Kitchen and Bathroom Organization

In our effort to touch every single item in our house (see our success with our clothing and our books!), we tackled the bathrooms and kitchen this past week. We anticipated these projects being quite simple since we open up all the cabinets in both the kitchen and bathrooms daily. But these projects were beasts! Every hidden corner had hairbands and bag clips! It would have been so easy to just open all the cabinets, say “yup, we’re good” and close them up again. I’m not backing down on my goal to touch every single thing, so I pulled everything out of every cabinet and wiped everything down! (It feels great to know my clean silverware is no longer sitting in a layer of year-old crumbs.) Mr. T and I actually touched and discussed every dish.

A lot more things left the kitchen than I had anticipated. Here are a few:

Our souvenir from the Great Recession. Bought it cheap and completely refinished it.

Our souvenir from the Great Recession. Bought it cheap and completely refinished it.

  • The ugly olive platter we got for our wedding. We kept it for ten years because it was engraved with our names. Realization: An ugly plate with our names is still an ugly plate. Trash!
  • 8 empty baby food jars. We rarely bought baby food and those jars are so tiny, I felt obligated to keep them. Scarcity principle. Realization: If I need tiny jars, I can buy baby food. The cheapest jar is less than $1 and I haven’t yet found a use for the ones I’ve kept for years. Recycle!
  • A million place mats. I love a good place setting, but after Mr. T completely refinished our antique dining set that we LOVE, we haven’t used any place mats. They don’t work right. Donated!

Clearing up space made room for things I really love. Mr. T went all

Classic painted ceramics from date night.

Classic painted ceramics from date night.

sentimental on me for a couple of ceramic bowls we made on a date one time at some dumb paint-your-own ceramics place. They were in the back of a cabinet. “You love these? Let’s move them where we can use them!” Then there’s my entire set of china I bought at the Wedgwood seconds factory in England and carried home on the plane in a reusable Marks and Spencer’s grocery bag with a shoulder strap I attached (that stuff was heavy)! I LOVE that stuff. But it was on the top shelf. It got moved on down!

Spices. Oh the spices. Did you know that we had three open oregano jars? We also had two open poultry seasonings, two open almond extracts, and a store brand garlic powder as well as a Costco-sized garlic powder! We consolidated (Florin upon entering the kitchen covered in all sorts of powders: “Why is the kitchen so… Spicy?!”). We made them all visible and accessible. It’s wonderful.

Oh and I also discovered huge amounts of hidden candy. *Ahem.* Moving on.

The bathrooms were not easy either. There was no rhyme or reason to the medicine cabinet (that holds no medicine) or the drawers (that had all sorts of medicines) or under the sink (which also had medicine and towels and shampoos). True to promise, I touched every single thing in that bathroom. I put all the toothbrushes in a gallon ziplock bag, all the toothpastes in another (Yay for free samples from the dentist!). Cough drops were all over the place. One here. Another there. 5 bags with only a couple in them each. Sheesh! And Band-Aids were the same way. We always need band-aids (because despite telling my children that they are not, in fact, magic, they continue to insist every owie needs a band-aid). Now they are in one place and easy for everyone to access (maybe too easy for Lui who has already dumped them out twice).

We also had medicine in about 6 different places in our house. Now they are in one big drawer in the bathroom so we can see them all by opening the drawer!

How many towels do you own? We had about 35. That’s seven per person! Now we have 14 (including beach towels). That created so much space! Also, fold your towels in thirds. It’s a cleaner look and it takes up way less space.

I donated one full load this weekend and feel significantly lighter. (Look! I found a TV last minute in the closet I threw in as well! A tube TV with a DVD player I got for high school graduation… those were a big deal back then!)

Donation

I’m not sure if this update was interesting. I hope you’re either patting yourself on the back for being so much better than me (you actually threw away that ugly engraved platter YEARS ago – good for you!) or that you are inspired to take a good hard look at the items you see every single day (the broken sippie cup that frequently falls out of the cabinet – why did I keep that!?). Are there things you look at every single day in your house that have no purpose and bring no joy?

