Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day two in the Kitchen

New Home for fruit
After running errands, which included breakfast at our favorite diner, and getting a dedicated basket to hold fruit on the counter top, I sent DH “out for coffee” and started unloading all the rest of the cupboards. Wow. Piles of things covered all surfaces, including the floor. Lots of things: the largest category turned out to be plastic containers for food storage that I pulled from three cabinets (I think they must breed in there). These containers were not the repurposed variety, they were the good stuff: Tupperware™, Rubbermaid™. A lot of them were large sizes. With just two of us, large sizes make no sense. We needed to downsize.

An abundance of plastic containers
There were also some lids with no containers. How did that happen? A second category, pots and pans, also produced lids with no pans. So out they went. Baking pans, cupcake pans were in residence. Wait a minute, we don’t bake anymore, and besides some of those pans were in a condition I wouldn’t want to bake in. Out they went. A lovely simple ceramic tea pot, a cheerful ceramic pitcher, a salad bowl, all nice things that we haven’t used in years, out they went. I’m on a roll!

The donation boxes filled quickly. When DH arrived home from his day out and about, he claimed the large plastic containers (in like-new condition) for his beloved workplace, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) where they often have to find storage solutions for food after events. It feels good to know that some of the things we no longer need can be used by someone who does need them.

Cookbooks were another category to pare down. I used to buy cookbooks in the hope it would make me a better cook. The problem is that I would have to actually use the cookbooks and try recipes to improve my cooking skills. Not going to happen. I kept about half of the books on my one shelf and donated the rest. The keepers are subject to further reduction at a later date. If I could only keep one cookbook, it would be my old, trusty Joy of Cooking. I've had it since 1966, and it’s still my go-to book for almost everything.

Pantry for dry foods
We didn't have as much actual food as I thought we did, but it still takes up more room than I thought it would when consolidated into its designated pantry space.

With everything out in full view, and before putting things into the donation boxes, I was able to take stock and ask myself, “How do I feel?” I feel amazed that there is so much; I’m blessed with abundance. Not feeling wasteful, really, because there’s so much to share and people who could use these things. I feel relieved because I no longer have to be the “steward” of so many things, and because I don’t have to search through so many things to find the one I want. I feel lighter. I feel very tired.

A manageable number of plastic containers
And a really great thing about having DH help is that he has some ownership in what we have kept, and he knows where everything was put away. We can both function in the kitchen easily.
At the end of day two, DH took donations to the thrift store and put boxes to go to PARI in his car; we put things away in their cupboards; the food has a new “pantry” space (one of the cabinets that contained so much of the plastic containers as well as a cabinet that already contained dry foods).
The job still is not finished, though. There are four drawers that didn't get emptied out and culled. And, the dining room, open to the kitchen, still needs to be assessed. The cloth goods—pot holders, towels, dish cloths, napkins, placemats, coasters, etc.—still need to be looked at and Homes designated for those we keep.

I feel like this is the home stretch. I can see the end (I think). One more day should do it (I think).
It’s a good thing that, for the first few days of the year, we had no scheduled plans or events or appointments. It’s a good thing that DH was willing to participate in my project and help in ways I needed help. Almost done with the kitchen, yea!


  1. This is a perfect time of the year to do this sorting. I know people who sort automatically after the holidays - making room for new stuff, moving out the old. My kitchen is pretty sparse since I hardly cook at all -- but I still hang on to some of it. My cookbook is the Good Housekeeping cookbook date 1963, one year after we were married.

  2. Congrats on being ruthless. Containers breed at my house too. I take glass jars (8 oz. to 16 oz.) to IAM, as they can use those sizes.

    1. Ah. Thanks for letting me know that IAM could use glass jars. I'll certainly keep that in mind.

  3. Your photo of the food storage container could have been taken at my house.

    1. Amazing, isn't it? This seems to be a universal problem: how to keep the containers from multiplying. Thanks for stopping by!