17 January 2013

Cleaning and organising cupboards

I'm quite comfortable with chaos. I like order because it helps me be productive and efficient, but chaos is an old friend. Recently, Sarndra told me she'd clean out my Tupperware cupboard when she was here next time. The toll bell in my head rang immediately - I knew it was time to clean it out. I generally use some of the time over the Christmas holidays to get these organisational tasks done. If I can get to them all, it makes a big difference to the year that follows. When I go into the year knowing that, like a saint, I've cleaned and polished every nook and cranny, done all the ironing and every room can take a white glove inspection, well, I'm at peace and I work better during the following months.

I don't like doing it though and it doesn't always get done.

So I cleaned out the cupboard, threw out all manner of lids and containers I had no idea I had and just kept what I use. The cupboard is easy to see into now, I can easily and quickly reach what I need and I no longer dread going to the cupboard for a container or water bottle. On the contrary, now I stare at all my clean cupboards. And the oven, I cleaned that too, ditto the kitchen bench cleaned and rearranged and the laundry, spare room cleaned out and clothes cupboard decluttered. (I would understand if you left now. LOL)

This is what it looked like. No wonder Sarndra offered her help.

I dumped them all on the kitchen bench and examined them.

 Decided what I needed to keep and what was a lost orphan.

 Then cleaned the cupboard out and replaced it all.

All lids and bottoms are together. I don't have to search for them now.

All cheese making equipment together, plastic dishes for the grand-babies are together, water bottles together. I can even say: "it's in the corner cupboard" without embarrassment and know they'll find what they're looking for.

I'm not telling you this to be a complete pain. I just want to gently remind you, as we slowly move through January, there is still time to do these tasks before the real year begins. Even though they seem monumental before you start them, most of them are quick and easy and they make you feel SO good when you finish. That feeling lasts a long time too because as you work through the year you keep secretly patting yourself on the back for being such an efficient homemaker. Well, I do.  ; - )

How are you going with your annual organisational and cleaning tasks? Do you have one time in the year when you do these things, do you do something different, or nothing at all?


56 comments:

  1. Thanks for the gentle reminder! I've been putting off cleaning the oven!

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

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  2. Organizing the plastics are the hardest part of the kitchen I think. Every time I throw out those orphan pieces, a month later I find the mate. Figures doesn't it?

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  3. That is so true about the time jobs take - I spend more time thinking about the tasks that need doing than they actually take once I get started! This is the year of anti-procrastination - the oven WILL get cleaned before school starts.

    CC

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  4. Hahaha!
    *as she sits in a corner rocking to and fro*
    Summer holidays are the ONLY time in the year when I have a massive chunk of time to get things like this done. With a week and a half to go, this is the time when I start frantically racing around, trying to do everything that I SHOULD have got done in the weeks where I was at one with the couch, reading and taking nanna naps.
    Argh!

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  5. I've thrown out all our plastic containers due to the increased publicity regarding them containing toxins harmful to our and our childrens health. I use glass now.

    Do you still use yours for food storage?

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  6. Simple Living/Sourdough333January 17, 2013 5:58 am

    Hi Rhonda - I was just looking at my plastic boxes too, them seem to find homes everywhere, so that is on my list for the next week. I am also spurred on to have a good clean out by the fact that I have asked my husband if he can take a wall out in the kitchen and move our fridge sideways. This means that my pantry will sort of be on show as he has to take out the cavity sliding door to allow for the fridge. So the pantry has to be more neat and tidy going forward into 2013, so that was started at the beginning of this week! I am being ruthless. I am going to try and get some large Mason jars (or the like) and decant my baking ingredients into them. I am using your stockpiling method and am utilising a cupboard in our front room (tv room) and it is working perfectly. The children know where to go to find something and get things for me from there regularly. Such a brilliant addition to helping a household run better and save money and time too.

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    Replies
    1. I bet you'll feel better working in the kitchen after the work is complete and you've got your cupboards as you want them. Well done!

