The junk drawer that has bothered me the most is this one - my kitchen tools drawer. I know there are many items in this drawer I don't use or only use once a year. So I decided to challenge myself with the stuff in this drawer. First, I took everything out of the drawer and cleaned it out. Then I only put the utensils I know I've used since we moved in back into the drawer. The rest of the items went into a box and then into the pantry. If I need to grab an item from the box at least once in the next six months I will put it in the drawer. At the end of six months what's left in the box will be donated.
This is the drawer all cleaned out. I have a can opener, whisk, bottle openers, misc. measuring spoons, salad tongs, ice cream scoop, peeler, thermometer and a bag of bar utensils. Looks much better now, huh?
I moved onto my spice drawer next. Every jar came out of the drawer. Some of the spices had expiration dates on them. If they had expired, out they went. If I know I haven't used them since I moved in five months ago, out they went. Everything else went back in. Would you believe I only found one duplicate spice? Ground coriander! I have no clue how that happened.
I decided to tackle one more cabinet. I think everyone has a cabinet like this. I know my mom did. This one sits right next to the stove and holds a little bit of everything: salt, pepper, cooking oils, bouillon cubes, tea bags, drink pouches. A little bit of everything and not always what you need. Again everything came out of the cabinet. Expiration dates were evaluated and items were put with like items or left in the cabinet if I use them a lot.
Here's the cleaned out cabinet. What made the cut? Salt and pepper, olive oil (when I get more), peanut butter (the toaster is right under the cabinet) and freezer and sandwich bags. On the top shelf is a bag of peppercorns and a box of Sweet 'n Low for when my mom visits.
Here's the reorganized spice drawer. It look so much better, too. Now there should be no reason for me to buy duplicate spices or have to hunt for them. They are all right here.
Of course I took the time to attempt to fill the pantry. This is what it looks like right now. On the floor are my grocery bags and step stool. Shelf 1 has drinks, large cereal boxes and the tool box. Shelf 2 is my cooking and baking shelf: flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, etc. Shelf 3 is for snacks, pastas, canned items and sauces. It still looks somewhat empty, but I haven't gone through my pots, pans and large cooking items yet.
Oh yeah, and while I was doing all this cleaning and organizing I made Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti. I figured I'd bake some instead of buying some. I already tasted one and they turned out yummy!
So, here are the rules for the Need This Challenge:
- Send me an email telling me you are going to enter the Challenge. If you have a blog address, please include that as well. I will create a Need This Challenge list on my sidebar.
- Choose at least one drawer, cabinet or closet you would like to get organized.
- Take a before photo of that place.
- Take everything out of it. If it's food, check the expiration dates, toss anything that is expired. If you know you don't need or want it, toss it out. If you know you use it all the time put it back. If in doubt, put it another box.
- On Mondays I will note in my entry if I have used any items in the box. Everyone in the Challenge will be asked to comment on whether or not they used anything in their Challenge box.
- As we go along you may decide to add another drawer, cabinet or closet to organize. That's fine.
- The Challenge will start today and will run until December 31, 2008 or we run out of places to organize (like that will ever happen!)
- At the end of the Challenge (or if you finish before then) post a photo of the cleaned out space.
- Every six weeks or so I will hold a drawing for a prize package.