I’ve been doing this stay-at-home mom thing going on nine years. Three years ago, when I added the role of homeschool mom to the mix, our house went from a little cluttered to a complete mess. There was stuff everywhere, library fines continued to rack up, and I could never find anything. I was frustrated by the mess and how chaotic I felt. Then, last fall I came across this post on Facebook about an overwhelmed mom who finally had enough of all the stuff and started getting rid of it.
Before reading her post, I knew I needed to go through our stuff, but I had no idea where to start. After reading her story of change, I knew the important thing was to just start. Since we manage multiple food allergies, we cook A LOT in our home. So, the kitchen seemed as good a place as any. I started pulling things out of our cabinets … things that we haven’t used in years, and things that we have never used.
The Purging ::Why the Heck Do I Still Have All of This Stuff?!?!
There was a milkshake maker, extra glasses, a ridiculous amount of coffee mugs and water bottles, wooden salad bowls, the bread maker, and on and on. Here’s how it went… Why do I still have this bread maker? It is full of gluten and son #1 has Celiacs. I will never use it again. Donate box. Why do I still have this milkshake maker? Son #1 is also allergic to dairy… Donate box. Why do I still have this fondue maker? I have never used it and I can melt chocolate in the microwave, or on the stove top. I’ve actually done both of these things, so there is no need for a separate fondue maker… Donate box. We never use these salad bowls because they can’t go in the dishwasher… Donate box. You get the picture.
I had been keeping these things because, in my mind, they were stored out of the way, so they weren’t hurting anything. But do you know what happened when I got rid of them? I had more storage for the things I actually use, which meant less stuff on the counter. So when I prep a meal (which is almost every day) or come home with tons of groceries, I actually have room to work. Talk about a good feeling.
My husband (DH) is great about making an Aldi run while he is out and about. Pre-kitchen purge, he would come home with groceries, and all I could see was more stuff. I would be frustrated and disgruntled because the only place to put the bags of groceries was the kitchen floor. He had saved me the insanity of shopping with our boys, and I couldn’t be grateful. All I could think was, Where am I supposed to put this stuff? Now, instead of the grocery bags all over the kitchen floor, he can put them on the counter for me to go through, and I can give him a big hug and tell him how much I love him.
I won’t say it was 100% easy. There were some road blocks. I cannot bring myself to get rid of our personalized coffee mugs. You know, the ones with our kids on them. They rarely get used. We have a full set of matching mugs, so they aren’t necessary. But … they have our kids on them. You know what, though? I did get rid of six bulky wooden salad bowls and some random plastic cups, and I found a better home for the turkey baster and thermometer that we use only once a year. After all of that, there is room to put the few sentimental mugs out of the way on the top shelf.
DH wanted me to keep ALL of our reusable water bottles. You know, the heavy plastic ones that you pile in the cabinet and they inevitably fall out when you open the door. When I told DH that the previous week one of the water bottles had fallen out and hit me on the collar bone, he started to see my point. He went through and picked out the ones he really couldn’t part with. I found a basket to corral them and slid it on the top shelf of a cabinet. Now, they are out of the way. DH still knows where they are, and they are much less dangerous. Win, win, win!!!
Organizational Changes & Tools
I did purchase a couple of items to help with neatly storing our dishes and pots and pans. I found a 3-tiered shelf for around $10 at Home Goods that makes getting dishes out easy. So easy, that my 8-year-old can now get his own bowl for cereal without me worrying that he is going to knock all of the dishes down on his head. I wish I had taken before photos because my cabinets were stuffed beyond full. Now, when I open the cabinet door, it makes me smile.
We also have one of those corner cabinets with a built-in turn-table. I was never happy with this cabinet. The turn-table seemed flimsy and I felt like it was a huge waste of space. So, one day on a whim, I had DH take the turn-table out. Now I have this low storage space for things I use on a regular basis. I also got an awesome storage rack for pans off of Amazon. This has made it easier to get the pans I need while also keeping them in much better condition. DH, who pitches in with the cooking, commented just the other day that our pans are staying so nice with the new rack.
The Journey Continues
This is not to say that my kitchen and my house are never cluttered. I struggle with paperwork and random stuff ending up on our one long counter top. I still have most of the house left to purge. This is a process, and it takes time. Stay tuned for my future posts on the funny thing I did to help break the habit of laying stuff on the counter, as well how we (almost) never run out of toilet paper anymore.
Also, for anyone whose kiddo has sensory issues, I won’t make you wait for my post on how I streamlined my kids’ clothes. This one change made life so much easier. If it can help another momma, I need to share it now. Son #2 was a nightmare to get dressed, until I bought him six different colored, TAGLESS t-shirts. Think Hanes or Fruit-of-the-Loom. Before, he would pull ALL of his clothes out of his dresser, say they were ALL too itchy and end up wearing a white undershirt, EVERY DAY. One day it hit me that I just needed to get him colored undershirts to wear. He now has six different colored plain t-shirts. They are not fancy, but it could be much worse. He could be wearing a stained white undershirt every day, or even worse, be shirtless in December.