Decluttering Difficult Items

My difficult items aren’t things that I’m emotionally attached to that I don’t want to part with, they are the things I don’t know how to get rid of.

Things I need to figure out how to get rid of:

  • Old cellphones and laptops: Best Buy has a recycling program.  Now I just have to figure out to clear information before taking them there.  This website seems useful: How to Safely and Securely Dispose of Your Old Gadgets.  The challenge will be finding the correct charger to turn them on before deleting stuff.
  • Used camping stove propane tank: My recycling center will take these if they have a hole in them.  I asked how to put a hole in one of these and they told me to shoot it.  Now to find someone willing to shoot my propane tank!
  • Prescription medications: The local police department has a drop-off location.
  • Clothes that might be worth some money: I’m going to try selling stuff to Thredup, an online consignment store.  I’ve read some complaints of them not paying much, but I figure something is better than nothing.
  • Old shoes too worn out to donate, but would rather recycle than send to dump: Nike has a recycling program for athletic shoes.
  • Bigger items to sell: canoe, grill, large cast iron cookware, some furniture.  I’ll try Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for these.

Now I need to tackle this list.  Why is it easy to make lists, but so much harder to complete them?

I’ve also been working on sprucing up the house for selling.  I replaced the mailbox, which was not fun to dig up, and I even replaced a GFCI outlet without electrocuting myself or burning down the house.  I also cleaned up the front flower bed and need to get mulch.

My gardening class ends next week, which is bittersweet.  I’ve enjoyed the course and the people I’ve met, but it’ll be nice to have six hours back in my week.  Last week we had a field trip to a state horticulture research center and learned about breeding programs for crops and ornamentals.

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A greenhouse full of tomatoes for a breeding program

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Why Simplify?

I’ve been simplifying my life since January from my clothes to the food I eat.  To keep myself motivated I need to know why I’m doing this.  I don’t want to simplify just to jump on the Marie Kondo bandwagon, I want to simplify because it is the right thing for me to do.  Here are my reasons for simplifying:

  1. Money.  I’ve always been a frugal person and debt stresses me out.  Having a smaller home with less stuff means less debt and more financial security.  Downsizing to a place I can afford without a mortgage should save me about $13,000 per year for the next 28 years, that’s $364,000!  I feel like this is reason enough to simplify.
  2. Sustainability.  I’m a tree hugger at heart.  I want to lower my carbon footprint and live responsibly.  When I look at my current home, I’m appalled and embarrassed by all the wasted space, which means wasted energy and adding more pollution to the world.  I want my home and lifestyle to reflect my values of living sustainably.  I also want to reduce my contribution to the ever-growing pile of waste and excess consumption that’s the norm in the United States.  I want to have less, purchase less and when I do buy stuff, to buy quality items that are responsibly made.  Of course these products cost more money and when I have a mortgage hanging over my head, my frugal side tends to win.  Not having debt would allow me to spend on quality items when I do need to buy something.
  3. Time.  I don’t want to spend my life cleaning a house and  maintaining a yard that’s bigger than I need.  I want to spend my time doing things that I find valuable.  Last week I found out about a grant for starting a community garden at school, which is one of my big goals.  The grant is due May 20th and of course I have a million things to do before May 20th with getting this house ready to sell.  I’m still going to apply for the grant because it is important to me, but it made me realize another reason for simplifying my life- to have the time to purse my goals.
  4. Calm. I’m prone to anxiety and my environment can either calm me or make me more anxious.  A clean space with less clutter makes me feel at ease.  Also, not having debt will reduce my anxiety as well.

Those are my reasons for simplifying my life and will hopefully motivate me to complete the projects I need to do to have this house ready to sell.

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March Madness

March is too hectic at the moment.  My to do list never ends and grows longer when I’m not looking.  Work keeps popping up meeting after meeting, emails seem endless, my gardening class takes up six hours a week, weeds continue to take over the garden, and then there’s the list of house projects.  Little things like having to get an allergy shot every week and sit there for thirty minutes pushes me to the brink of madness.  There’s not enough hours in the week.  I have two weeks left of the gardening class, hopefully after that I’ll be a bit less stressed and have more time.

Between work and class and normal life these past two weeks, I’ve been scraping grout and finally finished!  Today I grouted the shower.  I had no clue what I was doing and made a giant mess in the bathroom.  It has to dry for three days before I can add the sealant and I need to get the matching caulk for the edges.  Pictures to come next week after I’ve had time to cleanup.  I’m hoping this was the hardest of the house projects.  I’m ready for the semester to be over, but at the same time that means I must have the house ready.  When I look around, I see lots more to do.

