Image Map

31 March, 2012

{Project Simplify} Countertops & Drawers

This year for Lent I decided to put my New Year's Resolution of "One Step at a Time" into action: clean and de-clutter one section of our apartment at a time.  My goal is to get rid of a minimum of one brown paper bag worth of trash or things to donate from each space.

Week Four: Closets, Countertops, and Drawers (Oh My!)


I originally planned to tackle the WHOLE kitchen, but once we got started we realized it needed a lot more work than we bargained for.  We also got a little side tracked with rearranging the living room.

I knew what needed the most attention: spice cabinet, drawers, cups/glasses and our beer glass collection.

Eric pitched in a lot this week and helped, especially with the tall spaces.

How I did it:

Would you be surprised if I said I first took everything out of the cabinet??  Good. You're catching on.

The cabinets and drawers needed a good wipe down after two years of heavy use.  The spice rack was particularly nasty.

For the spices I grouped things by size.  It works out that spices I use most often (think the Italian trio: parsley, basil, oregano) are large, and the spices I use less often are small.

I checked for anything that was WAY expired (i.e. was clumped together) or had MSG hiding in it.  I also married duplicates, and refilled our "adult" salt & pepper shakers. (Say good-bye to our Corona Extra ones)

I was tempted to throw out the can of bay leaves, because have you ever said, "Man, you know what this stew is missing? A bay leaf"  But it fit back in the cabinet so I kept it around.

What is a bay leaf anyway?

Then I put everything back in size order, alphabetically.

But I went to use it later that afternoon and realized I hardly use thyme and rosemary, etc so I swapped them out with spices I use a few times a week.

Next stop, drawers.

I forgot to take before pictures.  They weren't that bad, just needed some re-grouping and a good wipe down.

You store your Nalgene bottle sippy lids next to your meat mallet and garlic press, too? No way!

The silverware was a change.  We had been back and forth with it being in the drawer or an organizer on the counter top, but in effort to keep the counter tops clean (remember, clutter begets clutter), the silverware went back in the drawer and all the stuff that was in the drawer went to the donations pile.

I know we made the right decision because I can't even remember what we threw out!

Next stop, the fridge door.  We mostly just threw out random stuff we hadn't used in a while.  I don't eat many condiments or dressings so this is easy to maintain.  The rest of the fridge, however, needs it's own week. Yikes!

Eric worked on our drinking glasses and beer glass collections.  The space above our cabinets was solid, shoulder to shoulder beer glasses.  We decided to find new homes for everything except the breweries we've been to.  We're keeping our nice etched ones for our everyday glasses.  Eric even ran all the glasses through the dishwasher before replacing or donating.  Good man.

We've already had a friend claim about a dozen glasses and this is what remains. Can you say "over kill"

In addition to the purging, I flip flopped our toaster and microwave, moved the knives, coffee press, and bottle warmer to make better use of our counter top space.  It's taken some getting used to.

We have barely scratched the surface with re-organizing the cabinets.  That will come when we get the donations out of the dining room so we can re-organize the hutch and cabinets at the same time. We did a quick pass of appliances or utensils we've replaced or upgraded but never got rid of the original. My sister is about to get a bunch of awesome cooking gear!

We more than exceeded the goal to get rid of one brown paper bag!

This week's little helper...

What I Learned in the Process:

  • We have too much stuff.
  • Are collections necessary?
  • Streamlining our stuff makes it so much faster to get jobs done.
Just a few days left until Easter. Are YOU ready?

1 comment:

  1. (1) I just recently did a kitchen clean up myself! It's amazing what you can do with a small space when you apply yourself. :)

    (2) Use that rosemary, girl! It has great health benefits such as helping keep your vessels healthy, lowering the risk of heart attacks! Rosemary goes great with chicken, duck, lamb, or veggie dishes. 

    (3) Do you have paprika? This is a great spice! It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects - and helps lower risk of some cancers

    (4) great job on your Lenten resolutions!!!


Thanks for reading! We'd love to hear from you!