Last night I decided to combine two recent yikes money interests: clearing clutter and improving my kitchen. I targeted three different areas: the top of the refrigerator and two sets of upper cabinets. First up, the top of the refrigerator which started as a storage place for cereal boxes but has also become a general junk area for things that we don’t have room for in cabinets or that otherwise don’t have a real home.
With a little rearranging of our lower cabinets, I was able to find a new home for the cereal boxes and Charlie’s beloved goldfish crackers:
Mark was concerned that the cereal would spill out with the boxes tilted on their sides, so I just clipped a clothes pin on each bag inside the cereal box which will ensure the cereal doesn’t spill and will keep it from going stale.
Everything else on top of the fridge got thrown out or moved to a more sensible home, so now the top of the refrigerator looks like this:
The fire extinguisher has never really had a proper home so it’s always lived on top of the fridge. At least now we can get to it easily in an emergency. Does anyone have any good ideas for where to store fire extinguishers?
Next, I moved on to the upper cabinets. Here’s the first set:
I pulled everything out of the cabinets to get a good look at what I had. Going through these cabinets was a little painful because I came across about half a dozen food items that had passed their expiration date and really needed to be thrown out. Some of it I could compost, but some of it went straight into the trash — so sad, and should inspire me to clean out my cabinets more often to avoid this in the future. On the flip side, I found a few food items I’d forgotten about but are still perfectly good.
As I put everything back into the cabinets, I tried to group similar items (the cabinets definitely had no real sense of order before). So for example, spices are on the bottom on the right, chips and nuts are on the shelf immediately above them, and oils and vinegars are to the left of the chips.
Then I moved on to the next set of upper cabinets:
Again, I took everything out to see what I had. I was able to consolidate a few items — wheat flour that had been in two separate containers, paper plates and other picnic supplies, and two bags of rice. So now the cabinets look like this:
These cabinets actually revealed a little money-saving for me: we had some leftover party supplies from Charlie’s birthday last year that I can use for this year’s party.
Finally, I thought I’d take this little de-cluttering project one tiny step further. I don’t keep photo albums. I have a lot of guilt about that, but the reality is that I’m not likely to change my photo-lazy ways. Consequently, we have a lot of loose photos lying around the house. So I grabbed some of them, put a little tape on the back of each one, and taped photos to the insides of the cabinets. As I come across more photos in the house I’ll just add them to my cabinets for an instant photo album effect.
Now I don’t feel quite so guilty about failing to create albums and I can enjoy the photos every time I open the cabinets. I actually got this idea from somebody’s website somewhere (sorry, I can’t remember whose). He or she had taped in their cabinets all their holiday greetings photo cards from friends and family to enjoy through the year.
My two favorite things about this little de-cluttering project are the top of the refrigerator and the photos in the cabinets. Clearing off the top of the fridge really makes the room feel more spacious which I hadn’t counted on but is very welcome. And, of course, the photos are just plain fun.