House prep to do list:

  • Caulk and seal the shower.
  • A living room window doesn’t stay up when opened, I guess there’s something wrong with the sash.  I’m not sure how to fix this or who I would even get to fix something like this.
  • Print and replace photos in the dining room gallery to something less personal.
  • Replace mailbox post, it’s barely standing!
  • Mulch the front of the house, garden paths and around fruit trees.
  • Repair water damage under the sink.  I think this is something I need to hire someone to do because I don’t have the tools necessary.
  • Replace UV filter for watering system:  I looked this up and it’s $100 for a filter!
  • Replace GFI outlet in the garage.  I watched a YouTube video on this and it didn’t look hard, so hopefully I can do this without electrocuting myself!
  • Fix a crack in the drywall next to the range hood.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Get house pressure washed.
  • Finish cleaning up the garden.
  • Plant garden.
  • Paint touch-ups.
  • Caulking around sinks.
  • Take stuff to Goodwill or sell more expensive items.
  • Clean!

I have six weeks until the end of the semester!  That means I need to do about three things per week.  I will have Easter break to do some extra projects on the list.  My goal for the next week is to replace the UV filter (although it pains me to spend that much money on a filter), caulk and seal the shower, and to replace the mailbox post.

The good thing about March madness is that it brings spring weather and blooming flowers.  In the garden I have little sprouts of peas, lettuce, beets and chard emerging.

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Groundlessness

That moment when the ground falls out from underneath me and I want to cling onto anything to stop the fear and uncertainty.  My constant struggle in life is yearning for stability.  I crave routine and predictability.  Sometimes I try to tell myself to be spontaneous, but it doesn’t come naturally.  I’m one to plan my spontaneity (and can you really call something spontaneous if you planned it??)!  I’ve learned in craving stability, I’m seeking what isn’t possible.

I listened to a podcast on Secular Buddhist about groundlessness last week (I’m not Buddhist, but I took some Eastern Philosophy classes in college and have been interested ever since).  The phrase that I will always remember from my philosophy classes is.. the only thing that is constant is change. (Sadly I remembered the quote, but not who said it, according to a Google search it was Heraclitus).  I try to cling to people and places even though groundlessness shows up time and time again.

I know groundlessness well, it’s similar to the free fall I experienced on roller coasters I liked as a teenager.  There was one ride that looked like a rocket ship and it would go straight up, high into the sky and I could look down to see masses of little people below.  The shuttle then stopped at the top and paused.  The pause felt like an eternity.  I knew exactly what was going to happen, but there was a moment of suspense, of waiting for the inevitable to happen.  Then the fall, the rush of air, the feeling in my stomach as it seemed to stay in the air as the rest of my body dropped.  Then the free fall ended and converted to a coasting land, but the rush of excitement lingered.

This ride is a pretty good replica of my life.  What I think of as stability is that pause at the top.  The pause can be years, but at some point, everything is going change.  Instead of fearing the fall and the change, it’s time to embrace it.  I need to view these falls as the excitement of life, not something to be feared.  I used to pay hard-earned money and wait in long lines to experience this free fall at amusement parks, the great news is that life provides it for free!

I can fear uncertainty and that’s ok.  It’s not ok to let that fear force me to hold onto to things or make bad decisions.  Looking back on my relationship with my Ex, I know I got into this relationship because of fear.  I was finishing graduate school, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t know where I was going to go or what I was going to do.  Instead of embracing this uncertainity, I dove into a relationship.  He seemed like a nice guy, he had a good and stable job, he had a home where I could plant a garden.  It had all the markings of the stability I craved.  I even referred to him as my rock because I was certain he would always be there no matter what.  Turns out that rock crumbled and I was building a life on groundlessness.

I like to think I’ve gotten better at dealing with groundlessness.  I didn’t jump into dating to find someone else to give me that illusion of stability when my marriage ended, and that is a big step for me.  My goal now is to be my own rock.  People and places and things will come and go in my life, but through all that change I will still be there.  This concept also makes it easier to let go of things because it’s easy to see that the stuff in my life doesn’t define me.  I may be a rock that gets tossed about a raging river at times, but that’s life-  it’s messy, it’s uncertain but that’s what makes it an adventure.

