Monday, 30 June 2008

Decluttering The Kitchen


I’ve finally made a real start on decluttering the kitchen this week. Until now I just haven’t been strong enough to do it and although I can still only do a little at a time, it feels good to actually be making progress.

The first job to tackle was the big understairs cupboard. Until now it’s been used as a general dumping ground for everything that doesn’t have a proper home elsewhere and was an absolute disgrace. There are a few shelves in there but nowhere nearly as many as I’d like so the bottom of the cupboard was a complete mess. Everything just got shoved in from pots of paint and dog food to toilet rolls and things that might just come in handy one day but probably never will. It was so bad that I had no idea what was actually at the back, and even if I had known I wouldn’t have been able to get to them.

During the first round I managed to fill about a bin bag and a half with rubbish that couldn't be reused or recycled. What’s really embarrassing is that about half of that was food that had been stored there because I don’t have enough cupboard space for it elsewhere. Some of that had also become bogged down with junk so I found full packets of biscuits that had their ‘best before’ date 18 months ago, bags of sticky sweets that even a toddler wouldn’t find appetising, and cakes that were rock hard. There was even a whole Christmas cake and an untouched Stollen in there! Needless to say, I felt ashamed of myself. At least some of the other stuff's going on Freecycle or to the charity shop!

This is how the cupboard looked when I gave up for the day. You can't see anywhere near all of it but believe me, there's still a lot of stuff left to get out!

The little chest of drawers in the kitchen will also be put through the clear out treatment. Richard’s having it and I wanted it out of the way so that I could make room for a dresser or larger chest of drawers, although I’ve yet to find ‘the right one’. Richard says I’m fussy but why shouldn’t I get my kitchen exactly how I want it when I’m spending both time, energy and money on it? I’m planning to live with it for a very long time and want to feel satisfied that it not only works for me but looks pleasant and inviting, too.

The main problem with all this decluttering is that, until I eventually get my new kitchen installed, I’ve nowhere to actually put the stuff that’s come out of cupboards and drawers. There just isn’t room to find them new homes. At the moment my food is kept on two shelves on the wall - a very inadequate solution as they’re not only in an awkward position to get to, but everything’s stacked up in such a way that I can’t easy get things down without half of it falling on top of me. The kitchen table is also ‘home’ to all sorts of things that shouldn’t be there but I can’t exactly just kick them around until I lose them, can I?

Once the big cupboards completely clear I’ll get Richard to put some more shelves up for me. That way the stockpiled food and dry stuff (flour, rice, pasta etc) can go back in, and the vacuum cleaner can have a proper home instead of standing on the floor, in the way of getting to one end of the much despised food shelves. I’m fed up keep having to move it because although that may seem like a simple task to most, things like that quickly wear me out.

Having an electric built-in oven residing on the floor while it awaits its permanent home in the new kitchen doesn’t help with space but as I’m working to a very tight budget, I have to get things when I see them going cheap. The oven’s just 6 months old, barely used and cost £50 so I could hardly let it go. And anyway, why buy new when you don’t have to?

At the moment there are also things being kept in big boxes or just stacked against the walls. The whole room generally looks as if a bomb’s hit it but I tell myself that it’s simply the transition stage, rather like when you’re growing layers out of your hair and it looks a mess but you have to put up with it just a while longer if you’re to get the style you really want.

I’m really eager to get started on the main jobs now. Lise and her boyfriend are going to paint the skirtings and door frames when they come over in July and once they're done, I shall get my "almost" daughter's partner round to decorate and put the new wall cabinets up. At least the food will have a proper home again then. That'll be the first stage over and done with so I'll be able to start concentrating on getting quotes for the rest of the work and saving how ever much more I need.

I’ll get there one day.

Sharon J


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Pat said...

Don't you find that decluttering is an ongoing prosess Sharon? I seem to be doing it all the time. I'm sure stuff propergates itself.

Good luck with your kitchen and hope your strength holds up until it's finished.

shabby chic said...

Hi Sharon,
I have one of those understairs cupboards too!, things get chucked in too. I love decluttering and I always vow never to junk it all up again. Its nice knowing where things are and being able to find them!

Sharon J said...

@ Pat. I feel the same way, clutter seems to breed in my house. Things tend to creep in unnoticed and before I know it, I'm all cluttered up again. I'm being much stricter about what I will and won't keep now though.

@ Shabby Chic. I'm a firm believer in "a place for everything and everything in its place" but still I seem to spend too much time hunting for things. I blame it on the others who share my home... they keep moving stuff ;)

Richard said...

Yes you are fussy, but I never said you were about the dresser and that chest of drawers would definitely be much better off in my bedroom where it would actually have stuff in it.

Sharon J said...

The thing is, Richard, I'm being just as 'fussy' about the dresser as about everything else so that comment was a general one. And the chest of drawers does have stuff in it - just not very much stuff, but that's only because I can't actually get to it very easily with the oven, clothes horse and vacuum cleaner stuck in the way. I'm just not sure what to do with the stuff that is in there at the moment. Kitchen's a bloody nightmare.

Sara said...

Yeah, the guilt over throwing away food that was perfectly good in a former life stinks. But the feeling of starting fresh with clean shelves is worth it. I'm with you, though, it's a never-ending process. I think I've got stuff that probably has grandchildren by now stashed in the pantry.

Sharon J said...

You've no idea how good it feels to know I'm not the only one with this problem, Sara.

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