Organized Kitchen Cabinets = Organized Mind

I know, I know. The State of my kitchen cabinets does not directly equal the State of my mind, except it kind of does. Here’s why. One of the ways my depression is triggered is the state of my house. Cluttered, untidy house, more likely that I’ll be less able to handle my evil jerk brain, more depression. Or maybe another way to say it is this: if my house is clean, I am more productive and I take care of myself and I don’t get stuck in my head. If my house is messy, my self-care routines tend to lapse, and I do get stuck in my head. So, over the years as I’ve figured this out, I’ve gotten better at strategies to keep my house tidy. And generally I succeed. But there’s one area I’m NOT tidy, and that is my kitchen cabinets. I have never, in 10 years of keeping house, had well organized cabinets. Not once. And while my house is mostly clean and tidy, it is still mentally exhausting to have messy cabinets, to not be able to find the things I need to feed myself, to buy things I already have because I don’t know I have them (I had 4 different bags of dried cranberries, you guys), and so today, I did something about it.

I feel the need to clarify here. I didn’t intend to do something about it. I had a big long list for the day and cleaning out and organizing my kitchen cabinets was most definitely not on the list. But we had gone camping for spring break, and there were some snack foods that needed to be put away, and I was going to make a pie so I needed to know if I had Karo syrup, and the next thing I knew, everything that used to be in the cabinets was on the counter.

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I said to J, I think I just did something really dumb. He came inside, took one look at the counter, and went right back outside. I think he agreed with me.

Like many people who organize things, I found myself in need of containers. Because clearly, the lack of containers was the problem. But! I didn’t just rush off to buy containers, I made a list first of everything that I wanted containers for, and about how big those containers should be. THEN I rushed off to buy containers. I ended up with 14 of these in assorted sizes, and as it turns out, I probably could have used one or two more, but overall I’m pretty happy with them. Then of course I had to wash all of them. So that was fun.

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Eventually, though, everything got washed and dried and I got to start filling them up and clearing off my countertops. I got some nifty chalkboard labels at World Market when I was buying the jars (they were right next to each other! How clever!) so everything is labeled. It’s fantastic!

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I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out, and how much more space I have now that it’s all tidy. A few things I learned, though:

  • Use square containers. They waste less space than round ones
  • If you wash the containers first, make sure that they are 100% dry before you put anything in them
  • Before putting something in a container, make sure it’s the right one. You don’t want to have to shift things around in containers.
  • On a completely unrelated note to the point above, quinoa WILL NOT come out of the container all the way, and you will have to re-wash and re-dry the container, so maybe just leave the quinoa alone?

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So that’s how I spent my Sunday afternoon. Most of my list still didn’t get done, although I did prep a couple of dinners for the upcoming week, and I baked my pie (which was amazing) and we are unpacked from camping, so I’ll consider that a win. Additionally, that super organized and tidy cabinet makes my head happy, which was the whole point in the first place.

Do you have any tricky areas in your house? Anything that just won’t stay organized? Any areas you recently conquered? Tell me about them!

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