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So Long Spring Break

Spring break ends today.  The combination of time change and a 5:15 am alarm after no alarms for a week makes me dread Monday morning.

The weather wasn’t very spring like this past week, but buds still broke into bloom.  Peaches and plums flowered and one night the temperatures got dangerously low for them, but they seem to have come through unscathed.

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I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to over the break, but I made a sizeable dent in my to-do list.

Here’s what I accomplished:

  • A decluttered garage
  • A decluttered laundry room (it’s amazing how a clean laundry room inspires me to put up clothes right away).
  • Shelled the big box of dried cowpeas
  • Planted some seeds in the garden: peas, lettuce, chard and beets
  • Planted potatoes
  • Cleaned up the garden beds, which included harvesting a pile of overwintering carrots
  • Replaced clips on garden fence
  • Replaced the spring on the screen door
  • Cooked for the coming week, lots of carrot based food: roasted carrot soup along with lentil and carrot veggie burgers.
  • Read two weeks ahead for my gardening class
  • Hemmed some pants that have been sitting in a pile for a very long time

Here’s what I didn’t finish:

  • The shower grout: scraping grout turned out to be much, much harder than I thought.  I think the problem is that this grout isn’t old, there are no cracks, it’s just stained from the hard water.  Anyway, I’ve only made it halfway through scraping the shower.  I don’t enjoy this task, so I’m setting aside thirty minutes daily for grout scraping.  I’ll eventually get there.

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Also during break I read the book, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which a fantasy book, and that’s far from my normal reading genre.  It was a nice escape into the adventures of a girl who could talk to horses and woodland spirits.  Domino and I would get under a pile of blankets on the porch daybed and read by the light of a headlamp.

I also had my Master gardening class on Tuesday and Thursday.  Each day someone volunteers to bring snacks, so I signed up for Tuesday since I knew I would have more time during break.  I made pumpkin hummus with carrots from the garden along with some pumpkin cookies (I still have a large pumpkin supply in the garage).  Everyone loved the snacks and I’m sure if there were bonus points, I would get some for bring something I grew. In class this week we learned about growing fruit and it has inspired me to make changes to my future garden plans.  I learned that the lowest maintenance fruits for here include: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, muscadines, persimmons, figs and pawpaws.  Growing these will make it more likely that I actually harvest some fruits without enormous effort.  I do need to find, and taste, a pawpaw before I invest the time and space into growing them.

This coming week my goal is to survive getting up early and going to work!

March Decluttering Goals

A new month has arrived along with the opportunity to get rid of more stuff.  My original goal for March was to tackle the garage and the mudroom.  I’ve managed to go through both over the weekend.  I still have some piles in the garage that need to either be recycled or thrown away or given away, but the decluttering part is finished.  As I was going through the mudroom on Friday, I found a bunch of chemical cleaners that I don’t want to use that the Ex had left.  I looked up the next hazardous household waste dropoff event in my county and it was the following day.  They only do this twice a year, so I had to continue on to the garage- nothing like a deadline to get me moving!

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It slightly drives me crazy that the washer and dryer are not centered under the cabinets!

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The other side of the mudroom has a shoe organizer.  The orange bag has stuff I want to get rid of, but need to figure out where to take: a propane tank (my recycling center doesn’t accept them), some prescription medications, batteries that I need to figure out where to recycle because my recycling place throws them in the trash.

This coming week is spring break and I have some lofty goals:

 

  1. Declutter the mudroom
  2. Declutter the garage
  3. Scrape shower floor grout and re-grout
  4. Fill some holes in the grout in the mudroom
  5. Shell the box of dried beans
  6. Clean up the garden
  7. Plant potatoes
  8. Prune fruit trees

I got a head start on the week by decluttering the mudroom and garage.  I have a feeling the grout scraping is going to be tedious and the garden is a mess, so I should be very busy the coming week.  I may be so worn out after the week that I’ll be happy to go back to work!

 

 

Four M’s for Moving

February is coming to an end and I’d say my kitchen and pantry are decluttered.  I even dealt with the cabinet under the sink and it seems I’m a dish soap hoarder.  There’s a lot of dishwashing in my future and a moratorium on purchasing any more soap.  I also sorted through the junk drawer, although I now have a box of things I have no clue what they go to or whether they are important or useful.  I figure they can be inherited with the house in case they’re something essential.