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    2. Simple Living/Sourdough333January 18, 2013 7:26 am

      Hi Rhonda - Thank you I will feel better absolutely. The current angle of the fridge is in the way of the walkway into the kitchen so it will be great to make this slight change. The cupboards will be so much better and I will be continuing the ruthless way - if I cannot find the matching lid or container..out it goes and I look forward to see my very neat pantry (that's the plan).

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  7. If MY daughter in law had told me my cupboard needs cleaning out I would tell her it's none of her business what my cupboards are like!

    I would also think what a cheeky madam she is!

    Do you go and inspect HER cupboards? Would you tell HER if you thought something was untidy? Why does she think it's acceptable to tell you?

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    1. I thought it was great. It showed me she really knows she's a part of our family. I don't think an offer of help is a personal attack. I know my DILs would never do anything to hurt me.

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    2. Rhonda,I am so glad you answered this. I am sure Sarndra was really looking forward to helping and it shows what a nice person she is. My daughter in law is nice too and far from being cheeky like Sarndra would only be thinking kind thoughts.

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    3. i think you must be a very welcoming and approachable MIL for her to feel comfortable saying something like this to you! i would never dream of saying anything like this to my MIL who neither welcoming nor approachable! i always keep my mouth shut and smile nicely and count down the minutes until i leave!

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    4. I agree Blossomvic, my first thought was what a lovely offer and could she please do my tupperware cupboard as well (aka the messiest cupboard - also doesn't help that the kids to a quick open and toss in if they think I'm not looking :) ).

      Rhonda you do need to tell your daughter in law that if she makes an offer to good to be refused that it should be shared amongst your followers - only fair. :)


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    5. My guess would be that Sandra and Rhonda are close enough and in sync enough to know which offers of help will be appreciated by each other?
      Sandra (who loves organising, if I remember rightly from her blog) probably thought two birds with one stone: one, help her m-i-l with emptying a low down and awkward cupboard and, two, satisfy her own organising addiction (which I share so I understand that buzz!)
      :-)
      If you're fortunate, you hopefully get back from you daughter-in-law what you put in.
      Karen
      (Scotland)

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  8. I enjoy big clean outs more than I do everyday cleaning. I love to organise and know that everything has had a deep clean. When we returned from holiday we cleaned out our daughters room and she moved in there for the first time. It's so lovely to take her in there and know that everything is clean. It's also incredibly aesthetically pleasing, which is important to me. I find it easier to do the big clean out after a holiday as it's usually been a couple of weeks of living without all the "stuff" so it's easier to let go of it. Or when I have PMS- then I'm ruthless and nothing stays unless absolutely necessary! :D

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  9. I cleaned out my tupperware cupboard about a week ago. Everytime I opened the cupboard something fell out and it was driving me crazy. I have got a whole heaps of things in my donate box and some things just got thrown out. It did make me feel very good that what was in the cupboard would be what I currently use so I know how you are feeling. I also said to myself that in 1 hour it would be sorted and it was. Totally worth it and if you put it in the context of time you can fit in an hour rather than thinking "I must get around to sorting out the cupboard" Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  10. Ah, the plastic container cupboard... Mine here has needed sorting for at least a year or two and was the plan for winter, however that's when I went to hospital and all such plans were put on hold. I still cannot kneel comfortably, at least for very long, so over Christmas one of my sons, back from uni, took it upon himself to clean up that and another cupboard. You should see it now - wow!

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  11. Hi Rhonda,
    thanks for showing the before picture,knowing yours get out of order too is comforting!
    I used to do a big clean of the house and cupboards in Spring,but with work and kids this is no longer the easiest time. I now do a big clean of the house in Autumn, as I know the fire will cause lots of dust and dirt to accumulate,and I want to begin with a clean slate. It's also a good time to go through clothing as the weather gets cooler.
    In Summer I do the most cleaning and sorting as I take time off work, and off course by the end of the school year plenty of clutter and grime has accumulated.
    Last year I went through closets and pared down to what is really useful and essential, and got on top of paper clutter. This meant the buildup of chaos and clutter was much smaller and easier to get on top of at year's end.

