Friday, October 24, 2008

When all else fails, organize!

Today after Emma came home from school, I tried talking to her about her morning. She wouldn't talk.

Then I made lunch and we had the daily Battle of the Pink Plates. I'm sick of the girls fighting over the pink plates. I launched them into the backyard the other day so no one could have them. But, as if they were treasured heirloom pieces, the girls retrieved them right away, clutching them to their chests with tears streaming down their faces.

Then I tried playing a game with them, but they argued about who got what piece in Candy Land.

So... I sent them on their way and I went on mine. I figured if I couldn't control my kids, at least I'd try to control my really out of control cupboards. They've gotten a little out of hand.

Plus, I'm trying to get some order into my life. I need to get some routines and schedules going. I figure getting things organized and de-cluttering is a great start. Plus, I've been ruminating on this the last few days.

I now present you with... before and after pictures. I'm laying it all out here, friends. As if you needed any more proof of my imperfections, check out these beauties! I finally got tired of the "toss-it-in-and-slam-it-shut-before-it-all-comes-out" method of putting things away. (I know I'm not the only one.) The chaos under my counters just screams, "I love to cook extravagant, gourmet meals for my family!!!!"



I found all sorts of goodies in here. Receipts, coupons, morning glory seed packets (THAT'S where those went!), a Barbie shoe... my junk drawer is right above this cupboard, so I guess it has maybe overflowed a few times. Oopsie. Not anymore though, because I also organized it recently. In this cupboard, tucked way in the back, I also found this:

A wedding gift. Never been used, in fact! And look...

The gift receipt taped on the back! That store isn't even open anymore. I put this in the garage sale box... unless someone can convince me that I need this handy dandy thing!

Another cupboard... Before:


Last one... Before:


So let's talk. I have to know what works for others, because some things in my cupboards are either cumbersome or seem unnecessary.

Do you have a million vases? Where do you store them? I think I literally have 2 dozen or more. I think I'll give/sell/recycle a bunch of them.

Where or how do you store your griddle? Look at that thing! It takes up so much room! And yet, it needs to be handy because we use it pretty frequently.

Should I keep my waffle iron that I've used maybe 3 times in 9 years? Hmm. Maybe I should just use it more often.

Will I regret putting my juicer in the garage sale box? I've used it once in 9 years.

After sorting my plastic containers (Rubbermaid, etc.), I have 12 lids with no containers. I wonder why. Would you keep them? What if I find the widowed container and I've tossed the lid?

I couldn't believe how many fancy serving pieces I had way back in the last cupboard. Like crystal appetizer dishes and cake plates. And lace tablecloths with matching napkins! We are so not fancy. I wonder if I should keep that stuff...

It's such a good feeling to get it all in place. Now to keep it that way!


  1. Well done Angie! That's a hard one to tackle. The only thing my mother-in-law has complimented me on when it comes to how I keep my house, is how well my kitchen is organized. :) So, here's my answers. Vases- I keep 4 that I really like under the kitchen sink. The rest had to go. Griddle- I think I recognize that cabinet you have it in ... is it the long annoying cabinet that you wonder why they built? That's where I keep mine. It stands upright just to the right inside. (Had to make that length purposeful somehow.) Waffle Iron & Juicer - that's up there in usage with my bread machine. I have a small space in the storage room w/ a shelf of stuff that gets used mostly never. Things that I'm just sure I'll be sad if I get rid of. Every now and then, I've actually pulled them out. (Like the waffle iron.) Rubbermaid- throw them. You are probably using their bases as some sort of holder for children toys somewhere. They won't ever be found. If they are, oh well, use them to hold kid toys then! Dishes & Cake Plates - garage sale baby. Who needs the pressure of fancy?? :) So, here's to the LONGEST comment ever on a blog! Sorry you asked? Again....good job!!!!