I’ve been in a crappy mood on and off for the last few weeks.  I’ve gone back to the ruminating that I know is bad for me, replaying past hurts over and over in my mind, thinking about what I should have done, what I should have said, how I could have kept everything from fall apart.  Or then my mind deviates to all the things I want to say to those that did the hurting.  That horrible thing where people shove a dog’s nose into the accident they had in the house (which, if anyone knows a dog, then stinky things are fabulous, so there’s no logical reason why this would make them regret their accident).  Anyway, I want to shove their noses into the pain and hurt they caused.  I want them to feel what it’s like to have your life pulled up from underneath you.

After that year of working on happiness, I knew I need to pull out the toolbox and figure out what was triggering the pain and the rage.  I haven’t had any communication, which was usually my trigger, so diving deeper I finally figured out the problem.. the house.

The home I called my forever home.  The place where I sent down roots of baby pecan trees.  The place I imagined staying for the rest of my life.  Our time together is slipping away and the thought of saying goodbye to my home hurts, which leads me down the tunnel of blame and anger and sadness.  I wish I had never lived here because I know that no other place will compare, but I know rationally that I need to move on.

My four M’s for moving:

  1. Money: I will have a large mortgage hanging over my head for 28 more years if I stay here, while if I sell I should have enough to buy a smaller place with the equity and be mortgage free.
  2. Maintenance: There’s too much work involved in maintaining a 2,000+ square foot house and 12 acres.  I despise mowing, my garden is too big to keep under control by myself, and there’s too much house to clean.  I’ve had my heat set to 65 F all winter because it’s too expensive to heat and cool this big place.  With time things will have to be replaced, updated and maintained and that costs a lot with a big house.
  3. Memories: We had this house built together and every color, every feature, we chose.  This was our forever home, not my forever home alone.  I feel that to really start over I need to stop holding onto a dream that died a year and a half ago.
  4. Murder: The neighbor’s dog was murdered with hotdogs soaked in antifreeze.  We don’t know who did something so cruel and every since then, I’m paranoid that something will happen to Domino.  I don’t feel as safe here as I used to.

I took Domino for a walk in the little town I want to move to, walking through neighborhoods to see what they are like.  Going from twelve acres to a small lot is going to be difficult.  I know that I’m adaptable and I’ll acclimate to my new surrounds, but I’ve just never been good at goodbyes.

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This is a picture of my backyard taken on this day, three years ago.

Simple Eating and Cooking

I’m not a huge fan of cooking, but I want to eat healthy, wholesome and frugal food.  That means cooking is an integral part of my life and I’ve figured out what works for me to make sure I have healthy food that isn’t complicated.

How I keep eating and cooking simple:

  1. I eat the same breakfast daily.
  2. I cook in bulk and freeze lunches.
  3. I cook on Sundays to have dinner ready for the week.

Breakfast:

I know some people may get bored with the same foods daily, but luckily I’m not one of those people.  I love my big breakfast and it’s something I look forward to each morning.  Here’s what I have: two eggs cooked with some type of greens and topped with salsa (or tomato sauce or leftover veggies) along with steel-cut oats with dried cranberries and walnuts and chai.  Yes, it’s a large breakfast, but I tend to wake up hungry and this will keep me full for many hours with about 400 calories along with 20 grams of both protein and fat.  Plus I feel good about eating some veggies at the start of the day.  To make this simple to cook in the mornings, I use my Instant Pot to make the oatmeal.  I put the ingredients in, turn it on, take the dog for a walk and when we get back, it’s done.  Then I cook the eggs and greens (I wash and chop the greens on Sunday so that they are ready to go) while heating water in the kettle.

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Add an extra egg and a bowl of oatmeal to complete my breakfast.

Lunch:

I teach, so the semesters can get hectic, but I know this in advance and use my breaks to prep my lunches for the coming semester.  I’ll cook big batches of foods that freeze well like curries, soups and veggie burgers.  I try to make sure my lunches include some kind of beans, whole grains and vegetables.  Freezing my lunches saves me the hassle of deciding on and prepping lunches for work days.  It also saves me money because I’m not tempted to eat out for lunch and I can cook garden vegetables as they come available.  I also have a salad with my lunches and I prep these on Sunday for the week with a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

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Dinner:

Sundays are my cooking days.  That’s when I get my greens prepped for breakfast and my salads prepped for lunch.  It’s also when I cook my dinners for the week.  I try to base these on what I have in the garden, or in the freezer or what’s on sale at the grocery store.  I aim to have a protein (usually beans, tofu or tempeh) with a whole grain (my go to grains are quinoa or brown rice) along with whatever vegetables I have.  Lately it’s been dreary and cold, so I’ve made a soup to go along with my dinner.  This week I made tempeh (found in the freezer clean out) with broccoli (from the garden) and mushrooms (on sale at the grocery store) and greens (using up what was left of the weekly breakfast greens).  I then made potato soup from potatoes leftover from a school project along with some carrots from the garden and homemade vegetable broth from the freezer.  I also have sliced homemade bread in the freezer that I can pop into the toaster when I need some bread for my soup.

