welcome to my basement "pantry."

I stared at this monstrosity for a long time. I decided to remove the cooking and baking items I use infrequently. I was able to do that because the stars and heaven aligned and my daughter cleaned her stuff out from these two huge storage bins during Christmas break.

We also just purchased the black shelving unit at Home Despot on sale. (Hubs went back and picked up two more for the garage. Hooray!)

(Please ignore my "typo")
Tonight was garbage night, so these cake mixes from, ahem, 2010 are gone.

But who knows when I'll get this stuff to the food bank.

I managed to sneak in another lazy susan. I love these things.


And so, here we are, another kitchen project complete. Hooray! I've been itching to get to this one for a while. Pantries are just one of those things, I think, which will always need periodic puges and re-organizing. It's one of those Universal Truths like five year olds will tell knock-knock jokes and teen girls will occasionally over react to remarks they never used to notice. That's life. It's just the way it is.

Defrosting the upright freezer is next on my list. I may wait on this until the first weekend in February--the one before I do the Big Shop--there will be fewer items in it then. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with suitably freezing temperatures.

Linking to the William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weight-Loss Wardrobe

My love has been locked in a tower, swallowed whole by a wolf, poisoned by an apple and left to sleep it off.

What could be so colourfully dormant? What could be waiting, languishing for its rescuer?

Are you ready to meet my long lost love?


Not just any bunch of t-shirts, turtlenecks, jeans, and straight skirts, though, no: I have those. What has been waiting for me all my life is my ideal wardrobe--a miraculous collection of just the right tops and the right bottoms which pair up to create endless variations, just like the right set of notes create all the necessary movements in a musical piece.

I had been going to wait until I reached my mythical, ideal weight. Last week, I realised I didn't have too. I've lost enough weight, now, that I have enough options to actually choose something I like instead of settling for something I merely need. (Though, as I expect to continue to lose weight, I will continue to wear some items even though they may be a size too big. It's when they're three sizes too big that I'll begin to replace them.)

Since I was in the military reserves in my late teens and handed a ready-made (though ugly) minimalist wardrobe, I have been captivated by capsule wardrobes. Capsule wardrobes are made up up of the minimum number or pieces in any category (tops, bottoms, and layers) to give maximum versatility.

I studied this one created by Imogen Lamport, at Inside Out Style blog for a "Busy Mum.". (She is absolutely fabulous at this, by the way.)

Wear-anywhere top
3 T Shirts: stripe, solid, tank.

Canvas Skirt

2 cardigans, each fabulous.

2 scarves
2 necklaces
Leather shopping tote

Ballet flats

These pieces, before you even change out the accessories, she promises, offer 22 different looks. I love the efficiency of this concept, not to mention how economical it is.

The "new Mum" Capsule is simply fabulous, too. You can easily see how everything will mix effortlessly. It doesn't include accessories.
Imogen explains how capsule wardrobes work--and how to construct one-- in her free e-book, Your 5 Step Formula for a Fabulous Wardrobe. Highly recommended.
This is exactly the concept of my weight-loss wardrobe.
To be continued...
(This is a cross-post with my weight-loss and self-image blog, my psyche my soma.)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Where Was I?

Some nasty stuff going around. Fortunately, I was the only one in the household who was sick last week: and, honestly, I think I had a bad reaction to somthing I ate rather than a virus.

Still, there's a mountain of laundry to fold and other various and sundry household chores to catch up on. Fortunately, my husband was home on holidays last week so he kept the kids fed and the dishes done. I almost didn't want to admit I was feeling better so he could just keep doing it all!

Ok, so it doesn't look quite so bad all smooshed down into the hamper to take upstairs to watch Downton Abbey.

Next on my list of household projects is Clean and Declutter Pantry and Food Storage. (Though I don't have a clue what I meant by "food storage." The fridge, maybe?)

Oh, there it is. Right behind the mountain of laundry.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cleaning and Organizing the Upper Kitchen Cabinet

January is kitchen organization month. It seems I'm not the only one who thinks a great way to kick off the New Year is to tear the kitchen apart. I noticed it was a cover article in Real Simple this month and there are a few blogs devoting time to it as well.

