My Kitchen & Pantry

I suppose I should have pictures in this post…but our computer is telling me that we just don’t have the space for me to upload more right now. And I haven’t yet figured out how to move the old pictures onto our fancy new external hard drive…not for lack of trying and Googling and such.

So, here it is. A picture-less post about my progress in the 2018 Home Organization Challenge organized by Toni at A Bowl Full of Lemons.

My humble kitchen has never been cleaner nor more organized. It’s such bliss walking downstairs in the morning and finding bright white, uncluttered countertops and a shining, empty sink. Seriously, it’s the best feeling.

Knowing that I can unload the freshly cleaned dishes from the dishwasher and be able to immediately start putting dirty breakfast dishes away, lifts a burden I didn’t realize was there.

And my oven…let’s not even discuss how dirty it was…it’s embarrassing! The inside of the stove itself wasn’t as bad as it could have been since I keep a liner on the bottom, but the inside of the door. Ugh. A whole different story. I knew it was dirty, but when I went to clean it? It was way more disgusting than I had realized. So, after at least half a day of soaking in vinegar and baking soda and Thieves cleaner with intermittent scrubbing, I can finally see through it again. Like it almost looks brand new…almost.

Since there’s no way my tiny sink would be useful in cleaning the oven racks, I took those up to the kids bathtub and soaked them overnight in a solution of water, baking soda and Thieves cleaner. By the next morning, the gunk was falling off on its own and I had a minimal amount of scrubbing to do. The racks look brand spanking new. Woohoo! Nontoxic cleaning solutions for the win!! If you’re interested in finding out more about the awesome stuff known as Thieves Household Cleaner, check out my website at myYL.com/thisbecklife and order a bottle or two. The stuff is wonderful in a bottle.

Now all I lack doing with the stove/oven is cleaning the drip pans. I hate doing those because it requires pulling out the cooktop elements to remove them and I’m always scared I’m going to break them. So, kind of been putting that off…

I cleaned out our fridge. It’s something I normally keep up really well, but it had gotten out of control between the recent holidays and all the busyness those entail. Again, I knew it was bad, but now when I open the door the main shelf is so clean it looks like nothing is there and the items sitting on it are just floating in air. Ok, not really, but it is super clean and pretty and fresh. And uncluttered. Woohoo! I like being able to look in the fridge and know where things are without digging. Something I do plan to add in there is at least one lazy susan (do you capitalize “susan” when it’s not being used as a proper name, but as the name of an inanimate object? I have no idea. It seems weird either way, ha!). I saw the idea on A Bowl Full of Lemons and really liked it. It makes condiments super accessible, which is perfect for me since I don’t like having to dig for things (see above).

Something I’m more certain of than ever is our need for a deep freezer. There are so many benefits to having additional freezer space…like having room to store the ice cream birthday cake without having to sacrifice a half full half gallon of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. I know…having ice cream in the freezer at all in the middle of winter probably sounds insane, but we are in Texas and we rarely (if ever) have temperatures lower than the 20s. Even temps in the 20s are rare…most of the time.

Finally, I bought a shelf with drawers that will hopefully help coral the crazy mess under the kitchen sink. That’s it for cleaning and organizing the kitchen this year. We’re hoping to upgrade the kitchen next year, so when that happens more organization will happen, too. I’m looking forward to the upgrade – it’s sorely needed! It will be amazing not to have sagging cabinet shelves or chipped countertops, etc.

Now…remember how uncluttered and clean my countertops are now were a few paragraphs up in this post?

Week two’s challenge is the pantry and all that stuff has to go somewhere…

It’s driving me bonkers, people. My new kitchen routine has been sorely interrupted and way too soon!

On a positive note, though…my pantry space is going to look AMAZING when I’m done! (Which means, of course, that my kitchen will be restored to it’s clean, uncluttered glory at the same time. Yippee!)

So, it’s not the most modestly sized pantry I’ve ever seen, but it’s not exactly my dream pantry with space for my small appliances, etc. Instead it shares space with the laundry appliances. It’s what we have and I’m especially thankful for it when I consider the various apartment pantries we’ve had to use…

My plan is to paint the wall behind the shelves. Can you guess what color?

Teal. I already have the paint since we did our front door last year, so why not??

Also, I will be doing a gold floral pattern on top of the teal. I haven’t decided whether to buy gold vinyl and cut out the patterns I want to apply or whether to use a stencil and a gold paint pen (or two or three). I feel like the stencil and paint pen option will be cheaper. I can’t imagine it being more work than having to cut out each individual piece of vinyl I want to apply, so the cost of it is really the only thing causing indecision at the moment. Well, that and who knows if I’ll be able to find a stencil with the pattern I want…?

So on that note, using my Silhouette Cameo to cut out vinyl floral pieces is sounding more appealing.

Anyway, I also need to put shelf liners on at least one of the shelves. I feel like it would make things more stable. Specifically my Anchor Hocking jars holding my flours, sugars, baking soda, etc. Those are making me a little nervous. They’re beautiful in their simplicity. I’ve been wanting to do this for FOREVER, but a little more stability won’t hurt anything. Right now the shelves feel a little slick and one wrong move might just send one sliding to the floor…just don’t want that to happen.

The plan is to make some pretty vinyl labels for the Anchor Hocking jars and the mason jars I’m using to store some dry goods. Until I can get around to making those, I used black dry erase marker to label everything. I’d hate to forget what is what…

I bought some baskets that I just love to hold produce items and to group some other loose stuff like chip bags, crackers and other snacks. I don’t have everything grouped perfectly yet, but it’s a great start.

I found a galvanized tin with a chalkboard label built in on the outside at Hobby Lobby and I’m using that as a bread box.

My final plan is to have three rolling crates under the bottom shelf – one for specialty baking supplies, one for my stock of vinegars and oils (some of them are big jugs), and one for canning supplies (learning how to can is high on my list of goals I’d like to accomplish this year – I’ve only been preparing to learn since I got married almost four and half years ago).

A few months back I purchased a door rack system from The Container Store to hold our herbs and spices (can’t remember if I posted about it or not) and it’s been great! My only complaint is that some of the bottles rattle A LOT when we open/close the door. However, it opened up so much storage space in one of our cabinets that I’ll gladly bear with the occasional noise.

I have laundry related things and other random household stuff that I need to organize on the other side of the pantry/laundry room. Haven’t figured that out yet…not fully anyway. Since it’s not technically the pantry part, I’m currently mostly ignoring that side of the room, haha.

So that, my friends, is how the challenge is going. Since I don’t have a formal dining room (which I believe is the challenge for week three), I have some extra time to get these last things wrapped up in the kitchen and pantry. Thankful for the lack of pressure. I don’t want to get behind!

Overall, I’m pleased with the progress so far and would highly encourage anyone who feels the least bit disorganized to try this challenge.

Take care, friends.

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