Rainy Day Blog

What to do on a rainy day when all my is work done- drink wine and blog I guess??!

On day's like today the kitchen can be a very comfy place to be. The enticing thought of fresh homemade cookies or some sort of slow cooked comfort food help to make one feel cozy when the rain just wont let up! On occasion, one of my favorite tasks to take on while I am stuck inside on a dreary day like today- besides eat junk food- is to get into my kitchen and organize the crap out of my cabinetry! 'Oh WOW FUUUUNNNN......! '- insert eye roll here- Yes I get it, not too many people will use the word 'organizing' and 'fun in the same sentence.....HOWEVER......I swear, it can be a whole lot of fun and I might even go as far to say it is a little spiritual! With your favorite background music on, riffling through all of your kitchen gadgets to clean out those cabinets can be really uplifting!

I go into multiple homes in a week and 99% of my clients apologize for the horribly cluttered interiors of their cabinetry- they all swear right, left and center that they will be doing a purge once the new cabinetry goes in- makes sense right? They usually explain to me that the cabinetry has been 'stock piled' or 'cluttered' like that for eons....and I always wonder to myself.....why do we choose to live this way? In most cases- upon the completion of renovating and the time has come for the new kitchen cabinetry to be filled back up- a lot of clients don't know what to do with the new found room/storage and resort to old habits of inconsistent organization. We work so hard to make ends meet, we come home to our 'sanctuary' only to have the feeling of impending doom when we decide its time to make dinner and are reminded that we have to open the doors to all of that 'visual clutter' that we are so happy to cram away- sight unseen..... but not forgotten....so I ask this- why wait for the renovation to purge or clean your cupboards....it's like buying a dress 2 times too small.....you are setting yourself up to fail before you even start. So I have high hopes all of my tips, nagging and analyzing in this blog will help to give you that kick in the butt you need to get your sh*t together!

Here are some tips I have found that work great for me and have made an impact on all aspects of organizing in my home;

1. Not everything in your kitchen is worth holding onto- If you have 5 china sets, 3 different pots and pan sets, Tupperware with unmatched lids, 2 potato mashers, 4 spatulas- YOU NEEDA' DOWNSIZE NOW! What is the problem with scaling back on your these items IF you are not using them of course- and isn't that the reason you are thinking about a purge? Its not like one day your dearly departed Aunt Bertha is going to haunt you from the grave because you gave her china set away to someone who would enjoy it more than the interior of your cabinetry is? I spend time in homes where the clutter has been passed down through generations and now a new household is stuck with the loss of a family member and all of their clutter- and guess what- the ritual usually continues.....most people feel that they now have to make room for all the 'new clutter', because they are emotional bound to their 'clutter inheritance'. If you have items like china sets, or ancient utensils that have been passed down from your Great Grandmother who was the best damn baker on the block, why not focus on creating a interesting way to display these items that truly do have sentimental value, you can look at these items everyday and respect them in a whole new way. Who knows they may just evoke enough emotion to inspire you to make cookies or have a tea party with a friend on a rainy day!

2. I just told you to give everything away, but on that note I also suggest giving things away in stages, Ha! Confusing right?- The problem I have found with doing things too quickly is I tend to get rid of things I need- URK!? In my experience, what has worked very well for me is to have a box in the garage/pantry that I fill up with items I am no longer fond of, using, or items I feel I am willing to part with. IF those items have stayed in the box, untouched for upwards of 3- 6 months (choose your comfort level) off it goes to the second hand store, friends or family! I find this works well for not only my kitchen purges but also other rooms of the house- especially my closet! Being in a rush to purge is a great thing, that said rushing to get rid of things is not always a great thing- that ALSO said, don't use this as an excuse to just move the clutter into another room or the garage- time to put our big kid underwear on and deal with it!

3. Create 'Zones' in your kitchen- When I trained as a chef and worked in commercial kitchens, it is ingrained into us that ALL successful restaurant kitchens need to be set up into 'zones'. Cleaning, prepping, garbage, cooking, baking, consumables, etc. I have found in my years in the Kitchen Design Industry the trend is leaning away from the 'Work Triangle' and it is more about 'Work Zones'. When you are preparing to add things back to your cabinetry always think about how you use your kitchen to create a meal. Why would you put all of your cutting boards next to the sink if you always use the island for your work/prep zone? Or why would you store your dinner plates and cups far away from the cleanup or dishwasher zone? Condense, focus, and plan.....I will guarantee that if you have function in your zones you will find yourself enjoying the (almost) inevitable task of being in the kitchen and preparing food daily! Why not? It is one of the most used rooms in your house and eating out gets expensive and makes you fat~

