It’s February and the challenge has been issued.   Month 3 of the clean up your messy house tour is Kitchen and Dining room.

I’m so ready for this one!  Would you believe that this weekend before I knew this was the room we would work on this month, I cleaned the kitchen for hours!  HOURS (3)- it started innocently enough with the fridge but you know what happens.  The more you clean the more you find that needs cleaning.

Anyway.  It’s Kitchen and Dining Room month.   I need this in my pantry the worst.  I am dreading it a bit but looking forward to having a space that is more organized so I am willing to get in there.  Albeit a little scared.   The dining room is going to be easy.   It’s a room in our house we don’t use (why?  Why are homes built with rooms we don’t need- I’d rather it were an extra bedroom- whatever.)  I will go through the hutch and see if there is anything lurking in there.  Two of the drawers are full of who knows what- swizzle sticks with Monkeys on them, candles, uh I really don’t know. That room will take no time at all so I will do it today.  The kitchen will get started with next week.

Okay, enough from me.  Here are this months instructions.  My comments will follow each item, if I have any.

Quick Tips for Your Kitchen
Keep flat surfaces clear.
Consider flat surfaces your preparation area—not your storage area! This will keep them clean and accessible.   Easy, I don’t much on the counters anyway.

Work around the “magic triangle.” Establish a “magic triangle” in your kitchen between the stove, your refrigerator and your sink. Anything you use most often, keep it in the triangle. Anything you use less often, outside the triangle.    Please-I wish my kitchen were big enough that this wasn’t automatic- no work here.

Try the cardboard box test. See what utensils you’re really using. Take all the utensils out of your drawers and put them in a cardboard box. For the next month, whenever you use one of these utensils, put it back in the drawer. If after four weeks it’s still in the box, you don’t need it. – I don’t like this one- its a good rule but I have a full drawer of utensils that I don’t use all the time but I’m not getting rid of them.  I will weed out any duplicates- but that’s it. 

Claim your cupboards. Make use of what you have. Use a lazy Susan, mini step shelves, even back-of-the-door shelving systems to hold extra items.   Cool!  WILL DO!

Check food expiration dates. Every six months, check the contents of your cupboards. Every three months, discard old food or perishables. Also, check your freezer to ensure you aren’t keeping food beyond its use-by date.  HAHA!  We don’t keep food in this house.  There is nothing to toss, we eat everything I buy.  If you came to our house 2 days after food shopping you’d think we were on vacation.

Never have a junk drawer.  WHAT! Wait,,,,, Okay, I will purge but where am I going to keep the pens, calculator and other ummm,,, junk?  Do not say on the counters!  See #1.

Establish a pantry with a purpose. Pantries are harder to manage than refrigerators. Why? Our pantries are usually chock full of foods we buy because they look good, because they seem like good foods to have on hand or because they’re on sale. They’re sort of like clothes closets—full of impulse purchases and sales mistakes. Get the golden rules of pantry organization.   Oy- here it is.  My problem is my baking supplies, cook books and recipe clippings (umm, hundreds of them) and then just using it for storage of random stuff.  Vases, small kitchen appliances, about 14 candles, and other crap.  This is where the bulk of the work this month will take place. Wish me luck!

Identify clutter foods. Like the boxes full of who-knows-what filling your basement or garage, clutter foods are foods you think you should have in your house but don’t really eat. Zero in on the main culprits.-NA.  Clutter Foods!   HA- this is funny to me.  Do you have this?  I cant imagine having food in the house we don’t eat. 

Quick Tips for Your Dining Room
Consider the dining room table sacred.
Do not use this large, inviting surface as a catch-all.  The only thing that gathers at this table is dust.

Establish the zones. Keep the area free from clutter and also off-bounds to the television and other distractions that stop you from interacting fully with one another. All you need is a clear table and storage space for dishes, formal china and entertaining supplies.

Keep what you use close at hand. Take all the plates and dishes you own and spread them on the table. Do you need and use all of them? Gather matching flatware and glasses together. Discard any that you no longer like or use, as well as any that are chipped or damaged. Place the items you use most within reach. Store large serving platters or anything you use least often on the lowest or highest shelves toward the rear of the cupboard.  Already done.

Linens and napkins. If possible, keep all your table linens, tablecloths and napkins in your dining room. Assign a drawer or shelf for linen sets so that anyone setting the table or putting things away can see where things belong.    Also, already done.


So that’s it.  A little to do today- A LOT to do next week.  I’m so ready.   Is anyone doing this?  I get a lot of traffic on these posts every month but no one has said they are playing along at home.


5 thoughts on “CUYMH: 3

  1. Okay, I am with you on utensils. I have a garlic press for when I need to press garlic – which is like once a year – but I am not getting rid of it. Same does for the baster, biscuit cutters, and rolling pin. I mean, they are essential when I actually cook or bake – so I can’t get rid of them!

  2. I have lots of utensils as well that I won’t get rid of. I just went and bought a small-ish plastic bin and keep them all in it on a bottom shelf so they don’t take up drawer space and I know where they are when I do decide I need them.

    We too, eat everthing I buy and very rarely have to throw anything out.

  3. i’m not technically doing this with you, but i enjoy reading your “plans” each month! i’ve actually been thinking it’s time to clean out the kitchen & see what’s lurking in the cupboards that i’ve forgotten i even own.

    i have a tiny kitchen (live in a one-bedroom apartment), so space is at a premium, but i’m a HUGE offender of the Flat Surface rule – i’m one of those people that comes in the door at the end of the day, sets the mail on the kitchen counter, and then leaves it there for a week. *sigh*

    i like the idea of weeding out the kitchen utensils, but i think i’d have to do it more like marmagoo: put those things i rarely use in a different location so they don’t take up the valuable drawer/counter space for everyday cooking. i worked in a kitchen gadget store a few years ago, so i have lots of stuff that i don’t use often, but it’s fun and handy to have when the occasion calls for it!

    also, i don’t know the layout of your house or anything (obvs), or what works for your family, but at the risk of believing that you really want my advice, i think you should use your dining room every once in awhile – not just at “special occasions”. maybe once a week? i have great memories of dinner time with my family growing up, all of us around the table – and with no tv in sight. of course, there were plenty of nights when my sister and i sat there sulking because mom was serving lima beans (again!), or crying over spilt milk (literally), but mostly i remember laughing and talking. i ALWAYS eat in front of the tv now, as i don’t really care to discuss my day with myself while i eat, but if i had kids, we’d definitely be setting the table at least a few times a week.

    anyway, just my rambling and unsolicited two cents worth…i always hate to hear or see that people don’t use their dining rooms for whatever reason. if nothing else, remember that you’re already paying for the square footage 🙂

  4. I’ll post pictures after the weekend, but I re-organized the kitchen this month. I take little bits of what you are doing and apply them to my house.

    Most of our house is still under construction so I have to tailor it to organize what can actually be organized. 🙂

    I love reading your posts — they insipre me to work on my own house!


  5. I just found you… but I’m SO playing along on this! What a great and timely idea!

    We moved into our house in 2007. Our kitchen has roughly 30 cabinets/drawers. I had NO idea what to do with all that space, and it’s still not well-organized. I’m taking this as a personal challenge!

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