Wednesday, April 01, 2015

A kitchen corner

For the last few months I've been purging and reorganizing our kitchen cupboards. Slowly and painfully, one shelf at a time. For each item I held in my hand, I kept asking myself the same questions: When was the last time I used this? Is it really useful? Do I enjoy using it? Who else is using it? Where could I store it to give us easier access? Why am I really keeping it and what should go away instead? You get the picture... :) It was like playing Tetris. Fun but exhausting.

I found it hard to stay honest with myself about many items that cluttered our cupboards and I still have a long way to go! :) So far it was worth the trouble though. In return, I found lots of free space to play with to provide better access to the items I love. The result was so uplifting that I even removed a door from a cupboard to fully display the big bowls I enjoy and the cookbooks I actually care to read and use.

The open shelves are far enough from the stove and the books and bowls do get used so they get washed and wiped often enough which prevents too much dusty, greasy, buildup. That's my reasoning anyway. For now, it works! :) We ditched a big fancy microwave that came with this house and replaced it with a tiny one from Marc's bachelor days. The big one had many cool features but took the whole corner. This little one is handy but doesn't take much space. Moving it gave me more options.

Also, a fun addition happened over a week ago when I treated myself to a vintage breadbox I found for cheap on Etsy. It's from France and probably from the 70s. For years I had been playing with baskets, trays and big dishes to store our bread. Then this breadbox caught my eye. The colour was fun, the size seemed perfect and the price was right. Inside, I can store a loaf of bread, a bag of bagels, english muffins and even leftover pita we made the other day. If I have too much, I do what I always did and store the extra in the freezer for rainy days and to prevent spoilage. It's just handy to contain what we use for the week. It has many scratches and a small dent but it looks and feels right, as if it always belonged here.

Below is what it looked like without the box. Nothing bad but the space was allowing for clutter to pile up (mainly books, magazines, cellphone charging which were all removed before that picture was taken). Breads in various packagings are technically not a problem but they don't help in terms of looks. The breadbox just keeps it together.

It's been slow but good progress and with each little change I can tell after a week if it works or not. So far so good. The kitschy Moomin lamp next to the food processor is working for me at night and lightens up a dark corner during the day. I'll eventually install lights under the cabinets but this one is close to my heart. Many could wonder what a grown woman like me is doing with such an ugly thing but it represents a whimsical world that I discovered and fell in love with at the age of 10 and that I still love now at the age of 44. I'm a huge Moomin fan and a Tove Janson fan and this lamp which was a present from Marc 8 years ago, makes me smile even if it goes against my style. What I love even more is that at this level my youngest one can see the details very well.

Next to that, more books and my precious iPod station. Music keeps me sane and saved me many times from meltdowns. It's great for healing, motivating, spontaneous dancing (with the girls or by myself). Music, just like food, is necessary in a kitchen!

Since then I removed a picture, lightened the load of books and kept the ones that I know well and that I keep going back to. It breathes better (see below) and I'm considering painting this wall charcoal or black. Thoughts?

One day I will tackle a backsplash (hopefully with my own tiles). I dream of white or very pale upper cabinets with the lower ones in a lush dark colour like navy blue, avocado peel or dark grey but you know... Kids, money, time... For now I'll focus on what I can actually do which is clearing a few more shelves and drawers, the pantry (ugh) and definitely clearing a few layers off our fridge below. It's a happy colourful one but it needs to lose a few pounds! :)