It’s been a little overwhelming lately, realizing that our baby will be here in around 6 weeks. That being said, I can hardly wait. This past weekend we were trying to focus on doing a few basic tasks to get ready for the baby.
Pre-Installing the car seat: We are trying to decide if the new car seat will be for our daughter or the new baby. That will be determined by how it fits rear facing. My daughter’s car seat was a bit snug rear facing, forcing the passenger seat to have less leg room than we would have liked. (It worked OK for me, but I’m on 5’2’). If the new car seat takes up less space rear facing, then it will go to the new baby. If not, our daughter will get it, and the baby will use her old one. (By old, I do mean less than three years old). It appears based on the preliminary install that the car seat will go to our son, at least for the next year or two.
Preparing baby room: The baby’s room has become a bit of a dumping ground for the past few months, but we’ve slowly been starting to change that. Now the focus is on getting the bed made, hanging any last minute decorations and putting away baby clothes. I’ve received some handmedowns from a few generous friends, so the larger size ones may have to be packed away until later since they won’t all fit in the dresser. I also need to wash the handmedowns as well as my stash of infant cloth diapers currently being stored in the attic. Fortunately I’ve already begun cleaning the few neutral clothes we have left from when our daughter was a newborn. I’m still in the process of washing and putting away some of the clothes but other than that the room is close to being ready. Two large storage totes are housing the clothes and diapers that the baby has yet to grow into. The bed is made and the mobile is installed. Only some vacuuming and a few other small details (like hanging a bit of wall décor) and the room will be ready. Maybe now that the baby’s room is ready the baby will be ready to come out that much sooner.
This project is actually a natural segway for me, given that I tackled my Lazy Susan cabinet which is primarily used to storage can goods, as part of last week’s challenge. I usually sort through my pantry periodically but it seems to be in a continual state of chaos. This is especially unsightly because my pantry is completely open to the rest of kitchen (though I hope to remedy that eventually.)
I modified this challenge slightly. Since most of our pantry is visible and not more than one or two items deep I decided to dispense with the inventory. I know that I wouldn’t keep up with such a list so I’m focusing on keeping things organized. I threw out old food (mostly ancient granola my husband kept promising he was going to eat and some forgotten chocolate cookie crumbs). Then I organized items based on frequency of use and kind of item; putting frequently used items on lower shelves and grouping baking supplies together, etc.
My future action item regarding this portion of the challenge is to get large buckets to store my flour. I buy flour at Sam’s Club in 25 lb bags which I store on the bottom of my pantry. (You won’t see them in the picture because they are under the kitchen table, pushed up against the wall, along with infrequently used appliances like the ice cream maker.) I know that storing flour in bags is just asking for trouble, but I couldn’t find large enough buckets to store flour in. I have a few smaller containers that I use once the flour level has dropped below half in the bags, but nothing that will whole an entire 25 lb bag. The ones I find online are very expensive and that doesn’t even factor in the shipping costs. So for now I’ll have to continue with my ill advised methods, and keep looking for a long term solution. Fortunately, 25 lbs of flour doesn’t last a really long time at our house anyway.
I also organized the spice cupboard. I can’t reach the top shelf without a stool so I put rarely used items up there. Then I organized the two remaining shelves with the most frequently used items in the front, and trying to categorize a little bit. I also threw out any spices that hadn’t been used in several years or that we concluded we don’t like or give my husband indigestion. Now the trick is just keeping things as organized as they are at the moment. On we go to Week 4.
I could tell from the beginning that this was going to be a huge task. I have quite a few cabinets and drawers, most of them overflowing. I have reorganized these before, yet somehow it never seems to last long so this challenge was certainly going to it me where it hurt.
My most used cabinets are in a pretty organized state. But others, like the corner cabinet that stores plastic food storage gets pretty messy from time to time. I decided to mark my cheap mark my cheap plastic food storage with permanent marker so that each container has a corresponding lid. Hopefully this will save a lot of time that I waste trying to find lids that match containers. This was also a good time to dispose of any containers that didn’t have lids. That cabinet has always been too full, so sorting it was a real challenge. But I either recycled or donated things that don’t ever get used and rarely used items were relegated to the top shelf.
Under the kitchen sink. Now there is a wasteland of cleaning products. Dumping old cleaning products seems wasteful and unhealthy so as a result I have half empty bottles of so many different kinds of cleaners. Many are used for very few tasks (like Goo Gone) but crucial when needed so I can’t quite part with them. I’ve also developed a collection of reuseable cleaning rags. But now things are organized by frequency of use and either empty and mostly empty containers have been recycling. Plus my cleaning rags are nicely folded in the pile next to the appropriate cleaning products (dust rags in one pile, resuseable swiffer socks in another etc.)
Now you may not be able to tell from the picture, but I got rid of a lot of things in the corner cabinet so that mostly what you see is what is in there. That way there aren’t things stuffed way in the back that never get used and are completely forgotten. As for the cabinet under the sink. Some of you may remember from a previous post that we strive to use very few paper towels. This roll under the sink currently represents the last roll in the house. We only use it for cooking bacon or other really unsanitary jobs where cleaning rags won’t do. I’m hoping to avoid replacing it for as long as possible. By having it under the counter, we aren’t tempted to grab a paper towel out of instinct when a rag will do and it gives me more space on my countertop.
While I didn’t have time to completely reorganize all of my cabinets (several of them were already fairly organized anyway), focusing on the worst offenders has made my kitchen more functional already.