Week 2 of the 2016 Organizing Challenge: In the Kitchen, part 2

It’s Week 2 of the 2016 Clever Girl Organizing Challenge!  If you haven’t read the intro yet, you can glance at it here.  Weeks 1, 2 and 3, we’re in the hub of your home:  The Kitchen, because it’s the perfect place to start the new year with a clean slate in your home! 


16 challenge

Week 2:  Kitchen Cabinets —

the ones for cooking and serving the food. 


Level 1 Challenge: Reduce your gadgets, utensils, tools and small appliances.   I’ll admit I love a good kitchen gadget!  But there are plenty we all have that just don’t serve us any more. It’s about asking yourself how many spatulas you really need, whether or not you need that many measuring cups, or if 3 soup ladles is a lot in home that doesn’t make soup or sauce…   or if you really every used those special pizza-cutting-knives that someone thought would be perfect for you. 

How to tackle this one: Starting with the utensils, tools and gadgets, you’ll want to take out everything and sort them out by category. Really take a look at what you have — what kinds, how many, what condition are they in, etc. Go through to determine which ones you really will use, how much of each category you need, rank items within the well-populated categories (you know there are a few things you just don’t use, because you like the other ones in that category much better). Let go of those that aren’t often used, and you don’t imagine they will be in the foreseeable (like, really foreseeable) future.  If these items are in good shape, donate them. 

This can include everything from specialty appliances — the cuisinart you haven’t used in 5 years ago, the waffle maker you never use, the George Foreman grill that seemed like a great idea at the time, the back-up toaster (in case you have a toast emergency) to thinking about the things you WILL keep, and whether you’re keeping them in places that are prime real estate, when they don’t get used often enough to warrant it.  

How to tackle this one: Go through your cabinets or wherever you keep these kinds of items, and gather them all, so you can review your collection as a whole. Consider each of your items, and think critically about when you last used it, why you’re keeping it, when you’ll likely use it again, and how you might use the space it took up better if they weren’t there any more…  For the items you’re letting go, some may have value worth selling, some may not.  If items are in need of repair, consider recycling them responsibly.

Level 2 Challenge:  Pots, pans and dishes.   We’ll take each category (pots and pans, and then dishes) separately, because the decision-making is completely different. 

How to tackle this one:  Pots and pans — I want you to take them all out, and see what you have. This may be more a straightening exercise than a discarding one, but you’ll still do a thorough review. You might go through your baking separately from your stovetop cooking, too. Think about what you use, what you don’t, or at least haven’t in years.  Also, take a good look at them. Is your non-stick pan flaking?  That’s not a good thing. In all, think about paring down to your most use supplies, and if you have things you use all the time but they should really be replaced, give some thought to that. 

As for dishes:  This one is about thinking critically about what you really use, and how much you need to have on hand in your cabinets.  If you are a family of 3 and you have 15 dinner plates, that’s probably more than you need, and they could be taking up some valuable space.  I often find people have a ton more bowls than they can ever use, as another example. Some homes, you’ll find that you still have the “little kids” plates around, even though your kids are now on regular plates, but you just haven’t done anything with the plastic ones. Go through all your dishes and find the ones that are mismatched, or, if they do match but you just have too much in your cabinet, consider storing some somewhere else (the “in case they break” stash). 

NOTE:  We are NOT doing beverage/glasses this week.  That’s going to be revisited in a few more weeks. 

How The Challenge Works:
As With Every Week, Your mission:

1) Take on Level 1, and if you’re feeling up to the challenge, Level 2. If you’ve already got those covered, identify a challenge for yourself that you know you should be tackling.

2) Whenever possible, take BEFORE and AFTER pictures. You don’t have to share them with anyone but yourself, but it is a fantastic way to (a) identify clutter that’s become invisible to you over time and (b) truly measure and appreciate your progress. 

3) We’re all about letting things go…  be critical about what you’re keeping and why you’re keeping it.  Always ask yourself these critical questions to help decide if you should hold onto items: 

  • Is using this item part of my current life or likely future?
  • If I didn’t have this item and needed it for some reason, is it easily replaced or borrowed?
  • Can someone else use this more than I seem to be using it now? 
  • Am I keeping it for a “maybe some day” or a “just in case” option? How likely is that situation? And am I keeping more in that category than I should, given the space constraints I have?
  • Is it part of my past, and holding onto it reminds me of a former self? And am I keeping more in that category than I should, given the space constraints I have?

4) Stay FOCUSED on this task.  Know what FINISHED looks like, and don’t get distracted by other projects or areas of attention that cross your path while you’re on this assignment.  

5) Have a plan on where things will go — give away to someone you know, donate, sell, recycle or trash.  This Challenge isn’t just about creating new piles that don’t have a future!

6) Work in manageable chunks of time and energy. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! 

7) 8) Celebrate and reward yourself for a job well done!




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