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28 Comments

  1. A spicy kitchen! Ha! I almost bought paprika this weekend until I remembered I had a Costco size tub of it. Crisis averted!
    I think it’s great that you’re touching everything in your house. We keep so much we don’t need or want. It takes extreme measures to cut through the BS.
    I haven’t been purging much lately, but I have been trying to use up what I can. I’ve also been triple checking my house and my family before I buy. Hubs asked for a new water bottle over the weekend. No, no dear Hubs. Let me find you one.

    • MaggieBanks

      Ha ha ha! Way to find a water bottle and avoid purchasing extra spices! I am loving this process, but hating that it’s taking so dang long! The rest of the house is in shambles as I continue to touch every single item everywhere. It’s helping me learn to be at peace amidst chaos. πŸ™‚

  2. Oh the spice dilemma!! My fiancΓ© loves cooking with spices & our collection seems to accumulate quite often. We do not have room for a spice rack in our apartment, so finding a way to organize them drives me crazy lol! The bathroom is a key place that I continuously try to owe to a minimum. I used to be pretty bad with hoarding toiletries….(maybe still working on the hotel/travel ones) but I’m learning I end up rarely ever using them! I definitely need to go through those soon to bring joy to my bathroom.

    • MaggieBanks

      I decided to stop buying shampoo and soap and we’re exclusively using our travel collection. It started as an experiment. If we hate one, we throw it out. But it’s been super fun re-living our vacations through the shampoo. I’m currently in DisneyWorld on the soap and our honeymoon (!) on the shampoo. I think it’s fun!

      • Oh my gosh! That’s actually a fantastic idea, to relive your vacations. πŸ™‚ Are you by chance using the Disneyworld H2O line that are bright blue or green?! Those were some of my favorites!

        • MaggieBanks

          Ha ha ha. No, the one I’m using is the newer stuff. But… drumroll please… the green H2O line is currently in the other shower! Nailed it!

      • My husband traveled for work and accumulated soaps. I decided I would use them all before buying any more body soap for myself. After getting rid of ones that I don’t like and adding a few more due to additional trips, but only taking the soaps that were special, I am finally nearing the end of the huge container – 11 years later! And yes, I do bathe on a regular basis.
        There is no telling how much we’ve saved not buying bath soap for me, but now I have to find soap I like.

        • MaggieBanks

          It sounds to me like it’s time to go on another vacation. πŸ™‚ That’s fabulous!

  3. physicianonfire

    I love the Heywood Wakefield wishbone table. Great stuff. Many of our home furnishings are mid century modern pieces. Well built and easy on the eyes.

    Thanks for the post. We plan on organizing the bathroom tonight. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but it’s overdue.

    Been to Alaska once for our honeymoon, and plan on going back in a couple years for our 10th anniversary. Loved it up there. Enjoy it!

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m glad you recognized the table! We have the dogbone chairs as well. It’s the greatest set ever! (Folds down to fit two people, folds out to fit 12!) I’m glad to hear you love Alaska as well. We certainly enjoy it!

  4. Yep, we have a similar issue with things we hardly ever use.
    We received a Wedgwood set and accessories for our wedding but we don’t save it for ‘best’ (as my grandma would say) but use it everyday. Most have chips but I still love them, a little bit of luxury underneath my spag bol puts a smile on my face.

    • MaggieBanks

      I love my Wedgwood – it’s technically not “fine china” but it’s fancy and I love it – I got the whole set (6 dinner, 6 salad, 6 bowls and 1 big serving bowl) for $50!

  5. Yes! I know there are things we look at that we can get rid of it. We thought we needed all of this stuff when we moved and now I’m questioning our choices. We eliminated some books, but that’s just the start!

