Friday, February 10, 2012

29 Day Org Challenge: Applying the PROCESS!

Our kitchen is the hub of our home and as such, it is often a dumping ground for mail, packages, artwork and all those “things” a house has that has no other home. We cook, eat, entertain, play games, surf the Internet, craft, take pictures, play trucks, potato head and read books all in this one room. At first glance, it doesn't look much different than any other kitchen across the world; cabinets, counters, appliances, table and chairs.

It's what you can't see that is the problem! Behind the fir and cherry late 1970's cabinetry is a host of clutter and chaos that threatens to spill out every time one opens a door. The plastic containers are helter-skelter, the spice cupboard is a balancing act an aerobatic team would envy and the food storage is a mess of tipped cans, squashed boxes in duplicate and triplicate (because I buy, lose in the mess, buy, lose again, buy – repeat). Behind each closed door is a new disaster.

And I'm ready for change.

My kitchen “hot zones” - areas that continually attract clutter – are:
  • spice cupboard
  • plastics storage
  • pantry/food storage

Other areas that in the clutter trap are:
  • lazy Susan's (x2)
  • the entire counter top right of the kitchen sink!
  • Bread box

The whole challenge has me feeling overwhelmed – there are 20 cupboards in my kitchen, 7 drawers, too much horizontal surface, a work station, our table and the “feeding” stations for our fur-kids. I keep reminding myself it is a PROCESS and to look at it in little bits but as the week is wrapping up and only three left to go, I'm overwhelmed. So I did what any good project manager does and made myself a schedule.

As you see, I spent several days procrastinating, another day cleaning another space and then I planned my month and have been shopping for clutter solutions. I'm not sure if that's the right method – I keep thinking if I find the right system, it will solve my problems... This week, I tackled my plastics cupboard.

Presently, I have no system in place for any area except the plastics. In this cupboard, I have two sets of Tupperware; they stack nicely and their lids sit on the shelf above. The remainder of the 'take and toss' plastic has had various attempts at keeping it together. Snapping the lids in place and stacking them, stacking the containers and placing the lids under them. The current system is to toss them all in, shove them back if you need more room and close the door quickly and run from the kitchen and hope you don't have to open the cupboard next!

Needless to say, this isn't working.

When I decided to tackle this cupboard, I still didn't have a solution in mind. I really have no idea how to manage the 'take and toss' plastic ware. I emptied the cupboards, sorting the 'stuff' by brand and type. Next, I thought about what we use, how we use it and the frequency we use it. 

This made some of the purging decisions simple. The 70's wood salad bowl set belonged to my grandmother – I've hung onto it all these years because I “thought” I needed a salad bowl set... Ask me the last time I used it (it wouldn't matter because I couldn't tell you the last time it was used). The corn holders – again, we have them and may have used them once last summer but there really isn't any reason the cobs can't sit on our plates like normal people! Odd plastics, lids, old mixing bowls and broken items are set and ready to find new homes.

When I reloaded the cabinet, I decided that the way I had it sorted made no sense. I never use vases, I did have about 8 at one time, but I started buying flowers and sending them home with our mother's in vases. It was perfect! I only have two left and they are perfectly happy at the back of the cupboard. Also on that shelf, I put the glass bowls and serving platter. I do use them but not more often then the things now on the second shelf.

The issue still is how to store the plastic ware. After a discussion with my husband, we decided on ONE brand and as we move forward, we will start purging the old and replacing it will all the same brand. In the interim, I've stacked them by brand with their lids sitting under them.

Sitting back and looking at the cupboard, it was a small project but I feel like I had large success. It is tangible and it looks a thousand times better! I have my path for the remainder of the month and although it will be busy, having the cupboards organized and done by the spring will leave me time to plan and design my kitchen improvement project for the summer!

Thanks for stopping by and remember to check out the hundred or so of us participating this month in the Org Junkie's 29 Day OrganizingChallenge!

My first purge pile of the challenge!


  1. Love your schedule! Too funny! Naturally, I am a procrastinator also. Great job purging. That is the hardest for me. Have a great week!

  2. Doesn't purging feel good!
    Great work, keep it up!

  3. Thanks Jodi and Sara... I'm behind this week but I'm hoping I'll get my groove back! I need to some inspiration!



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