Simplifying & Decluttering: In the kitchen

I’ve been following along with a couple of my favorite bloggers as they declutter and simplify their living areas. Coincidentally both Simple Mom and Modern Parents, Messy Kids are tackling their kitchens right now and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been feeling my kitchen become more and more in need of a good sprucing for awhile now, so this was as good an excuse as any to start kicking my kitchen’s butt and getting rid of the clutter and mayhem.

I have actually tackled several areas in the kitchen this month – both food storage and cooking utensils and  tupperware. But I didn’t do a great job at keeping up with before & after pictures in all these areas so I can’t show you everything I’ve been up to. But I did get a picture of some of my biggest offenders – my baking cupboard and my cupboard for snacks, lunches, tea, etc. (I have another cupboard for dinner items that is still in pretty good shape from my last reorganization and a smaller cabinet for cereal and oatmeal canisters that is also in good shape)

baking cabinet before

This is our baking cabinet – home of sugar, flour, salts, oils, seasonings, etc. It’s a slightly small cabinet trying to do a lot. I know it looks fairly straight forward but this cabinet is always getting on my nerves. I hated reaching all the way into the back of the cupboard to get my cooking spices (think oregano, paprika, chili powder) which I keep separated from the “baking” spices like cinnamon and nutmeg – but I wasn’t willing to move the baking spices to the back either. Our collection of oils had gotten very cluttered and haphazard and our flour collection was taking over the whole cupboard.

baking cabinet after

So the big obvious change is that now I have the cooking spices on one side and the baking spices on the other, both front and center. I organized our flour collection behind the baking spices and have things like salt and powdered eggs behind the cooking spices. The top shelf now houses the baking soda and powder, sugar and oils – other items we use a lot that I wanted more accessible. Vinegar and a few odds and ends are in the middle area because they are either large and bulky or not used very often. Not a lot of huge changes but it’s more organized now and I’m content.

snacks lunches and tea - before

So like I mentioned before, this cabinet houses all of the snacks, lunch items and tea – the things we use just about every day that aren’t for dinner – as well as my instant oatmeal packets. Our cereal and oatmeal canisters are in another cabinet that literally wasn’t big enough to hold my little oatmeal packets, too. So I moved them here and I actually like them here. It’s more convenient for me and right above the microwave.

BUT, rather than making a real home for them, I shoved them on the top shelf (where my super short self can’t actually reach) along with other snacks that never got a real home like the banana chips and pretzels – you know the healthy snacks I should be eating, as opposed to the cookies and Skinny Cow treats that were all kushy and comfy front and center. And my tea collection was taking up so much space that it was crowding out everything unnecessarily seeing as I drink the same two or three teas all the time and pretty much never drink the others.

snacks lunches tea - after

So the changes here were obvious. It was all about getting my priorities organized. My breakfasts joined the lunch foods and the tea on the bottom shelf – so I can make my oatmeal, brew some tea and pack MM’s lunch all at the same time – makes sense. The tea collection got a good hard looking at and the teas I don’t drink often got moved to another cabinet for now. Now my apple cider and hot cocoa actually have some room to breathe.

I also moved a couple of my tea assortments up to the middle shelf for my not necessarily daily teas but still often enjoyed. They get the middle of the middle where I have a hard time reaching. This middle shelf is other wise mostly the same in purpose – kids snacks on one side and mine on the other. But now my snacks are only the healthy ones – all the munchies have moved to the top shelf where they belong so I have to put in a little effort for my indulgences. I also moved all of my husband’s popcorn and seasonings to the top shelf on the other side. He’s tall so reaching won’t be a problem for him and I seriously never touch them except to move them out of my way. Perfect. Top middle holds our decaf coffee that we never use but still want around for when company comes over.

So that’s my progress. Not major changes but much needed ones. I’ve basically just fined tuned organization methods I set up shortly after moving in, rethinking the home for a few things and discarding a few others. The result: a happy Jen!
simple mom's project simplify

Celebrating 4 Years of Bloggy Goodness


Today my blog is no longer a temper tantrum throwing, crumb covered toddler resisting naptime while shouting for MORE ELMO WORLD. Today my blog is a four year old. It’s practically potty trained, learning more and more every day and anxiously awaiting the day it can jump on a yellow school bus with no seat belts and spend it’s time away from home drinking juice boxes and sitting down for story time. It rides tricycles and speaks in complete sentences, most of the time. It’s a preschooler on a mission now, hovering precariously between toddler and child.

(I bet you are asking yourself “Why doesn’t my blog ride a tricycle yet? Should we be potty training our blog by now?” I know, my blog is pretty advanced, don’t be jealous, you’ll get there.)

Happy 4th birthday to I can still remember those first days when I started this blog when I still asked myself occasionally “What is a blog?” When I thought that maybe someday I’d be as cool as Dooce (I didn’t even know who the Pioneer Woman WAS back then, shocking, I know) and even my first comment. We’ve come a long way since then. In and out of memes, bursting onto the review blogging scene and then eventually sneaking back out. This blog has been a part of some major changes in my life. It followed me through my 2nd pregnancy, consoled me through a brief stint of unemployment, it moved halfway across the country with me and was there for me to vent when we were buying our first house. It was here to celebrate with me when my first born started kindergarten and it suffered through potty training, self hosted servers and holes in the kitchen ceiling. It’s been quite a trooper.

So, dear bloggy, here’s a little card from me to you, celebrating our time together since your birth four years ago… - I'm sorry daylight savings means there is one less hour to celebrate your birthday today

And I got you this video message too.

You’ll have to click the link, I hope you don’t mind:

Click the Link