  6. It makes me so happy to know that you moved your china down where you’ll actually use it! I’m pretty sure that mine is still in a box in the garage since our last move. I do love it, but it might be a casualty when we attack our clutter one of these days, mainly because it has platinum on it, so can’t go in the dishwasher… and I’m far too lazy to wash dishes by hand. πŸ™‚

    • MaggieBanks

      Our fine wedding china is still in a box in my in-law’s garage. We never figured out how to move it up to Alaska safely… and so, it has sat, in it’s boxed, unused. Oh well. πŸ™‚

  7. Actually a good idea to start cleaning up the house. It is in the back of my mind for quite sometime. Maybe I can set a short term small goal: clean up my drawer filled with unused space. Curious what I can find and get rid off.

    • MaggieBanks

      I found that when I did one drawer at a time, I would just put the junk somewhere else. That’s why I’m setting out to do the entire house. When I pull stuff out that shouldn’t go there, but I don’t know what to do with it, it goes into a big pile in my living room that will remain until the whole house is done. Then we’ll go through the pile. If it had a place that makes sense, we’ll put it there. If it doesn’t, it’s gone. But every step helps. πŸ™‚

      • thet is a good point: the stuff should either go back in the drawer or be put away, except it it is an item that has clearly another natural place.
        I used to be guilty in moving items from one pile to another…

  8. Tawcan

    Yea it’s sometimes hard to organize those spices. We can definitely do some organization in our kitchen. We seemed to have accumulated a bunch of things in the last year or so. Now off to convince Mrs. T that we need a “kitchen cleanup.”

    • MaggieBanks

      We really thought the kitchen would be easy other than the spices… but there was way more to re-think when we got serious about it. But now my spices (and the rest of it) feel great!

  9. Kim from Philadelphia

    Maggie, I just love decluttering updates! Isn’t it amazing when you find duplicates and triplicates of items you didn’t even know you had? I have a bizarre love of “consolidating” same items into a single container ( like multiple jars of the same spice.

    I did a major, room-by-room purge this Spring. Life changing, I tell ya!

    I’m sure your med drawer is up high.
    We keep a small basket of ours on the highest shelf in our kitchen; just easier because that’s where I am when I figure out I need something.

    • MaggieBanks

      I’m glad you’re actually enjoying these Kim. When I sit down to write them, I think “does anyone actually care that we got rid of crap?” We’re still making our way through the house and it’s frustrating me that it’s taking us so long! But I look forward to the way it will all be at the end of it!

  10. Kim from Philadelphia

    I found a local homeless shelter that took most of our sample size toiletries.
    Now I just decided to only take home something I open, just so it doesn’t get wasted.

    • MaggieBanks

      That’s a great idea. I’ve been re-living my vacations in the shower and it’s actually super fun using them one by one!

  11. Not yet, we don’t πŸ™‚ But that’s probably because we try to throw out everything we don’t have a use for, even though that’s really difficult because I’m a bit of a hoarder! I love that dining table, by the way. It doesn’t look old, in fact, it looks pretty trendy! Nice purchase.

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks. We LOVE our dining set. It’s really the only piece of furniture we’re attached to, but we bought it cheap in poor condition and spent hours of our lives refinishing it.

  12. Oh my goodness I cannot WAIT to start my cleaning binge. It’s so nice to see how much stuff you’re getting rid of and how much joy it’s bringing you and your family! It makes me want to start the whole process even more πŸ™‚

    One of the rooms I’m dreading to tidy (but also very much looking forward to) is our bathroom. With all the random bobby pins, hair clips, lotions, extra toothpastes, and travel-sized nonsense that that room has, it probably brings me the LEAST joy of any room in our house. And we use it EVERY DAY! This cannot stand. My plan is to finish Marie Kondo’s book and then just tidy the crap out of my house – starting with that bathroom.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh yes! The bag clips and the hairbands were everywhere as I mentioned! And I’m actually using all of my travel soaps and shampoos now. I’m really enjoying reliving all of my vacations. And I feel no guilt if I open one up, hate it, and throw it away.

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