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Snacks:

After typing up what I eat on a normal day, it sounds like a ton of food!  Despite that I do eat snacks.  My favorites are Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts drizzled with honey, peanut butter and apple or cereal with fruit.  Occasionally I’ll get into a baking mood on the weekend and I’ll make something sweet like muffins or cookies.

My simple eating and cooking method makes it easy and cheap to eat healthy foods.  It also means I don’t spend a ton of time cleaning the kitchen because honestly, it’s not the cooking I dislike, it’s cleaning up the mess I make!

 

A Simplified Pantry

This week I dove into the pantry.  A little background about my eating and cooking:

  1. I’m vegetarian, so my assortment of dried beans may be more than most.
  2. I cook most of my meals from scratch, so my pantry must be well stocked.
  3. I cook for one and avoid easy snack foods because I’m not very good at moderation.

The backbone of an organized pantry has been lurking inside the doors.  Years ago I got a bunch of glass containers along with some recycled jars and used chalkboard paint to make labels.

However, last Sunday an incident has made me reconsider my glass pantry storage.  I measured out my steel-cut oats for Monday morning and was carrying the oat jar in one hand and a smaller jar with dried cranberries in the other hand.  Somehow the oat jar broke in my hands, steel cut oats and glass went all over the kitchen and laundry room along with blood from my cut hands.  It was a huge disaster.  This was the second glass storage container I’ve broken in the six years that I’ve had them, but I’m thinking that when future incidents happen, I’m going to replace them with stainless steel air-tight canisters.  They should be lighter and less disastrous.

I do have tin canisters for flour and sugar that sit on the counter and my whole wheat flour resides in the fridge.

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Here’s a peek into my pantry:

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It’s about three feet wide and very deep, which isn’t the best design for a pantry because it’s really easy to lose stuff in the back of the shelves.

I try to keep similar items together so that it’s easier to keep organized and find what I need.  On the top shelf I have extra tea.  Yes, I have a ton of lemongrass tea.  I grow lemongrass and by the end of the season it’s the size of a large shrub.  I need to have a moratorium on buying herbal tea until I use this up.  Next I have a variety of oats: steel-cut, old-fashioned and quick oats.  I’m definitely not a gluten-free house with my vital wheat gluten- I use it to make seitan.

On the second shelf I have seeds and nuts followed by sweeteners (powdered sugar, light and dark brown sugar, honey, molasses and maple syrup).  Then in the next jar is way too much corn starch- no clue why I have so much or  how I will ever use this much corn starch.  The metal tin has baking powder and baking soda.  On the right are oils and vinegars.  I keep a big jug of white vinegar under the sink because I mostly use it for cleaning.

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On the next shelf I have some canned and dried fruit along with some pickles from the garden.  The thing with the butterfly handle has dried figs in it.  The shallow basket also has bread: a yummy wheat oat loaf.  Then I have grains: brown rice, quinoa, bread crumbs, popcorn, cereal and pasta.

On the bottom shelf I have my bean collection.  My favorites are lentils, chickpeas, black beans and cowpeas.  If you’re looking at that jar of black beans and wondering why they’re not all black, well, it appears this year in the garden I had some cross-pollination between my black beans and pinto beans, so I’ve got an interesting variety.  I try to keep a can of beans on hand: that’s my fast food in case I need some beans and haven’t soaked and cooked them.  Next are my root veggies: onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

On the floor I keep my water bath canner and Domino’s food along with a stool, which is an essential for my height.

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There’s a few things missing that I like to keep on hand: canned tomatoes and coconut milk.  I used these up earlier in the day, but will restock next week on grocery day.

My pantry has everything I need for cooking.  My biggest challenge in keeping a simple pantry is to use up those items that I get for a specific recipe.  These are the items that are easy to accumulate and get lost in the depths of the pantry.

