Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spring Cleaning Part One - Bathroom Cupboards and Kitchen Pantry

Here we go!! After I wrote the post about the organizing that I was planning to do this weekend, I got straight to work. Yesterday I was able to tackle the bathroom cupboards, the pantry and the spice cupboard. And then to celebrate hubby and I went on a lovely date last night for fish and chips. Has anyone else noticed that I tend to grab every and any possible chance to "celebrate" something by eating? Hmmm...

Anyway, I'm going to let you know and how and what I did with these two spaces.

If I am supposed to be the neat freak in our family and the fabulous dude is supposed to be the slob then can somebody please explain to me why his side of the bathroom cupboard looks like this...
And mine looks like this?

(This photo was taken on a good day and I realize that it does not really demonstrate how bad it can be sometimes).

The truth is, I might be a neat freak but only so far as people can see. Yes, behind closed doors ... oh if you only knew. I am messy, disorganized and a clutter bug. When I packed for Scotland I decided that any makeup I did not take was going in the garbage. If I was able to manage without something for nearly two weeks then I probably don't need it. So, aside from one compact that I did not take because it was too large, everything that was still in my cupboard when I got home went out. So much of this stuff was old and gross anyway. It was it's time.

Here is a long view of my side of the cupboard so you can see that not only my bottom shelf (which holds the stuff I use the most) is cluttered.

Apparently I didn't take a full before shot of FD's side of the cupboard. But, let's just say that his stuff resides only on the bottom shelf and I have all but taken over the middle and top shelf. So, while his bottom shelf looked neat and tidy the top two shelves had a little touch of me on them. It looks like I only took a photo of the top shelf of his side (and not a very good one at that).

I began by emptying my side of the cupboard....

And got to work. I was ruthless. I got rid of anything that I hadn't used in a long time, bottles that were nearly empty but still in the cupboard for some reason, and stuff that was just plain old. I don't like throwing things away. I feel wasteful. There were a few things I kept that would be okay to give away, but for the most part, the stuff I was getting rid of is stuff that you just can't give away to someone. So, I ended up with a box with a few "possibly donatable items" and a bag of trash. Unfortunately, more items made it into the trash. I will have you know, however, that the bottles of hair products, lotions etc., that I was getting rid of, I emptied so that the containers could be recycled. I felt like I was high from all the fruity smells of bubble bath and shampoo! This is what I ended up with...

The bottom shelf on his side looks essentially the same but there is a vast difference in the amount of junk on the next two shelves. I organized the shelves in this way: the bottom shelves contain the items that we use on a daily, or at least weekly basis. The middle shelves contain items that we use less frequently such as "special occasion" hair products, nail care and lotion on my side and medicine, band aids, and Q-tips on his side. The top shelves are reserved for overflow. Any items that were unopened went up there. I discovered that my family and friends must think I am stinky because I have not purchased body wash in over a year and I still have THREE varieties that are unopened in the top cupboard along with two in the shower. So, anything like toothpaste, unopened hair products and extra razor blades are stored up there. That way, when we run out of something, we can take a look on the top shelf to see if we have another one before running out to buy more unnecessary STUFF.

Here are some close up views of the shelves ...

I also cleaned out and re-organized the cupboards under the sink. It was mostly a matter of re-folding and re-stacking towels. I didn't take any photos of that because towels are boring and I don't want you all to see my stash of feminine products. Seriously, a little privacy, please?

After I finished up in the bathroom, I was on a roll so I moved on to the kitchen to tackle the food spaces. Here is what I was looking at:

A close up view of the top shelf so you can see how lovely it really is.

My pantry was bad! Things were stacked anywhere and everywhere and I had no idea what was actually in there. As you can see in the next picture, the pantry is quite deep and so it's often quite difficult to keep track of things as they get pushed to the back all the time.

So I pulled it all out and this is what I found....

