This post started out as an ultimate first world problem rant. I had had a particularly stressful day in the kitchen, and decided that in Brett and my nearly 46 years together, and having lived with with 18 different kitchens (not counting the kitchens we used when we were traveling full time), this one was the WORST. Ever.
As Brett said that day, sometimes it feels like the only thing our kitchen is useful for is making a cocktail. Cooking a meal or baking? Storing food or cookware? Not so much.
Is it the worst ever though? Not by a long shot – I shudder when I think of some of the kitchens we’ve lived with, that were no where near as nice as the one we have now. But my frustrations that day had me pouring over The Container Store’s website, ready to spend hundreds on kitchen organizers.
As I examined products and took measurements, the search for the best solution became more and more complicated and as it became more complicated, I became more frustrated. I kept trying to remind myself that our guideline for the year was simple, and all the effort I was putting into this was anything but.
What was missing from our kitchen, I eventually realized, was a lack of imagination and organization, two things I’m normally pretty good at. I’d lived with things the way they were in the kitchen since we had unpacked five months ago, but had never thought to question since then if that was the best or most efficient way to set things up.
I shut down the Container Store website, put away the measuring tape, and sat quietly for a while to think about what we had, and if there was a better way to do things. Eventually a picture began to take shape, and I figured out that although there were a couple of things that could not be moved, most everything else we had could be rearranged to make a more efficient use of the space. I moved around what I had stored in the drawers so everything fit better. Items that we’d always kept on our counter in other kitchens but didn’t fit here were moved to locations where they did fit. Cabinets were rearranged, and a couple of items passed along to our daughter-in-law. She’ll use them more and I can borrow them for the (very) few times I might need them. With these few changes the kitchen almost immediately became a more pleasant place to work, although I think I’m going to need another week or so to remember which drawer things are in now.
The pantry remains a work in progress. It’s still chaotic, but that’s because I had been cramming w-a-y too much stuff in there. Since our arrival in Tennessee, I had been shopping and stockpiling as I did in the past, but have admitted to myself we have no need nor the space to do that now. Different place and different times, so a different way is needed. We’ve spent the last week or so using up items versus accumulating more, and I now know everything that’s in the pantry and where it is. I’m still aiming though for a sweet spot of “just right” when it comes to how much works in the pantry space versus having too much.
I did find one storage/organization item that we are going to purchase: a bread box. It is needed, and both Brett and I love the above one’s look, style, and color. There’s a place for it in the kitchen now and it’s something that will go into one of our suitcases when we move to our next location. But otherwise nothing was purchased. We don’t need more stuff.
Simple, after all, turned out to be the best solution.