 

A Decluttered Kitchen

I’m a bit embarrassed by my photos this week and not because of a cluttered mess hiding in my kitchen cabinets.  I’m embarassed by the ridiculous excess of space.  As I’ve pared down the stuff in my life, I’m confronting lots of empty space and its wastefulness.  My kitchen epitomizes American excess.

Over the last year and half I’ve spent a lot of time assessing my life and myself and one thing that is very important to me is sustainability.  I’m an ecologist by training and a tree hugger by heart.  Living in an excessively large house isn’t authentic to who I am.  I never wanted to live in such a big space.  My purpose for simplifying the stuff in my life is to figure out how much space I really need and downsize to something with a much smaller footprint.

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Yes, those are empty cabinets to the left, middle: Tupperware, right: bowls and plates.  I’m 5 ft tall, so I can’t reach beyond the second shelf on upper cabinets.  On the countertop that’s a dehydrator, instant pot (my bff!), food processor (with peanut butter in it), knives and notebooks with recipes and household info.

In the drawers I have silverware along with other kitchen accessories I use.  Next I have a whole large drawer for Tupperware lids.

Beneath I have pots and skillets along with all the food processor parts.  The cast iron skillets are hard to see since they are so dark.  I love my 8″ cast iron and use it daily.  The big and deep skillet is 14″ and I use it when I make big batches of food, but it’s so heavy that I would like to replace it with a stainless steel version at some point.

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Next I have canning jars with lids, my cookbooks (which make it very obvious that I’m vegetarian) and Domino’s treats (his food is in the pantry, which I will get to later this month).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next cabinet has serving platters, a cake stand and some small appliances: a soy milk maker (I’m debating on whether to keep this, since I use it sporadically), a waffle maker and crockpot (I also thought about getting rid of my crockpot since the Instant Pot has a slow cooker setting.  However, I’ve used both at the same time, so I decided to keep it).

 

This is the kitchen island with more empty space.  On the left I keep large measuring bowls, a grater, colander, a blender and salad spinner (not pictured because it was being used at the moment).  That metal thing came with the oven.  I’m not sure what it’s purpose is, but I thought I should save it and leave it with the oven.

In the kitchen island drawers I keep wraps, plastic bags, sharpies and some canning stuff.  Then on the right is another empty space.

Next are the drawers next to the stove, which is the part of the kitchen that gets the most use.  The first drawer has cooking utensils, toothpicks, thermometer and tongs.  The next drawer has measuring cups and spoons along with pot holders.  (I could probably declutter more of those measuring cups).  The third drawer has spices.  I got annoyed with the store-bought containers because they couldn’t stand upright and then would roll around on their sides and leak, so I put everything in jars with labels on the lids.  The bottom drawer has kitchen towels and more spices and several types of salt.

The next cabinet has tea and coffee in the top drawer.  I don’t actually drink coffee, but I keep a French press and some coffee for visitors along with some instant coffee.  I keep all my random tea contained in the blue tin and then my daily chai in either tea bag or loose leaf versions.  In the cabinet below I keep my lunch bag, water bottles and Thermos.

The corner cabinet is filled with Pyrex.  I do a lot of cooking.  At times I will have as many Pyrex as I can fit in the oven cooking at once.  There’s also a glass pitcher in there because it was too tall to fit in the cabinet with the rest of the serving stuff.

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This is my baking cabinet with all the baking utensils in the drawer and then baking pans, a sifter, ramekins, rolling-pin and cooling racks.

Glasses and mugs go in an upper cabinet, which once again I can’t reach above the second shelf.

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Above the fridge is nothing and on top of the fridge is a ridiculously huge cast iron skillet.  The ex bought this for me and it doesn’t even fit in the oven, so has never been used.  I plan to sell it, but first I have to get it down and it is very, very heavy.  Above the microwave are a few glasses and an apple peeler, corer and slicer.  I love to go apple picking in the autumn and get bushels of apples that I bake into pies that go in the freezer.  This is something I only use a couple of times per year, but it makes processing all those apples much easier and worth climbing on the counter top to get down.

 

If you’re really observant, you may have noticed that I strategically skipped two things: the infamous junk drawer and the under the sink cabinets.  The month has just begun, so I’ll work on these next week.

What I’ve learned so far is that my kitchen is way too large and that upper cabinets are pretty much useless when you’re five feet tall!