Kitchen Drawers and Cabinets, Part 2

Modern kitchen

Modern kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, all of the kitchen drawers have been tidied, including the coupon, medication and receipts drawers.  We cleared the potholder-trivet drawer of quite a bit of surplus.  Kitchen tools, rarely used things (skewers, meat-tenderizer mallet, corn handles, crème brulee dishes, etc.,) vases, baking pans, cutting boards, everyday stuff–all got the treatment. The (reachable) kitchen cupboards look wonderful.  There is a row of shelves too high to reach without a ladder.  The quandary:  do I put stuff up there that is unlikely to be used again, or should those shelves remain empty?  Spouser fixed that:  we’re storing camp stoves and accessories up there, as well as an ornate punch bowl with its matching tiny cups, and a small forest of Thermos bottles.

T. tidied the pantry for us; now you can see the inventory on hand and there’s a logical place for everything.  Unpacking groceries is much easier now.  

The absence of things bestows a crisp look upon interior space; it’s become a decorating principle for our entire home.  We’ve been putting away all small items except the best one for each place.  Many surfaces don’t need anything and are now bare.  A large number of decorator and kitchen things have gone to the Goodwill store. Our home looks fresher and larger than before.

I’ve gotten rid of 27 linear feet of bookshelf space as well as the bookshelves themselves.  Their contents were, variously: shredded, given away, donated to charity, and discarded.  This opened up enough space to put a 6-foot work table in the room-formerly-called-the-gym.  Now a project can be set up and left for days, instead of tying up the kitchen table!

The entire anti-clutter campaign centered upon a domino effect.  Remove a sticking point in the system, see what new possibilities open up, go after one of those, re-evaluate, then lather, rinse, repeat!

The biggest payoff is seeing the job done (well, nearly done) but a true benefit is the feeling of calm open space in our home.  Oh, yeah…

Detour from Kitchen Drawers to Bookshelves

It all began when I tried to find the cook book with the Tortilla Soup recipe.  T. is going to cook it for us.  The book has vanished!

Tried the bookcase in the bedroom with the other unused food books.  That led to purging those that have never been used, those that disappointed, and a few borrowed volumes.  What a lot of linear inches of bare shelf there are now!

The germ of an idea sprouted:  What if I could eliminate the bedroom bookcase altogether?  Then I’d move the rehab bike into the bedroom space freed up by moving it.  That, in turn, would yield enough square footage in our activities room to accept  a projects table. Moving furniture from time to time is necessary for the health of the soul.

So I went to the bookcase in my office closet with the Bankers Boxes full of tax records on its shelves.  The statute has tolled, so the 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax receipts can be shredded.  Their  boxes are now stacked elsewhere awaiting processing.  We no longer need the old brokerage statements because the securities purchased long ago were also sold long ago.  There goes another box. 

I asked Spouser if we could live without our collection of printed  maps, some  of which are over 45 years old.  The Internet and Google Earth weren’t available when we did most of our trips, and our household simply did not throw away maps.  He agreed. We’re no longer back packing, so Wilderness maps can go.  Our most recent Sequoia National Forest brochure/map (massive thing!) was printed in 2001, so the two prior editions  can go.  We’re not going back to New England, or to Turkey, or to Glacier National Park, so that documentation is out.  Now another Banker’s Box is gone, plus three of the four map organizers on the top shelf. 

Right now that bookcase has two Bankers Boxes “visiting” until I get them shredded, plus one map holder, a two-hole punch, some canned air and my purse.

There’s another bookcase in the closet, as well.  It holds wooden crates that stored my quilting and exercise stuff. Most of the project materials were donated recently and today I emptied five of the eight boxes completely. One that’s still left has workout and swim stuff in it, and the other two have sewing projects that I intend to finish.

This brings us to the big bookcase in my office.  It’s six shelves high and double wide.  This is where stray books belong, but it took three Bankers Boxes to hold the volumes I purged to free up space.  It also took a full-sized leaf bag to contain the binder contents that went.  All that’s left is a core library for each remaining interest:  Natural History; Geology; sewing and applique (not quilting); Christianity; Drawing; a couple of shelves of computer books and software, and a couple of shelves of favorite books I can’t bear to part with.

I’ll find space for less-frequently-used cook books, too.  There’s a small library in the kitchen for the ones T. uses.

Tomorrow or sometime soon I plan to finish clearing the shelves on the bedroom bookcase and see about moving it out.

The Kitchen Drawers Adventure, Part 1

Spouser and I met on a 1963 camping trip on the first day of fishing season.  He was co-leader of a beginners’ training exercise in glacier travel, and I was one of his students.  We have never stopped camping, and it’s possible that some of our silverware dates back to those days.  At least some of the camp stove gadgets do.

One of my sisters maintains a matched set of eating tools for daily use, in addition to her good silver.  Her silverware drawer looks so nice!  It’s not overcrowded.  All the forks point the same way and the salad forks have a bin separate from the dinner forks.  She must use a dishwasher finishing product, because they’re all shiny and spotless to boot.  Sigh…

The silverware drawer here was crowded, especially in the overflow area behind the bins.  Spouser had Quartermaster experience in the Army, and his love of a goodly supply is still with him.  We own equipment for nearly any situation.  Our silverware and kitchen tools drawers contained things that vary in style, years of service, special purpose, size, degrees of sharpness, and ruggedness.

The first chore was to inventory drawer contents: silverware, then tools, then “yet to categorize.”  T. and I located a few fresher-looking plastic drawer-dividing bins. We started with ONE set of tableware:  stainless service for eight in a calm, gracious pattern. 

The drawer looked empty, so I added a couple of extra bins and kept going.  Here come the long-handled iced tea spoons!  Nestled among them is my favorite baby-feeding spoon. It has a tiny bowl and extra-long handle that spared my arm’s reaching to a far-away mouth.  [Memory surge.]  Next are the serving spoons, including the large stainless steel ones Spouser found at a flea market.  Those are Navy surplus, each spoonful delivering a portion.  And so on, until the drawer began to overflow again.  Spouser added wrapped packages of fast-food utensils, some with salt, pepper and napkin, in the very back.  They’re useful for car trips.

Looks good!

The kitchen tools will be another post.  And wait till you see the pantry!

Current Retirement Activities:

Good Housekeeping is one of several periodical...

Spouser and I hired someone to help around the house.  We got T. from a home health agency and she is quite good.

One huge  benefit is that she takes the routine housekeeping chores off my hands.  For the first time in years, there’s time to tackle the deferred maintenance.  There are many home makers who somehow do a little of the hard stuff every week.  For them it never gets out of hand, and each of them is more smug than the next.    Then there are the rest of us.

I’ve accumulated a few dents and dings that cause a hitch in my git-along.  Hard chores are well-nigh impossible for me alone, and T. has time each visit to help with tall shelves, heavy boxes and the like.

The result:  10 standard file boxes have been emptied and removed.  There’s still stuff to shred, but the empty storage areas are pleasing.  We made another pass at donating outdated and wrong-sized clothing, which resulted in plenty of room on each clothes rod and all shoes ensconced on the shoe shelves. Things no longer need ironing the minute they are crammed between hanging garments!

T. washes one or two windows each visit.  All of them  will be clean by the end of next month.

Tomorrow I’m going with Spouser to an installation breakfast for one of his groups.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen any of these folks; they are very nice, salt-of-the-earth people and it will be fun.  Score some reaching-out points for this new beginning task.