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Project Simplify Gone Awry: Week 2, Pantry/Fridge/Kitchen

March 16, 2012

Continuing in my lackluster attempt at reorganizing in the month of March, here is the latest installment of my participation in the Simple Mom’s Project Simplify!

This week Tsh mixed it up by focusing not just on the kitchen, but the fridge and pantry.  She also challenged her readers to eat more simply (something I’ve been working on for Lent while eating in solidarity with the poor…minus a week of eating free at Chick-fil-a). She has a great set of links and resources, so I recommend y’all jump over regardless of what your pantry looks like right now.

Here’s where I have to make a confession.  Last month when I decided to take on this simplification challenge, I cheated a little because the hubs and I were already starting a small-scale, multi-phase kitchen remodel.

We wanted to keep that" slightly mismatched appliances" feel, but paint things and do all the cheapest things you can do to a kitchen built in the 1980's to bring it all the way up to the mid to late '90's. (Hence the use of the modern home project-planning convention: tiny post-its.)

So here’s where the story can begin.  We’ll call it: The Parable of the Half-Done Kitchen.

We’ve spent the last few weeks working toward, at the very least, painted cabinets.  After the initial burst of priming and painting enthusiasm, we just got busier and busier. We managed to get a few things done, like reorganizing the place (thank you tiny post-its!).

This leg of the journey brought to you by our Grammy night euphoria. Adele is back! We can paint all night!

I hit headquarters [read: Target] and bought some do-dads for keeping pot lids and potholders in place (they’re tricksy devils those pot-things).

Under the island. No mysteries here, "Lost" fans. It IS purgatory.

I threw out about a jillion “Tupperware” containers (aka: those plastic things that deli-sliced turkey comes in these days) and put my mixing bowls where they would actually be useful, not just high up where they could fall on my head.  Ah, the old way…

Now only the large Corningware casserole dishes will fall on my head. WIN!

Then I got strategic, putting on my “mom” brain and planning ways the kids be more helpful in the kitchen.  “Put all their stuff on the bottom shelves so THEY have to get their plates, cups, whathaveyou!  They will learn cooking!  They will become responsible citizens! YES!  Mothering genius!”

Half of these are now covered by dog-fur tumbleweeds. Doors are ESSENTIAL people.

Don’t worry.  The kids won’t be using the FoodSaver any time soon.  That’s MOMMY’S gizmo.  We did manage to create one cool, hip, Pinterest-worthy aspect to our kitchen:

Ikea, baby! And a label maker I've had since college. This actually works. And those magnets are strong enough to hold a preschooler clinging to cumin for dear life. Not that we've seen that in action, but they're very tough to wrench off, so I imagine that's how it would go.

We made some progress, but we really wanted to be done with the first phase of this: the painting.  Looking at all of our stuff all the time is getting pretty dang old.  The hubs harangued our Kindergartener into helping to paint some of the cabinet doors last week, and we were all set for a grand finish this week until…

We got our first foster care placement on Monday!  For anyone who has had that kind of sudden life intrusion, you know these situations aren’t exactly “add child and stir” easy.  The kitchen, like our family, is a team effort.  Since Tuesday morning, the hubs has been juggling intermittently working from home, getting to know the new guy in our house, general housekeeping and kitchen redesign.  Because of my physical limitations, we have to divide the work based on my abilities that day or that week.

So far, my biggest role in the kitchen since the initial reorganization has been to cook around the mess/advocate for take-out and the occasional nag: “Why don’t you paint a few more doors today, hmmm??  It’s so warm outside!”  I’m pretty good at passive-aggressive nag-gestions, but this biblical proverb we read in one of my high school history classes haunts me every time I do it:

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
-Proverbs 21:9, 25:24

Yeah, you catch that reference?  That one’s actually in there twice.  And we live in a three-story townhouse, too.  That could be a real widow-maker.  Eek!

I did give a lot of attention to one part of the kitchen this week.  Not much in the way of organization yet, though:

Yeah, that's a Butterbeer mug we got at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sitting on that middle shelf. Totally worth the $1400 it cost to get into Universal Studios, too. (The experience, not the Butterbeer. THAT was grody.)

Move over, wine, there's a baby in the house. But stick close, we might need you later. Thanks.

So far, there’s two things I like about this Project Simplify challenge.

  1. It’s making me rethink the flow and [dis]order of our home.  If we’re really going for this parenting trilogy, we’re gonna have to be more disciplined as grown-ups. -and-
  2. All of these attempts at “living more simply” happen in the context of a life entirely out of our control.  Kids get sick.  *I* get sick. (Hubs never gets sick, even for surgeries.) We get busy.  We get bored.  We have a windfall.  We have to tighten our belts.  We have to sell our belts for cash and hold our own pants up as we walk around.  The point is, we can make choices with what we’re given, but it’s all given.  And given with just one guarantee: God loves us and He’s out for our good and His glory.

So we can reorganize and redo and it will take a while.  But the remaking is all His business (and it will take even longer).  In the reluctant prayer of one Dr. Sheldon Cooper:

By His hand, we are all fed,
Give us Lord our daily bread.
Please know that we are truly grateful
for every cup and every plateful.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2012 1:15 pm

    Wow! Awesome! I love the spice jar magnets. It is something I always have wanted to do, but have no where to put it!

  2. March 16, 2012 3:09 pm

    Honetly, we didn’t either. A few photos and art projects had to go. But it was worth it! Those jars really hold their stuff and moving the spices freed up a whole cabinet.

  3. TCF permalink
    March 16, 2012 7:02 pm

    I play with the spice jars on the fridge. They’re my fave toys at BnB’s house.

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