  2. Good work, Angie! Don't you feel great when you open your cabinets now??

    I have a tall shelf down in my basement that I keep things like my griddle, juicer, crockpot, bread machine, waffle iron, stand mixer (and pretty much everything else you mentioned in this post) on. I just don't have room in my kitchen cabinets for those things and I'm very anti-clutter when it comes to my countertops. I've found it to be a great solution.

    It's just inside my basement door, so I can run down there in a flash (or send one of the kids) to retrieve the griddle or the crockpot when I need it.

    PS--I laughed OUT LOUD when you said you launched the pink plates. We used to have the same battle here over two different pink Barbie plates and I wanted to launch them a time or two myself.

  3. Way to go, Angie! Doesn't it feel good?!

    And plastic containers are the bane of kitchen cupboards, I think. I have a system, but no one else who unloads the dishwasher follows it.

    Vases? Goodwill.

    Stuff you don't use? Goodwill.

    Anything else that doesn't fit/doesn't get used often? I'm with Meredith--basement!

  4. I can't believe that you cleaned out your cupboards! I have been wanting to clean out my "Tupperware" cupboard for about a year and I'm not kidding when I tell you this: I cleaned it out Wednesday night. Then, I paid the boys to clean out the bottom of my pantry...nasty! I feel like a new woman today with both of those cupboards clean. I guess great minds think alike. Thanks for sharing! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Julie Luebcke

  5. Oooh, you've hit on one of my favorite topics. I love organizing! :)
    First off, your "after" cabinets look great! Yay, you! (and rotfl about you tossing the pink plates.)
    I keep 3 vases (large, small-med, and a really small one) underneath the kitchen sink cabinet...the fit well under & behind the pipes. I used to have tons of vases but I yard-saled/donated them to goodwill.
    I've never missed them.
    I keep my griddle on top of the fridge, but that's mainly b/c I don't have room for it anywhere works well for us since we use it somewhat regularly.
    I would toss the lids after making 100% certain the containers weren't hiding somewhere else.
    And all my "fancy" stuff got yard-saled/goodwilled long ago.

    I'm pretty ruthless when it comes to getting rid of what I don't use regularly.

  6. When I ran into the problem of the pink plates with my grandaughters, I must admit that I went out and bought another set from Ikea just to get another pink plate to stop the wars.....I routinely try to keep my plastic ware organized and every once in awhile try a new scenario...usually doesn't work well for long when multiple people are putting things away and some don't really care how they end up!

  7. SO happy to know I am not the only one who has pitched things out the back door because sisters were arguing! :) Thanks for being real! Love that!

  8. If you know how to point and shoot and upload on your blog we'd love to have you play along! :)

  9. Very nice!!!!
    I cleaned out some cabinets a while back, I wasn't brave enough to put pictures!

  10. Good job! It is one of my things on my never ending to do list.

    P.S I wish I could have been there to see you chuck the pink plates into the back yard. :)

  11. Are you saying there's something wrong with those before pictures? Cuz those look an awful lot like my cupboards...

    That Foley's receipt is way too funny! You should hang onto it, just in case it's worth money someday years from now. Ya know, when Foley's is only something of tall tales and folklore.

  12. You want my advice?

    (Of COURSE you do. And even if you don't, you're getting it anyway.)

    Get rid of EVERYTHING you don't use regularly. The juicer, the waffle iron, the vases. You will be happier and much lighter on your feet.

    We've done so much purging the last few years. I love the freedom of not being owned by my stuff.

    I also love Alton Brown's concept of no uni-taskers in the kitchen. But that's another post entirely.

  13. I felt so inspired after reading this post that I actually removed the scrapbooking paper that managed to find its way into the pantry [no idea how it got there]. I still have yet to actually organize the pantry but its a start. Baby steps.

  14. Congratulations on your ginormous clean up! They look very orderly and stress-free now!

    Containers with no lids are one of my ULTIMATE pet hates. Chuck them!

    love your blog,


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