Friday, August 03, 2007

Loveliness of Decluttering!


Ever have one of those days when the "Spirit moves you," as it were, and you just HAVE to clean?

Today was one of those days.

I have a confession to make: I'm pretty obsessive about my cabinets. I like it, of course, when the "visible" stuff is clean, but if I KNOW that the cabinets are out of order, I feel... unrestful. I need to have the supporting structure -- the stuff you DON'T normally see -- to be in order before I can feel that my house is truly clean.

That being said, I have been a slug for the past few weeks, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I usually do a true "deep clean" of the kitchen once a quarter -- I mean, take everything out of the cabinets, wipe everything down, purge out the clutter, etc. However, when I saw that Lorri at the Mac and Cheese Chronicles is hosting a "Loveliness of Decluttering Fair," I knew this was the kick that I needed to get started.

This is what my kitchen looked like this morning, right after breakfast. Yuck. Even the plant on the counter is sad.

So with the help of my most able assistants, Reilly and Kathryn, we got started. (As Reilly said, "Wow, Mommy! You've never asked us to make a MESS before!")

The first cabinet we tackled was the one underneath the sink. I am so embarrassed to say, it really did look this bad. Good grief!

Reilly and Kathryn took everything out and categorized and washed while I gave the cabinets a thorough wipe-down. Then, I asked them how we could make everything look nicer. Reilly suggested the tins that we have collected over the years, so we decided to use them. Our garbage bags are now in a large popcorn tin, our cookie cutters are in a small tin, and Sean arranged all the extra boxes of bags and such in the red canvas basket. They were SO proud of the work they had done! (the empty bottom left cabinet is for the dish drainer, when not in use...)

While my crew had a well-deserved snack break, I continued on, straightening out the kids' cup/dish cabinet...

...wiping down the insides of all these cabinets (and rearranging some of the glasses)...

...and straightening out the pantry, from this... this.

The tupperware cabinet was next. It is a rather child-friendly zone (as most cabinets are in my kitchen!) and it looked the part.

I went through the old storage containers, tossing the orphaned lids, and putting the rest of the things in their normal place.

Another favorite toddler hang-out is the spice cabinet, which had been driving me nuts! A quick five-minute rescue turned this...

...into this.

The message board on the refrigerator also got a much needed purging and straightening.

After that I just added a few decorative touches, making good use of some old tins I have been saving for years.

The final result of all this? Two 30-gallon trash bags FILLED with stuff I tossed (one from the kitchen, and one from the rest of the house), and a much calmer, more restful kitchen for all of us. After dinner I dimmed the lights, lit some candles, and just basked in the quietness of it all.


Day 2:

My husband thinks I'm nesting in a big way. I will grant him that there is probably some truth to that, but I do go through cycles like this on a rather frequent basis. I have learned that when the mood strikes (usually every few months or so), I need to take advantage of every precious second of it! I reach my "mess limit," and then I start tearing into things. My children have learned by now that when Mommy starts reorganizing, it's best to back away slowly and not get in her way.

After the rousing success of yesterday's challenge, I thought I was ready to hit the big one... crafting area.

Oh yes, that jumbled mess of papers, beads, scrapbooking supplies, cross-stitch floss, and a host of other supplies needed for the crafts that I love to do.

Here is the scary "before" picture. Not very conducive to stimulating creativity.

After an AGONIZING afternoon trying to go through all my stuff, saying "goodbye" to items no longer needed (a difficult process for a creative packrat like me, who can always "make something fun" out of whatever...), I was able to condense and reorganize my cabinets to look like this:

I would never want to go through this particular reorganization again (ugh!), but I'm thankful I pushed and got it done, so I will find it MUCH easier to sit down and work on some craft in the future!


Anonymous said...

i really must start! If you don't mind me asking...but over here Reilly is a it a saint's name too?

Beth said...

wow, that looks GREAT!!!!

JennGM said...

Thanks for the inspiration. After reading your post this morning I tackled under my sink, something I've been postponing for a while. It's not perfect, but SOOO much better.

Ouiz said...

Thanks, everyone! I can't wait for the Loveliness Fair to be up, so I can get TONS of great ideas from everyone else!

Mrs. Parkes: Don't mind you asking at all! *grin*

Reilly is a surname, and it was my Irish grandmother's maiden name, so it meant a great deal to me. It is my daughter's middle name... her first name, however, is a saint's name.

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

looks great!

Wanna come all the way over here now? LOL!

SuzanneG said...

I just KNEW you were going to blog about this! I had to come over and take a peek. Beautiful. High five. Good work, Ladies!

Rebecca said...

Can you come to my house? Arghhh! The shame! I'm going to try to get one thing done and go from there. It's my largest sin, sloth.

Really, it looks wonderful. I am inspired.


Ouiz said...

*I'm* so embarrassed that I let my cabinets get like that!!!

I'll be tackling other parts of my home this weekend... and maybe, just maybe, my family will cooperate so it will stay clean!

(yeah, right.)

divinagrace said...

Doesn't it feel great to have all that organized? Looks wonderful! I have visited your blog a few times before and have always admired your kitchen. I especially like the spice containers and how you label things!

Cheryl said...

Wow! Your after pictures look great. Good job!

Matilda said...

I think our pantries are the same size, but I love the way yours looks! I will be back often to see how you did it!

Amy said...

Looks *wonderful*! I know what you mean about needing the "behind the scenes" stuff to look good too. :)

Michelle Waters said...

Wow! You've been busy. I love your yellow kitchen walls, btw. I've always wanted a yellow kitchen!

Alice Gunther said...


Amy Caroline said...

Ok, ok... you inspired me! I am off to work!

Kristen Laurence said...

Wow, it looks great! Just the idea of cleanliness inside of cabinets is inspiring. Congratulations!

sexy said...