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Spring Cleaning: The Kitchen


  • Monday, May 4 – a clean sweep
  • Tuesday, May 5 – the living room, part one
  • Wednesday, May 6 – the living room, part two
  • Thursday, May 7 – the kitchen, part one
  • Friday, May 8 – the kitchen, part two
  • Monday, May 11 – the bathrooms
  • Tuesday, May 12 – the kids’ rooms, part one
  • Wednesday, May 13 – the kids’ rooms, part two (office?)
  • Thursday, May 14 – the master bedroom
  • Friday, May 15 – the front entry

My kitchen is small. So I thought: No big deal. I can get this done in a day.

I was wrong.

When I saw that Simple Mom had taken every single thing out of her cabinets, I knew we had to do the same. We’ve been here for 4+ years and have never moved so it was time to evaluate.

And so I took everything out and laid it on a large tablecloth. I wish this were all. Oh yes, there’s more.

Then, I made another pile in our bedroom. But that’s not all. Oh yes, there more still.

I put the final pile on our table and asked my family if we could eat in the living room for a couple of meals. Hubs has been so supportive throughout this entire Spring Cleaning endeavor.

Can you believe that our kitchen is only 3 feet wide and 8 feet deep?

What is all of this stuff? What do we really use? Need? Want?

Now that everything was out of the cabinets, I realized that the printer paper we laid taped down 4 years ago was quite dirty and in need of serious replacement. Please don’t judge us. It was one of those…just moved to China/don’t know where to buy supplies/don’t know how to ask for them…kind of decisions.

I called Hubs while he was out and he knew of a shop that might sell just what we were needing. This doesn’t stick to the counter tops so it can be removed and wiped off easily.

Before:                                                                           After:
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The drawers are hand made and the wood is rough. This plastic allows for easy cleaning.

Before:                                            After:
2009-05-08@13-14-25 2009-05-15@08-52-02
Between the water bottles and the stool, there was hardly any space to stand at the wok. We decided to store the water bottles in the hall cabinet.


Before:                                                                           After:
2009-05-08@13-16-56 2009-05-15@08-16-01
Aside from general pick-up, I stored the crock-pot in a lower cabinet. Now that we are moving towards hot weather, I don’t use it as often.

Before:                                                                            After:
2009-05-08@13-17-11 2009-05-15@08-51-20
This space didn’t change that much. I put away all the clean dishes.

Before:                                                                             After:
2009-05-08@13-17-36 2009-05-15@08-17-23
I love how this cabinet turned out. Originally, I let the majority of the space go to my baking supplies. By switching things around, I gave the space to cooking supplies which we use more often.

I organized my baking supplies and put them in a tighter space. I don’t use them everyday so it works.

The kitchen space looks great!
Let’s see inside those upper cabinets.

Before:                                                                          After:
2009-05-08@16-30-07 2009-05-15@08-19-06
Welcome to the spice cabinet. It’s well stocked. I moved all the baking supplies into the yellow basket. The blue basket holds all our “spice packets” for quick cooking.

Before:                                                                        After:
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This is our main food pantry. Since we cook from scratch, our supplies are mostly flour, sugar, salt, etc. I plan on finding some containers for the bottom shelf to further organize the dry ingredients.

That’s looking pretty clean!
Let’s check out the other cabinets!

Before:                                                                        After:
2009-05-08@16-31-43 2009-05-15@08-21-21
This is our dishes/glasses cabinet. It was getting pretty random. My favorite change was placing my Turkish tea glasses here. Before, they were in the 3rd shelf of the cooking supply cabinet. They were placed there randomly during a “quick clean up.” I’m definitely more likely to use them now.

Before:                                                                        After:
2009-05-08@16-32-12 2009-05-15@08-22-25
This cabinet is my favorite change of space. We simplified the cheese making supplies into the white and green baskets. The two pots on the 3rd shelf are the wax pots for cheese making. We put our breakfast supplies and our cookbooks on the 1st shelf. I love being able to easily reach the cookbooks!

Before:                                                                       After:
2009-05-08@16-32-42 2009-05-15@08-24-02
Originally, I used this space to store our recycled glass bottles, but now I’ve changed it into our beverage station: loose teas, bagged teas, straws, travel mugs, soy milk machine, soy beans, etc.

Before:                                                                        After:
2009-05-08@13-17-59 2009-05-15@08-20-56
This is our everyday Chinese cooking station. It only took a couple of minutes to straighten.

Getting the kitchen in order took about 10 working hours spread over 2 days – to truly sanitize, lay shelving paper, and get the cabinets properly restocked.

Does it look like this right now? Yes…if you add in a pile of dishes in the sink and another pile of dishes in the drying rack, but that’s life.

Honestly, the kitchen wore me out! I’ve confessed to Hubs that I wanted to give up my spring cleaning endeavor. Half the house is done. (Literally, the left side is clean and organized!) He is encouraging me to hang in there and keep plugging away. He keeps threatening to go outside and “praise me at the gates.” Love him.

So, I’ve taken the weekend off from cleaning. I’ll start with the bathroom on Monday.

There’s a lot of work that remains: Schäfer’s room (sorting toys), our room (switching out winter/summer clothes) and the ever looming craft closet in the office.

Until then, I’m enjoying the weekend…and my kitchen.

3 comments to Spring Cleaning: The Kitchen

  • I LOVE your before/after pics. I’m impressed you had all of that in your little kitchen! 🙂 I think your apartment looks really nice and cute!

  • Wow! Great work. I love the before/after. I love to clean like that…so refreshing.

  • rachel W

    Sandra dear,
    I am so impressed with your cleaning. Way to persevere! Your kitchen looks great. It is such hard work, but so satisfying! I had a big clean-out of the girls’ room this morning–threw away a bunch of old pictures/crafts, sorted, organized, and straightened the bookshelves. Things had gotten out of hand while Mommy was away!

    Thanks so much for thinking of me on my trip. I have also been thinking of you and your wait for your daughter. Argh about the swine flu. You are certainly learning patience! I do hope the day is coming soon, very soon! We were asked to not come back to our local orphanage to volunteer this summer because of Hand, Foot and Mouth as well as swine flu concerns. Yikes!

    Blessings to you friend. Miss you!


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