I started de-cluttering my kitchen in a very incremental way. I wrote about the start in Downsizing My Kitchen. Now with the canned goods and other miscellaneous stuff hauled out of my cupboards and sorted, it’s time to clean out the baking cupboard. As I got out all the containers of flours and sugars and other baking ingredients, it dawned on me that I used to bake a lot. I especially enjoyed making bread. Punching and kneading dough is so therapeutic!
I found an empty container for bread flour and one for rye. I used to make a great Swedish Limpa bread which took three risings and was similar to a pumpernickel but with some orange rind for a more nuanced flavor. I told my daughter about this uncommon and uncommonly good bread, but I got no further than mentioning it’s relationship to pumpernickel. I was halfway down the path to talking myself into making some…but it’s not worth the time if I have no one to share it with. I washed out the containers and stacked them on my counter.
While I was at it, I emptied out the cereal containers and disposed of the stale cereal. It dawned on me that my son must have been the real cereal eater and I just kept buying it after he’d moved out, not realizing it was just piling up. I washed out the containers and stacked them on the counter as well. I realized that I also have a big drawer which I used to stock with chips for the kids to grab for their lunches or a snack. The drawer was half-full of out-of-date, single-serving bags. Into the trash they went.
Pretty soon, I had a mountain of Tupperware and some very neat, clean shelves…many of them now empty. Perusing my cluttered counter tops, I started to make a plan. I put away what remained of my pantry and baking cupboard. I now have three, completely empty cupboards and a large empty drawer. I still have to go through the cupboards where I have yet more plastic storage containers, but even so, I have plenty of storage space now for all of my single-use machines. I don’t have a high-end panini maker, or any high-priced gadgets, but I have acquired plenty of other things over the years. I have a Belgian waffler, a small food processor, a blender with a broken carafe, a Magic Bullet, and various other small appliances. Now I have a place to put them.
My kitchen started out cluttered. In the process of cleaning out the cupboards, I’ve made a big mess. That’s ok, because I also got rid of a lot of stuff and found storage space for things I want in my kitchen, some of which are currently on the counters and some of which are stored in the basement.
It’s hard to believe how much time it is taking me to clean out one room. A room which has a single purpose and whose contents are relatively easy to put into categories of keep or dispose. I’m still focused on this one room and when I conquer it, I will let myself move on.
Find the Joy in the Journey…even the slow, slogging parts!