Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What we've been up to

This post will not fall under the category of "major changes."  Our recent activities have not involed tearing things apart, putting things back together, or even painting them.  However, we have been busy, and I know that the loyal readers have been waiting far too long for a post. 

Allow me to introduce you to our kitchen: 

Notice anything missing?  Yep, our kitchen came without upper cabinets.  While this arrangement was likely just fine for our predecessor (we're guessing she was quite short, given the average height of all of her relatives we have met; and we know that in her later years she was wheelchair bound), it is not an ideal solution for two tall people who have a large assortment of shower and wedding gifts to store. 

Down the road, I have big plans for adding more storage than I'll know what to do with that I'll use to store the remainder of our kitchen gadgets that my parents are graciously storing in their basement.  We also have big plans for replacing the wood paneling, changing the color, finishing the drywall seams on the ceiling, and all those other minor details (ha!).  However, there are many rooms in line in front of the kitchen for major renovation, so the current goal was to find ways to make the current space functional without being too ugly, since it will remain this way for at least a year.  Previous to extra attention that the kitchen got over the last week, it was a semi-organized space with haphazard storage, a continual pile of (clean) dishes since we couldn't figure out how to put them all away, and - frankly - a space that could pretty instantly make me grumpy.

To meet our non-ugly/functional/non-grumpy-Emily goals, we used the following tactics:
    1) Adding shelves for additional, non-counter-space storage
    2) Making storage pretty
    3) Thinking strategially about what should stay where

The shelf is actually one I had in my college dorm room.  Now, instead of textbooks, it is home to the coffee pot, the salad spinner (our favorite kitchen tool), the larger pots and pans, and other things that were a waste of space in our 2 cabinets.


Looking ahead, I have plans to paint the shelf and make a curtain to hang across the front.  For now, even though the storage is open, it doesn't look half-bad since the items are arranged neatly.  Since there are a limited number of items on each shelf, I'm hopeful that it will actually stay looking this nice!

Another big improvement to the kitchen was the shelf my dad installed during my parent's recent visit (I hinted to my excitement about that addition here.  This allowed me to keep items like the knife block, the spice rack, and the recipe box within reach, but off the limited prep space on the counter.

In terms of making storage pretty, this has mostly involved losing store packaging and replacing it with glass bottles/jars.  There is a jar of popcorn kernels on our counter (for easy access and use with our second-favorite tool, the popcorn maker).  On the shelf, we have all of the items needed for Justin's favorite salads.  Seriously, he would survive on salad alone if left to his own devises (and, I think, did for much of his bachelor life in Ithaca).  His favorite salad includes red leaf lettuce, peanuts, garlic, pepper, and oil and vinegar.  As you may be now, I was skeptical when I first heard of the combination, but have since come to enjoy it.  Given the frequency of use for these items, we store them right next to the dinner table.  And I think the current solution looks a lot prettier than the plastic grocery store bottles of oil and vinegar!  (p.s. I thought I should clarify while we're talking about salad that the philodendron you see here is purely decorative!).

The third tactic to finding kitchen sanity was to think logically about each item and where it should be stored.  This came into play not only with the addition of the shelves and the glass storage containers, but with each item that we have in the kitchen.  As much as I would love to have all of our new shower/wedding gifts in the kitchen (and even in New York state!), I knew that it simply wasn't practical, and had to decide which things were most needed.  Anything that isn't absolutely necessary doesn't currently have a home here right now.  This also includes the majority of our dishes - there aren't any large dinner parties planned in the near future, so six placesettings in the cabinet is more than enough, even if we went on a huge dishwashing strike!  Seemingly limited, this approch to storage is actually very freeing.    In fact, this is the approach we're using throughout the house.  Things that aren't used, or don't bring us joy, don't stay.  As a side note, the fact that one of my primary job responsibilities is to  manage a free secondhand clothing/linen closet is extra incentive to embrace the lifestyle of reducing clutter!

So, as I mentioned, this post isn't terribly exciting.  Organizing a kitchen isn't as cool or blog-worthy as rebuilding a bedroom.  However, I've set out to document our home progress, and this has been the progress recently.  I haven't even picked up a trowel for more spackling since my last post!

In terms of other progress, you've probably noticed that the ol' blog looks a little different.  Having my (awesome) new computer has given me more time and interest to play around with the blog - and it doesn't hurt that Blogger has, in my hiatus, come out with much nicer editing tools.  Plus, I decided that my blog, which documents the swan transformation of our ugly duckling house, shouldn't be so ugly itself!  Check back to the now-attractive blog soon - having exhausted most excuses (missing camera parts, no internet, heat waves) for not posting more frequently, I seriously think that I've finally got everything together to actually keep everyone in-the-know.

For today, I leave you with our sign of the season.  If you're confused about why there is pink and purple instead of red and green, read here.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the first things I made for Colin and I for our first Christmas. Hurray Advent wreath!!