4. Make a map- With the idea of organizing your kitchen based on 'zones' I find clients always get off to a better organizing start if we take the time to preemptively create a map or floor plan of the existing kitchen. Draw up your kitchen floor plan, make sure you have all of your cabinetry and pantry(s) on the layout (if this does not make sense just look up 'kitchen floor plan' on the internet to see what this looks like). Keep in mind closets/lines that are close to the kitchen that may also be reorganized to help take over flow OR large counter top appliances that are not used on the reg. Make a few photo copies for yourself and start to create lists or even add sticky notes on or next to the cabinetry where you think those items will live. You can move things around and get a real tangible feeling for organizing without barley having to lift a finger! A tip for those eager organizers- this 'Map' can now be used by those jerky family members who always seem to forgot where things go when it's time to clean up!! Get creative with the final map and attach it to the inside of a cabinet door or frames on the fridge/pantry!

5. Take the time to make it look AMAZING!- Now I feel that after ALL of that planning and organizing there is NO way anyone wants to go back to they way things were, who needs that baggage? When your cabinets are bare take the time to tip out all of the drawers and vacuum out the insides of the boxes- you'd be surprised at what you will suck up! Once this is done you are ready to start fresh! I LOVE adding things like a funky liners to the inside of the cabinets and drawers so that every time I open my cabinetry I see something fresh and friendly. Liners also help protect the interior gable of your cabinetry- so it's a win, win! I love to do things like condense my bagged consumables into mason jars, so that when I open my upper cabinets I can see everything and it looks like an old timey general store! I spend less at the grocery store because I am not 'double buying' (yea for me) and it looks great! Things like small baskets from the dollar store and fun jars with chalk paint can really help condense the 'visual clutter' that happens when dry goods go back into storage. Down side to this type of storage is your friends start to think you are becoming a pretentious hipster.....whatever, at least I know when my lentils are running low.

6. Don't be afraid of your sink cabinet, and less it best- Here is the one cabinet that EVERYONE is embarrassed of. There is SO MUCH going on in that cabinet. You've got plumbing, garborators, soaps an cleaning agents, garbage, recycle....BLAH! So many expectations and such awkward storage to deal with. IF you have the option to put your recycle in a pantry base OR base cabinet OR you are lucky enough to have a mud room/ garage that is easily accessible - get the recycling out of the sink base. If you don't have this option you need to come to terms with the fact that you HAVE TO stick to small bins under the sink cabinet and do recycle runs daily......(that is what kids are for though, right?). I like to stick to a garbage and compost, storage for a drying rack, and access to soaps/cleaner for under the sink. Keep in mind if there was ever a leak in that cabinet- less is best. All that said, when you have flesh or furry little ones that like to get into the base cabinet this is not always the best solution for cleaning agents and food scraps storage, especially if they like to eat it and throw if up later on the carpet. The thought of that ugly white plastic lock option on the handles- you know the one- is a no-brainer for me, so I opt to store anything harmful/ off limits/disgusting in a kitchen/ laundry linen pantry and off the floor. One suggestion I love giving clients is to head down to a local hardware supplier like Lee valley/ Bed, Bath and Beyond to look for 'roll/pull out' interior fittings. These can be added to the base of your sink OR most cabinet to make things more accessible for you!

7. Keep up with it- Back to the Map from #4.- Everything in its place and a place for everything! Once you see the transformation of the interiors you will be happy to stick with it and you will also be ecstatic that the time spent in you kitchen will be more effective and efficient moving forward!

In my experience when I go into a home and see a lot of visual clutter it is the results of a few things such as poor mental health, the 'inability' to let it go, 'inherited clutter', over consumption IE food, kids toys, crap, storage solutions that never fulfilled their purpose. There is also the latter of the group who just really does thrive in a cluttered type of environment and according to research statistics most of these types are of the genius/ artistic variety so no judgments here man- there are rhymes for reason and reason for rhymes! I I have never had a hard time letting go of things, but I have watched people go through it, so I understand it can be hard but I also get to see that the rewards are great at the end of every experience, and growth has happened!

The biggest lessons I have learned thus far is to consume humbly, not allow objects to have authority over me, and I am not a genius. Over consumption hurts others and putting too much emotion on objects keeps you living in the past (which might be OK for a time travelling genius, but not so much for you?). So...... there you go a made up proverb to help inspire you to get your stinking kitchen cabinetry organized already!? For the love of....or you can just hire me to do it!?

Be happy, healthy and well-

L.

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Lindsay Gilmour Kitchen Design