Last week, I decluttered my kitchen table, open shelving and counters. That's here.

This week, I'm focusing on cleaning out the cabinets. It's a much bigger job than I'd anticipated but the results are amazing. I finished with the uppers on Sunday.

We installed the cabinet over the stove just about two years ago. I was inspired by this incredible video.

Nonetheless, I was under-utilizing it.

I still wanted to continue keeping my serving bowls, plate and microwave cover on the bottom shelf, and our water bottles and travel mugs handy, but everything else? It could go.

Here we are. A few newthings moved in from another cabinet.

I'd have liked to have moved the brown sugar and skim milk powder over to the cupboard with the baking ingredients, but I really don't have the space. The space between the shelves just isn't tall enough as you can see.

A few changes here, not much, mostly tidying.

This cupboard, though, took a fair bit of work.

Here's the before:


Believe it or not, I actually made a video dealing with the bottom two shelves. I have the video on the bottom shelf ready for you to watch, if you have about 6 minutes! Oh, and when I talk about taking something to the basement--I mean my pantry! That's where it is. And of course, I put away my yellow mustard, not my yellow vinegar!


Hope you enjoyed that.

Here's what the entire cupboard looked like when I finished:

In the next couple of days I should have the video of the next shelf ready. In it, I do explain what all those stickers are doing on the door!

PS: I found a recipe for those Artichoke Hearts right here.

Until next time.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Surfaces in the Kitchen

The kitchen is an awkward space. It's been even more awkward since October when I changed my eating habits. I wasn't sure what would stick, wasn't sure what I would need. And while I don't have every answer, I have enough to begin to make my storage challenged kitchen more functional.

Take my kitchen cart beside the stove for example.

Those glass canisters held white rice and brown rice. Once we finished the rice sometime back in October, I didn't buy any more. So, I washed out the jars and repurposed one of them. It now holds hot chocolate mix.

The basket used to hold onions. Those are now in the old potato bucket in the cupboard. (Yep, no more potatoes.) This is reserved for our new starches: sweet potatoes and squash.

One other small change: my frying pans. I asked for cast iron for Christmas and we managed to find some for 60% off! Boo rah. I am so happy not to have to use my teflon. But, they don't fit properly in the drawer under the oven like the old ones did. We'll try them here and see if it works.

This little shelving unit to the right of the stove got a thorough clean and re-think, too.

As of yesterday:

The only change on my kitchen counter top proper was the removal of the bright red container that held my sweet'n'low (and a bunch of stuff that didn't belong there anyway). Both hubs and I are drinking our coffee black now. It is amazing how much calmer the counter seems without it.

(Last week)


I cleaned the top of the microwave, the top of the fridge, the toaster and the shelves which hold my dishes.

(A gratuitous shot of sunshine.)

That's it. It was an easy week. Next week will be tougher. I plan to tackle my cupboards, inside and out, top and bottom. I'm really looking forward to it.

Linking to someone new to me, Delightful Order.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January: The Kitchen Month

I have no idea what I will be doing with this blog long-term, but I do have a use for it for the first month of 2013.

In January, I am going to use it to report on my decluttering and cleaning efforts in my kitchen. I am using the missions at Home Storage Solutions to help organize my efforts. Here's the schedule:

Week One: Clean and declutter counters, carts, open shelves and sink.
Week Two: Clean and declutter cabinets, both upper and lower
Week Three: Clean and declutter food storage and pantry
Week Four: Defrost upright freezer.
Week Five: Declutter Recipe books

As well, I want to add two new daily habits:

1) Do the dishes at least twice a day--after breakfast and after dinner. (Remember, I don't have a dishwasher.) I have tried to do this before and it really helps keep the kitchen manageable.

2) Clean as I cook. With only one sink, I am not sure if it's doable, but I'll try.

I plan to report every Thursday (at least) in order to link up to The William Morris Project at Pancakes and French Fries. (Hopefully, there will be one in 2013!)

Today, I spent two hours tidying and scrubbing and washing and drying to get to a base-line to start from.

The table before:

Believe me, the rest of the kitchen was just as bad. But not anymore.

Let the challenge begin!

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