As I have mentioned previously I am working thorough the book “One year to an Organized Life” by Regina Leeds. Month 1 is all about the kitchen and your emotions. One of the things I really love about this book is that it addresses the emotions of mess. The book doesn’t start off where you would think a book about organization should. No, you are not dividing items into keep, donate and get rid of piles. You are not holding an object to your chest and sending organizational vibes out to the universe to set it free. It starts you off with a journaling notebook. Yes, a plain loose leaf notebook. This is now your organizational journal.
As I have mentioned in prior posts, before anything in moved or organized the first step was to establish a new habit to prevent the mess from returning. To start off I decided to select the habit of loading and unloading the dishwasher everyday.
Our sink is small and our dishes are always overflowing. Adding this habit to my daily routine helped me more then I ever thought. Now we are never scrambling to find the kids water bottles. Emotionally, it has helped me find more clarity and inspiration in the kitchen. I am cooking more often. The faucet is now easily accessible instead of crowded by dishes. This has helped me up my water intake. Who knew? Having a sink free of dishes has also prompted me to want to keep the counters free from clutter. It is true that one small change can have a big impact.
The kitchen organization month starts off with some emotional exploration into your organizational journal. Here you dig deep to discover your organizational history. Are there habits you learned in childhood? Is there an emotional connection to your chronic disorganization and lateness. What are your feelings regarding time management? What goals and changes do you want to make? There is a lot more emotion to tap into then I ever expected when I initially picked up this book I really appreciate the authors perspective in this area. It is a totally different approach then anything I have seen before. One area that was really impactful for me was the discussion of saying “No.” I will expand on my feelings regarding this in an upcoming post.
The 2nd week goes into how to reorganize your time and invest in a calendar. I went into this area in my post “Planning for Days.” In week 3, we actually get into the cleaning and organizing. Here we are introduced to something called the speed elimination. I had technically done this right after New Years so I was in pretty good shape heading into week 4. Here is how I broke down the rest of the month.
Step 1 – Pare down – Since I am a hobby cake decorator, I had cake decorating supplies coming out of every possible space in my kitchen. I could not open a drawer or cabinet without a cascade of pans, fillings and sprinkles falling out. If I was going to make my kitchen usable for my family this would not do. So I had to pare down. I went thought all of my baking supplies to get ride of everything I did not use on a regular basis. I also designated an entire cabinet for cake decorating supplies only. This was magical!. Suddenly I had space. I discovered I somehow had acquired three rolling pins and a large piece of PVC pipe. No wonder I had no space.
Step 2- Clean up – Here is where the literal dirty work began. I started off cleaning the pantry. Then moved to the fridge. (Which had not been cleaned since Thanksgiving, eww). I even cleaned the bottom of the oven. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal but honestly, I just never took the time to give it a good cleaning. Go ahead judge…I’m ok with it. On that note I also never tackled under the sink.
Ok… here is the story… When I first moved into this house, my Beagle/Jack Russell somehow managed to pee inside the form batting used to insulated the dishwasher. (Gross I know) Unfortunately, we did not know this at the time. But every time we used the dishwasher out house became filled with this awful burnt tire stench. (Yes, it smells just as you would imagine it!) Being unable to determine the source of the smell we decided to replace the dishwasher. When we removed the bating we discovered the dog had marked inside the dishwasher. (Yes, I can’t imagine how he configured his fat beagle body to do this but he did.)
Well, since that time I have not cleaned out under the sink ( I think the pee incident scarred me) and yes, it was gross. I really just never gave it a thought. It holds cleaning supplies, dog treat, plastic bags. Who ever really thinks of cleaning that out? That is one of the biggest things I learned from chapter 1, the forgotten areas.
Step 3 – Make it pretty- If the area is visually appealing then you will be more likely to maintain it. I learned this from the dishwashing habit at the beginning of the chapter. So I proceeded to paint the inside of my panty, purchase some organizing items and put up some decorations. Using some of the suggestions from the book I bought a step stool so I no longer have to steal one from the kids. I also purchased a tote from under the sink and some nice holders for the kids snacks.
Yes, it was a lot of work. However, I am so happy with my month 1 progress. I feel that my kitchen is more clean, organized and usable then it has ever been. Likewise, the emotional exploration helped to put in place a process that will help to maintain these new habits. Next month on to the garage and laundry room!
Below is a list of affiliated links of products I used to reorganize my kitchen: