Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 6 - Kitchen Part 2 #cgsc2015

Today the focus is counter tops and lower cabinets in the kitchen. Last time I did this in our kitchen (when we still had cabinets) I discovered we had had visitors, of the four-legged variety, they reportedly like cheese but my experience is they prefer chocolate or peanut butter. I didn't find any mice lurking behind the rice container, but they had certainly left the evidence of chewed cereal boxes and those lovely wee black pellets aka mouse turds. Not the most pleasant discovery amongst your food that is for certain so a great deal got thrown out. Hubby was somewhat skeptical to be honest as they had never had squeakers in the house, but my CSI skills regarding mice are pretty well honed after living in a mobile home in the middle of a farm for seven years (one year was so bad I was catching them by the tail and chucking them off the deck). Mice can chew threw damn near anything and fit in the tiniest of holes to get to food so I'd learned in my own kitchen, glass & metal is best, they had even chewed the Tupperware (the real McCoy) so yup, no more plastic storage if I could avoid it. The moral of my story, mason jars are our friends!

If you'd like you can continue to work widdershins on your cabinets from the kitchen entry but I'm going to tell you my cheat, I start under the kitchen sink. Why, you may ask. Because it is usually the worst for collecting crap that doesn't belong, de-cluttering the numerous half-used bottles of cleaners requires little emotional energy and once that cabinet is all cleared out, looking sparkly and organised, it often helps jump start the releasing process so the other cabinets are actually easier. Then I will go widdershins from that point ;).

I have multiple chemical sensitivities so I had long since switched almost entirely to homemade cleaners. Even those that claim to be full natural can irritate the fuck out of my sinuses and skin so easier to just make my own. You can clean just about anything with hot water, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, borax, and Dawn. Yes I do know that Dawn is not homemade, but if they can wash cute duckies covered with nasty oil then I'm quite sure it is safe. Even if you do not have sensitivies I still recommend the homemade cleaners as they are so much easier on you, your home and the environment and there is more than one way witches are green! There are numerous recipes on the interwebs that you can find using these ingredients to make cleaners for every occasion. I did post one in the postscript in, "A few housekeeping notes" and at some point I plan to sit down to make a booklet of recipes I use but in the meantime Google and Pinterest rock ;).

Look through your cabinets and on your countertop and make a plan, mentally or on paper. For the countertop take a good look at what is there. What do you absolutely, without a doubt, need to keep within quick and easy reach?  Providing you have the cabinet space then that is all that should be on the counters! Small appliances, such as the toaster, kettle, coffee pot, if used daily or nearly daily, those can stay but there are many that you most likely do not use as regularly so if you can, give them a home out of sight. Some small decor items are nice, especially if they are also functional. A vintage jar to hold the larger cooking utensils, a ceramic frog keeping that scouring pad off the counter and even a nice basket of fruit, but do try to keep the clutter to an absolute minimum.

Work through the cabinets housing the baking dishes and cookware. Some things are nice to have multiples of, such as a couple of loaf pans - who wants to make one banana loaf at a time, but five pizza stones is probably excessive. I may as well tell you right now, I have a severe bias against non-stick cooking pans, I think the fucking things are toxic and not worth the convenience both for health reasons and environmental. If you can afford quality stainless steel, enamel coated and/or cast iron cookware please get rid of the teflon, even if it takes you a few years piece by piece. One scratch in a non-stick pan and you are suppose to chuck it (more waste and more money spent) but a good quality stainless steel pot or cast iron frying pan is actually quite easy to clean, cooks your food far more evenly and can literally last your lifetime and then some. *Climbs off soapbox.* Moving on, we'll be doing the same as every other cupboard or cabinet we've been diving into, if you haven't used that juicer in a year, have three mandolin slicers, or the mastermixer is missing parts, darling, send it packing.

Other areas that most likely need to be de-cluttered and reorganised in or related to the kitchen are the lazy-susan cupboard, the fridge and the pantry. For dry or canned goods, if you know you will not ever cook with it and it's still sealed, your local Food Bank or homeless shelters are ALWAYS in need of food. Organise by like items, it is far easier to find two cans of mushroom soup to make a casserole this way than if haphazardly put away (labels on shelves are awesome if you have kids and significant others that have trouble following your organisation). And as mentioned before, store dry goods in glass, such as rice, flour and even raisins and chocolate chips. They are then safe from bugs and rodents, glass is reusable nearly forever, and, in my humble opinion, it looks sexier than an eclectic mess of boxes and plastic containers. I think Chef Michael Smith has the sexiest pantry ever, but I couldn't find a good photo online of it so here is one similarish.

Here are some more great tips for kitchen organising from Tidy I particularly liked the lazy susan in the fridge and the measuring cups on the back of the cabinet door with the conversion chart. Brilliant!

Let's shake a leg and get to it! What was the oldest food item you found? I found some that was literally vintage here! How about duplicates, what did you have the most of one item?

Love & light,
~Síonaínn **  ƸӜƷ  **

Ps. Here is a post I wrote when I was still living in my mobile home on my mason jar obsession. My Pretty Nuts

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