    Have a wonderful day,
    Madeleine

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  12. That was an impressing Tupperware berg. I guess I have only attended two or three T parties the last twenty years, so I don't have identical problems. On the other hand I do have to much porcelain and stoneware from flee-market sales. I admit having a problem. I've opened a Norwegian edition of Etsy shop and sell some of my "bargains" there. I also try to recycle what I cannot use. The local Sally Army shop, and plastic in the garbage bin meant for plastic only. We have to share our household garbage into four bins, one for food and green compost, one for paper, one for plastic and the last for rest garbage. We pay to deliver this way too, but it's definitely more environment friendly.
    even so I do have too much in my cupboards.
    I am painfully aware of that. especially since I have to remodel my kitchen, and getting enough space to my clutter has become quite an issue.
    I definitely need to downsize more.

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    1. I've never been to a tupperware party. It's actually not tupperware, it's a variety of brands. I think downsizing and decluttering is a constant for most of us. You never do it once and then it's done so it's good to have your systems for recycling and reusing set up to help you organise yourself.

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  13. I would love to go through and do a 'spring' clean of my home, but I tend to do one thing at a time. Its hard with children to just go for it and keep going till its done....I might do the tupperware cupboard one day, or the fridge one day, or the linen press....some days I dont do any of it!!!
    I do what I can manage and that's okay...I must say that tupperware cupboard brings back memories of growing up when our mum would say, can someone put that away in the tupperware cupboard and we would all look at each other and grimace...no one wanted to open that door at my mums....as soon as you opened it the slightest bit, the whole contents inside would come pouring out onto you and then you had to sit there and put it all back.......I think there may have been method in my mums madness....forced tidying by us children...

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  14. It's so reassuring to see that you have a cupboard that looks the way mine get on occasion!
    And an explanation to those in other countries - the New Year in Australia only really starts after Australia Day 26th January lol!

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  15. Hello Rhonda,

    You've made me feel so happy!
    I've always been a clutter type of person, not that I like it, but I can't keep everything in order all the time. I have been meaning to do just what you've done.It looks like mine, a carousal cupboard. But the real surprise is I thought everything about you was in complete order. Though I know you said life wasn't always like that.
    I shall do mine tomorrow!
    Best wishes,
    Angela (south England) UK

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    Replies
    1. Oh Angela, I am as flawed as the next person. There is not much that is ordered about me. If I do these things when I have the chance though, it does help me keep the rest in order during the year. Good luck tomorrow. :- )

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  16. Last year I got utterly disgusted at the condition of my plastic drawer and tossed out the lot. I replaced my containers with an inexpensive brand in several sizes that all use the same size lid. SO much easier! Everything stacks neatly and I never have to search for the right size lid. When the time came to clean out the drawer this year, I just pulled out the stacks, made sure I had the same number of lids and containers, wiped the drawer bottom and put it all back. Took 5 minutes. Priceless.

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  17. I wasn't doing very well, but we recently found a house on some land that we really like, and we are considering making an offer. So, with an eye toward having to pack up all our belongings and move them, I have been going through a cabinet here, a drawer there, a piece at a time (with a four-year-old and a new baby I rarely have my hands free long enough to do a huge clear-out all at once), tossing or donating what we no longer use or need and organizing the things that are staying. And with every item I ask myself, "would it be worth packing it up to move?" and if the answer is "not really" then it's got to go.

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    1. That's a great way to do it, Helena. I wish you the best with your potential move.

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  18. My daughter came up with a good working plan for our Tupperware back when she was still in school and it has been easy to maintain and live with but we have ours in one of those big kitchen drawers. We've all got them but I find those corner cupboards a real challenge.

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  19. For me it's the exact opposite! I want to wait until the real year begins. At this time of year I'm just trying to keep up with the kids mess and organising bags and uniforms for school. My last starts school this year so I envisage lots of quiet hours to re-organise (or hours in the garden ignoring the housework).

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  20. Snap! I'm preparing a blog post for tomorrow about this exact thing at the moment too :) I give my house a big clean, tidy and declutter during January because this is when I have holidays. It sets me up for an easier time ahead when I come home from work tired and I can find things when I need them and the house looks halfway decent. To me an uncluttered house = and uncluttered mind.

