I know it is ‘wordless Wednesday’ but I will be wordless later ok? I actually wrote and posted this yesterday, then changed my mind when I found out about the birth stories carnival – because you know, who doesn’t love to be able to talk/post about their babies and the super human feat it was to birth them?? So I sneakily pulled this post thinking no one had seen it yet – sadly bloglines bit me in the bum and I confused the heck out of a couple of people – sorry! Here it is now though, in all it’s glory… well ok in all it’s rambley goodness! Enjoy!
Do you have a lot of ‘kitchen junk’?
You know all those utensils that you swear you will use one day, like the pasta moulds for the day you will finally get around to making ravioli? The coffee mug with the cute bunny on it you were given for Christmas fifteen years ago? Every pair of chopsticks you have ever gotten with your take away noodle dinners?
Actually I don’t have too much extra useless stuff any more, purely because I have no where to put it. Our kitchen is small and old and did I say small already? We have twelve cupboards, five small draws and two open shelves and they are all old and poorly designed. That is it as far as storage goes and it’s not enough. When we moved here I had to get rid of a fair bit of kitchen junk, but of late I have been working on reducing it even further as well as storing it better. Some days it feels like a never ending battle and I long to start our renovations and take a step towards finally having a decent kitchen, but that is still at least a year away so in the mean time I need to deal with all the ‘kitchen junk’ as best I can.
The Utensils Draw
I’ve recently tried to par down the utensils draw to the mere basic necessities, but it hasn’t been easy. When I started I found that I some how managed to acquire seven (yes seven!) wooden spoons! It was hard to part with the old spatula that we have had since we first moved in together but never used, not to mention the broken single salad sever who’s mate broke beyond repair a long time ago. Who would have thought that kitchen utensils could hold so many fond memories?
I was strong though, I de-cluttered the utensil draw like a mad woman and I just hope I won’t live to regret it. The kid’s sandpit has seen an influx of interesting cooking utensils, as has the local Op Shop (Thrift Store to those in he US) and while I still seem to have an awful lot of utensils in the draw I feel fairly confident that they are things I need and use at least every once in a while, I think.
It’s a pity that the draw they live is the only place we have to store them and despite adding in a new half size draw divider I still seem to be rummaging through to find things, there must be a better way to store this stuff? How do you store utensils? Is there some clever easy way to do it that I could put on my wish list for the new kitchen
if when it happens?
The Spice Cupboard
I had to laugh when I opened the cupboard above the stove where the herbs and spices lived and ten half empty little jars fell out on my head. Marjoram? What on earth do I put that in? Turmeric? It is a pretty yellow colour but I am fairly sure I have never cooked with it. So why, in out tiny, short on storage space kitchen was I keeping herbs that the Baldy Boy obviously bought when he first moved out of home and back before I moved in when he might actually have had to cook something. In fairness he does cook every now and then, and probably those once in a blue moon times when he makes bolognaise sauce he does put in marjoram and sage and thyme all separately, it’s just the sort of thing he would do. Probably when that moon turns blue next time he will grumble and carry on when he finds that there is no longer four different packets of whole dried sage leaves, but too bad!
I did a lot of amalgamating of the herbs. Read the ingredients on the back of the ‘mixed herbs’ (which I tend to chuck into just about everything I make) and just dumped any and all of those herbs that we had as separates in the cupboard. Now we have enough ‘mixed herbs’ to last us for months! I even (shhhh don’t tell) chucked out some herbs and spices that I am sure are older than our children and that I have never used. Now I can actually see what is in the cupboard and at least for the next day or so nothing will fall on my head when I open it!
I don’t think we have heaps of appliances, but it still feels like way too many in our little kitchen. We have a toasted-sandwich-grill-press thingo and a food processor which are used fairly regularly. We have a citrus juicer thing that the Baldy Boy uses a lot to make fresh juice when we have the fruit. We have a little microwave and a second-hand bread-maker which both see a fair bit of action and that is about it. Not drinking tea or coffee we don’t have a fancy coffee machine, heck we don’t even have a kettle! (we used to but it broke and we only ever used it for guests so never got around to replacing it). We don’t even have a toaster as our stove has a griller that we use instead.
My aim is to not have any of these appliances out on the bench. Well, except for the microwave because that is too big for a cupboard, oh and the bread maker too. I’ve found little hidey holes for all the rest of them and I am determined they will go back to their hidey holes after each use. I don’t have much bench space as it is so I need to preserve as much open cooking space as I can. Though I can see the fact that I have to lug the toasted sandwich maker down from the high shelf is seriously going to curb my desire to use it, not to mention the food processor.
I sometimes drool over an appliance or two if I am ever allowed into a homewares shops. I keep thinking that I’d really love a KitchenAid mixer – because, you know, if you spend $700 on a mixer surely it will magically make you in to a great cook who has the time and motivation to actually bake stuff!? And oh man, they have such nifty accessories.. I could make ice cream and pasta, ice cream flavoured pasta even! And I’d get a red one… cause red ones go faster….
Sorry got a tad carried away there looking at the KitchenAid website, but really, even if I could afford a KitchenAid mixer where on earth would I put it? It would take up my last remaining clear bit of bench and so then I’d never be able to cook anything, let alone bake. One day though, one day, when we renovate (hmmm this post seems to full of my longing to finally start renovating – must blog more on that theme one day!) I dream of having a walk in pantry with a long clear bench with lots of power points just for appliances. So they can stay out but not out, be super easy to use but not take up any space and not clutter up my nice new kitchen – one day….
Other Kitchen Junk Issues
I have a few other miscellaneous kitchen junk issues that I need to address somehow.
Bread – How and where do you store bread? Bare in mind that I don’t have much space so a giant bread bin isn’t going to work so well, but maybe some small bread box that fits just one loaf? Do they make such a thing? do they work? Does it help keep the bread fresh?
Plastic Containers and their Lids – I have a nice collection of miscellaneous containers with lids, including some very fine and lovely Tupperware. Is there some magic way to store this stuff so that it doesn’t take up heaps of space, so that it is easy to access and so that you don’t have to disappear into a cupboard up to your waist for ten minutes before you realise you have no idea where the matching lid to that container actually is?
General Kitchen Storage – share with me all your nifty tricks and tips to keep your kitchen storage under control – please!
I am sure there is more but my new dishwasher just arrived so I must go and drool over it while it is being installed and thank the Gods of Easter overtime payments and the hard working Baldy Boy for saving us all from the hand washing demons!
I must add, before I go, a big thanks to all who commented on my household folder post. So many people with good ideas and suggestions and some really great links! I never would have thought that it would be such a ‘thing’ – I have heaps of hits from people searching ‘house hold folders’ – pity for the searchers that all I posted was questions and not any answers! I am working on it though, working through all of the great websites (which is no mean feet on this slow connection) and deciding what I will include, as well as hunting down the perfect folder to put them in (read – free LOL) so I will be sure to post an update when I have some progress to show!