See those boxes on the stool? Yup, all pasta. That's right, this lady went ahead and bought SIX boxes of pasta last week. Not because I forgot that I had some already, just because the sale was good. I have a problem.

I organized into categories and got started. First I tackled the baking supplies and the grains/pastas because that is what I have the most of and those are the things that were most sporadically placed in the pantry as I was cleaning it out. Once I got these two categories organized in a way that seems reasonable, this is what I had:

And I was left with the rest of this to find a spot for...

Once I organized the cans into categories, it was not difficult. Here is the finished product:

Grains and pastas on the top shelf. The tall canisters hold pasta to be used and the boxes are in the back. When the canisters are empty, then I will open a box and fill it back up. The other containers behind the peanut butter hold dried goods such as beans, lentils and peas. In the middle, there is a plastic container that is holding the odds and ends such as bags of rice, Kraft Dinner, Mr. Noodles, Side Kicks and so on.

The next two shelves hold the canned goods. Soup, vegetables and beverages (teas, hot chocolates) on the second shelf. The third shelf has beans, tomatoes, sauces, dog treats and powdered packages in the little white container.

The bottom two shelves are baking supplies, which I felt needed the most attention. The very bottom shelf holds my large tubs of flour, specialty flour and seeds/nuts. The large tubs of flour are not big enough to hold an entire bag of flour when I buy it so here's what I do with the excess...

All other baking supplies are on the next shelf up. I re-purposed this basket to hold the baking odds and ends. It used to hold noodles and pasta packages but when I cleaned out the pantry it was holding one package of Mr. Noodles. Not very efficient. I'm sure everything will end up getting lost in there in but it is the best solution I could find for all of those things that are odd shapes and sizes.

Next I moved on to the spice cupboard, which you saw earlier.

The main spices that are used are held on the fridge in magnetic containers. I love these containers but the problem is, I have far more than 12 spices. And, when I buy a spice, the whole package does not fit into these containers so there is always some left over.

So what I did was refill all of these containers and then place the excess of them in a container to go at the back of the cupboard. That way, I know I never need to touch that container when I'm looking for a spice, unless the one in the magnetic container is empty.

The rest of the spice jars were placed back into the white basket and the bags were lined up neatly in the middle. I also made a list (which you can sort of see on the side of the cupboard) of all the spices I have. As well, there is an indication if they are in a jar or bag so when I need to find something, I can quickly tell if a) I have it and b) where to find it. I also straightened up the snack shelf above the spices.

So there you have it. In total this took me about 3 hours to do and I am quite happy with my results. It was calling for rain so the hubby decided to postpone his trip to his folks house until later this evening as roofing would not be in the cards for today anyway. Admittedly, I was very happy with that because it has been months (no exaggeration) since we have had a Friday evening-Saturday morning without any plans. We got take out fish and chips for dinner, ate on a bench at the beach and then went for a walk. This morning, we slept in and now he's going to make me some pancakes for breakfast. He just doesn't know that yet. I'm hoping to be able to commission his help for the clothing purge, but we'll see how that goes. I'll let you know how the next two steps of the spring cleaning go! Happy Saturday!

This post is being linked up to Organizing Junkie's Surface and Shelf Organizing post!


Brittany Ann said...

I feel better knowing I'm not the only one that doesn't throw away empty toiletries bottles.

Denise K. said...

Oh you've been busy!!! Way to go on the cleaning...doesn't it feel so good!?! Keep up the good work and then RELAX tonight!!! :-)

Sassenachs in Scotland said...

How did the fish and chips measure up to the ones here? I had them from the place down the road on Monday and they were AMAZING! We should have gone there when you were here because I think they are my favourite now. They are so good.

Snow White said...

very nice! maybe I should invest in containers for my grains/pastas... they seem like a space saver!!!

oh, I can't wait to see your granola bar recipe :)

C said...

Wow girl, great progress! Treat yourself!

Taryn said...

good for you! (It is fun to see your cupboards because you have different brands and stuff where you are. = ) )