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  21. I nearly threw up when I saw the photos!! That looks exactly like my plastic cupboard, right down to the red water bottle, mincer and ice block makers! I quickly spun around to see if I could spot the hidden camera but I can't find them. Please tell me you don't have any more hidden in my house!

    As for offers of help from family members, I remember when I was first married, my MIL would offer to sweep the floor or do the ironing etc. I always took this as a sure sign that my floor was dirty or that she thought I couldn't iron (or something). Then I grew up and realized that offers of help in my home are a sign that the person offering also cares about my home and about me.

    Years later when MIL and I were talking about it, she was absolutely horrified that I thought she was being critical of me. She had only wanted to help me.

    Off to see if I can find those cameras.

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    Replies
    1. Diann, I know what you mean. I had four kids very quickly and, when I was pregnant, older female relatives kept offering to wash my floors. I got a bit paranoid but, luckily, I could feel the love and realised it was just them looking after me, not criticising or judging.

      A younger relative (through marriage to my cousin) just had twins and I laid it out straight to her. If she wants me to do something, tell me. If she DOESN"T want me to do something, tell me. If she's fed up with my company, tell me to leave. If she needs me to collect something from town, tell me. She's as blunt as me so I'm hoping plain speaking keeps us straight.
      :-)
      Karen
      (Scotland)

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  22. g'day
    my daughters have been helping me sort & clean cupboards lately & its been one cupboard at a time. i'm also trying to replace my plastic containers too though i don't mind keeping leftovers in the fridge in them as they only stay in for a couple of days. the plastics do need another tidy up though so i guess i could do that later. i think it's great that the young offer to help, when i go to my children's home i always sweep, do their washing or do the dishes they all work & they appreciate it as then they don't have alot of time to do it.
    hope you have wonderful day
    selina from kilkivan qld

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  23. It was my plan before the Christmas holidays to do a bit of tidying and sorting, and I did get some done - it is nice to start the new year off fresh.

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  24. Tupperware and products like that sure can be a pain keeping it together. My Aunt has a special drawer for lids.

    Coffee is on.

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  25. weve just cleaned and declutterd our kitchen, inside the cupboards just like you. It feels so good to just look into the cupboards and see tidy and organised! I also just stare in to the cupboards just to get that 'I've done it well' feeling! it DOES feel good!

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  26. I do on occasion find the inclination to do a thorough clean and sorting of my kitchen cupboards but within a month to two months at most they look exactly as they had before, if not worse. I think I will have to be brutal and just get rid of a lot of it, pare it down to essentials. I really like Barb_in_GA's idea of having containers with the same sized lids.

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  27. Did ours today, thanks to a mouse.......
    But, thinking that tomorrow I am going to switch my lower cabinets around. Took me 7 years almost to notice my baking pans and mixing bowls are on the kitchen east wall, but on my west side counter top is my mixing bowl and upper cabinet with the flour, sugar and such in it. I think it would make more sense to have my banking pans and mixing bowls underneath. A project for tomorrow....

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  28. yep. just a couple of shelves at a time, or one drawer at a time. slowly slowly. Afterall, decay happens slowly, why can't improvements? :)

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  29. Ehm.............. do you have time to come and help me??????????????????????????

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  30. Rhonda,I think Sarndra is going to be pleasantly surprised when she opens your plastics cupboard next time :)

    I have done my plastics cupboard, under the sink (the worst of all), all my drawers, fridges, oven, and still working on the pantry. Hubby emptied the pantry the other day to lay some flooring, so I took the chance to have a deep clean. Not much fun in the heat though. Was 47C here again today...the heat is not so bad, but the humidity is blah...It is 9.30pm and still 40C! It will be cooler tomorrow so I will get stuck in and finish the rest of the kitchen and pantry, then I can tick it off my list :)

    x

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  31. Not just me with a crazy plastics cupboard then?? My trouble is keeping it tidy afterwards, I start just throwing things in there again, instead of stacking, etc. I'm a lost cause Rhonda, truly. :)

