Friday, September 26, 2008

Organizing In The Kitchen

Finding room in my kitchen is always a challenge. Adjoining our kitchen is a small dining room, which at one time used to be my sewing and craft area, but alas, priorities have taken over! Now it stores some of my craft items, but also contains the portable dishwasher, an upright freezer, grain storage buckets, some of my sewing and knitting stash and adjacent to my refrigerator, a 6 foot tall bookcase.

My friend Susan from church has challenged me to find ways to organize from a sitting position while I recover from my knee injury. So, today I took a comfortable folding camp chair and sat down in front of the book case and sorted things out.

First of all I weeded through my many cookbooks. I love cookbooks and have a hard time saying no to them! :o) The top short shelf is used to store all my smaller cookbooks like the Sue Gregg series and then I placed ones I am more likely to use at eye level and worked my way down, grouping things in like categories. Amazingly I even pulled a few out that I won't use anymore and many are relegated to the bottom shelf. I am pleased to announce that the few baking and sweets books that I kept are down there on the bottom!

Another problem in the kitchen was spice storage. Not only is my kitchen small but the space is poorly planned. By the way, did you know that the most common places that people store their spices - in over the stove cupboards or in custom drawers next to their stoves or ovens - are the worst places to keep them? Yes, the heat diminishes their potency and can make certain items go rancid. It's a good idea to go through your spices and sort through them. If it is long past a sell by date (because they usually give several years for spices and herbs) or it doesn't have a date and you don't recall buying it or worse yet, it looks "vintage", it's probably a good idea to toss it.

Over the last year we have been replacing the herbs and spices with organic counterparts. I have been purchasing the Simply Organic brand and plan to later refill with bulk spices. That brand has nice jars! :o) They are sorted by type - Italian, Mexican, General, Baking etc. I have also read that they should not be exposed to light. Do you think that I should tack a little calico curtain across their to protect them?

On the shelf next to the herbs and spices, is room for my recipe box, an old recipe box of my Grandma Hopkins' and my Kitchen notebook which I am working on filling. Grandma always used to say "Cleaning Is Creating Beauty" and today it felt good to get a little organizing done and to me, it is a beautiful little corner in my home!


Susan said...

It looks awesome, Theresa.

I need to go through my cookbooks. I used to love going through them to figure out what new recipes to try. Now I hardly ever look or evn cook. Although this past week I made and froze meatloaf, burritoes, taco meat and chicken for sweet and sour, torilla soup and chicken salad.

Thanks for sharing your journey.

Marci said...

It is looking good. I just recently went through my cookbooks and got rid of several. I need to get rid of more. =)