As I mentioned before, the Crankee Yankee and I live in the house in which he and his brother grew up. It was built in 1953, when personal space wasn’t a top priority. The house itself is small, as are the rooms. However, that really isn’t a bad thing. Our bathroom is so small that I can clean the floor with two squares of paper towel; one soaked with cleaner, and one to dry it.
The kitchen is quite roomy, and has plenty of cupboards; one set to the left of the sink for foodstuffs, and one to the right for dishes, glasses, etc. However, I have to stand on a step-stool to reach items on the top shelf. The shelves themselves are pretty deep, so much so that in order to get to something that’s up against the back wall, I have to put my arm in all the way to my armpit to reach it.
Not surprisingly, I got in the habit of randomly stuffing things into the cupboards willy-nilly; no organization at all. That kind of sloppiness lead to my buying, say; more baking soda because I couldn’t see that we already had four boxes shoved against the wall in the top shelf! So this week, humming “*We’re Not Gonna Take It,” I began deconstructing the contents of the cabinets.
Wow…just wow…we had moved into the house in 2007, and there were some things in the cupboards dated 2006! So I got busy and tackled the bottom shelf where we had previously kept dozens of spices and seasonings. Now, the Crankee Yankee has never met a spice or a seasoning he didn’t love, so we had tons of them. In fact, in some cases there were doubles and triples of them (again–we couldn’t see that we already had them because of all the clutter).
Good news: no bug infestations, no mold, no alien lifeforms–good deal!
There was also the dust factor. The cupboards have no doors, so there was a lot of dust and grime to clean out. A few years ago, the Crankee Yankee’s wonderful daughter, mother of the Amazing Ava (our granddaughter); gave us two of those handy space-saving spice racks that come with three drawers each. We filled them up, and yes, they were a major space-saver–except for the fact that we had several dozen more spices beyond what fit in the racks. I cleaned the racks and reordered them. But once I got through cleaning off each and every item and had scrubbed the empty shelf, I had two big bulging bags of trash.
Each day I cleaned and reorganized a new shelf, and also made use of the dozens of glass jars we had. I filled them with brown rice, quinoa, cornmeal, lentils, nuts, bulghur, etc. and labeled and dated each jar. These last are on the top shelf, perched at the front (with nothing behind them–I know it’s wasted space but that how we got in trouble the first time). Since I was working on that side of the kitchen anyway, I also cleaned out and organized our free-standing cupboard, which stands beside the refrigerator.
While working on that area, I cleaned the tops of the refrigerator and cabinet, and put down some cloth place mats to keep them as dust-free as possible. We keep our cereal on top of the refrigerator, so I made use of large clear plastic box and corralled all the cereals up there. Next on my list is are the cupboards on the right side, which badly need a major re-organization.
You may ask why we don’t put doors up on the cabinets to keep the dust down–good question. The reason is that the Crankee Yankee and I can’t seem to come together on what kind of doors we want. I even suggested that we **DIY the doors; I picture a wooden frame with either glass or rippled plastic inserts. But according to the Crankee Yankee, making them is not as easy as you’d think. So we are still working that one out.
However, the main thing is that I finally put my butt in gear and made a start of it. And when you think about it, doing anything requires that you start somewhere. So, having started, I am on my way to Klearing the Kitchen Klutter for good; the cupboards, anyway.
….at this point, we won’t even talk about the state of the ancient (new in 1953!), ‘defies all cleaning materials’, horrible ugly linoleum kitchen floor….
*Song by Twisted Sister.
**Do It Yourself