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  32. I have the problem that I'm forever saving containers "just in case". Thing is, I seldom use them and now I have lots of clutter in the cupboards. Time for a sort out and off to the recycling center. Timely post, Rhonda. :-D

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  33. I absolutely understand about the peace of mind aspect. I ran around like a crazy lady cleaning out the kitchen cupboards(and most of the house come to think of it) before christmas. It just felt better to have it done so I could get into some more "fun" type of projects - guilt free. Tupperware cupboards (in my case a big drawer) are just the worst!
    Thank you Rhonda for your kind comment on the nearby fire. Things have been going well all week, and if we can get through the hot windy forecast tomorrow then all should be good.

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  34. I used to use an old shoe box to put all my container lids in. Now I have a smaller clear plastic tote (Rubbermaid) that I put all my lids in according to size. When I need a lid I slide out the box and can easily find it. No more lids slipping into the back of the cupboard or containers smelling 'funny' from having their lids on tight.

    Every month I have something that I clean or tidy up. This is in addition to my regular weekly cleaning.

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  35. We mainly have the Rubbermaid brand that stacks so nicely (including the lids!) I don't have to organize this shelf in my pantry so often!

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  36. I need to do this too. I know I have more containers than lids (from things like store bought yogurt, margarine, sherbet). That, and I noticed my silverware drawer was getting crumby. Maybe that'll be my project for tomorrow. :)
    Have a lovely day, Rhonda.
    - Kristin

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  37. Two tasks this week completed. Herbs and spices are kept in darkness in a drawer - when I'm looking for the one I want to use it always is the last jar to be examined. All have been taken out, drawer cleaned and labels put on the top of each lid, herbs at one end, spices the other. So simple, can find the one I want at a glance, didn't take that long and I'm behaving as if I had invented a revolutionary system every time I need them.

    Task two: checked out and restocked the store cupboards. Heavy snow is forecast for the next 36 hours which means that getting out of the secret valley could be problematic even with the 4x4. A comfort knowing that we not only have plenty of food but also lots of ingredients so that if we are housebound we can spend the time cooking.

    Task three begins tomorrow morning - digging snow, ferrying buckets of water to frozen troughs and making sure that the horses and chickens are warm and well fed. Not looking forward to that one so much!

    Johnson

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  38. Just cleared out my stock shelves, dry goods and tins drawers and feel so much better now I can see what we have and hopefully this will make meal planning and frugal shopping much easier now. Next task is the tupperware drawers - girding my loins for that on! :-)

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  39. This year for the first time, I have alloted a month each to organize/deep clean different areas of our home and yard. January is my kitchen month, and I am about halfway done with the organizing. My plastics cupboard is next--I've put it off because there never seems to be a good way to "organize" it, and it's a lower cupboard that's hard to get to. We have the stacking Rubbermaid containers, but I would eventually like to replace them all with glass Pyrex containers with lids (refridgerator dishes). On a positive note, I have been to the dollar store twice for storage containers for the kitchen, and need to go again. It has definitely made a difference for me to have a thought-out organizing plan.
    Heather in CA

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  40. Oh my gosh, your tupperware cupboard looks the same as my 'plastics' cupboard, even to the exact layout of it!

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  41. What a timely post (for me!). I have just packed my 3 yr old off to the grandparents for the day so that I can reorganize my drawers and pantry. I'm thinking coffee and music will help get me through!
    Dot in Perth

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  42. Following on from another blog I follow I have decided that this year I will "Simplify It" - so far "It" has involved embarking on a challenge to rehome 365 unwanted, unused or unloved things from our home in the space of the year - alarmingly I've only done the spare room so far as I'm already half way through my 365!

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  43. Hi Rhonda! I love storage containers! Haha!! and I always enjoy sorting out my food cupboard! I always feel so much better once I've done it.

    BTW I've nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and the Versatile Blogger Award. I really enjoy reading your blog and it's a great way of sharing some "blog love". Get more info and the rules at http://houseofnicnax.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/blogger-awards.html

    Thanks Rhonda

    nicole xx

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