Happy New Year, everyone!

We had a lovely day.  It doesn’t really fit the canonical description of a “lovely day,” mind you.  Except for in Remarkably Domestic Husband’s world, where sorting through things and cleaning stuff out would be a daily ritual.  He loves that crap.  There is something wrong with him.

Somehow, though, the thought of the new year gave me a huge energy boost this morning, so I decided to go through a few cabinets and drawers.  This project snowballed, of course.  The good news is that I went through every cabinet and drawer that really needed it.  Other good news: now I have a few empty cabinets and drawers, and the rest of them are much more functional.  Bad news?  Well, I’m not sure it’s bad news, but it’s 4 pm and I’m still in my pajamas, and the organizing is all I really have to show for myself today.  Truly, though, it’s kind of a lot to show.

There wasn’t anything ground-breaking in the organizing I did.  Mostly I got rid of stuff I haven’t used in years (or, in some cases, ever) and that gave me enough room to make things all efficient and purty-like.  Here are a few examples:

this is not at all efficient

You will notice that this is a big mess.  Not only do I have to dig through to get to a tool, but the anti-skid mat thingy that I put down on the bottom of the drawer is all cattywampus.  I got rid of a few unnecessary tools (my two cents on what are necessary tools in a moment), like the kiwi knife/scooper (really???), the bowl scrapers (every Christmas for several years one of these was in my stocking), and something I never used that looked like a pastry cutter but really wasn’t.  Out with the old, and stay out, will ya?

After emptying the drawer, I reset the anti-skid stuff.  But this time I got kinda smart about it– I attached it to the bottom of the drawer with double-sided tape.  (Is that totally obvious?  I’ve never done it before.)  To make it easier to lay in, I only peeled the backing off the double-sided tape an end at at time, so it laid in really cleanly and wrinkle-free.  Like this:

the front corners are taped, and I'm peeling the sides now to roll them in

I know, you are all thinking, “These are the sterling tips I expect on Remarkably Domestic.”  I do what I can, folks.

Then, I laid in all the tools, from least used in the back to most used up front.  Here’s how it looks:

is anyone wondering what on earth some of those tools are?

I do have a few things to say about my favorite kitchen tools.  I appreciate these kinds of lists on other blogs, like this one over at The Kitchn and this one over at Smitten Kitchen, and I thought my own was worth posting.  Mine’s a little more ecclectic.

1.  Microplane graters (far left of the photo).  The best for grating zest, chocolate, and of course, Parmesan cheese.

2.  Cherry pitter (next to the microplanes in the middle of the drawer).  I am the first to admit that I have a lot of tools that are one job deals– this cherry pitter does nothing else but pit cherries.  But I am unapologetic.  I heartily subscribe to Martha Stewart’s philosophy, the right tool for the right job.  It makes those jobs much easier.  If you have little kids like I do who have trouble getting around the pits in a cherry, this tool is miraculous.  How can you deny your little one delicious cherries?  I also use it, of course, when making a cherry clafouti or pie or whatevs.

3.  Ginger grater (the white round thing in the center of the drawer).  This is another one of those one job tools, but it makes a huge difference with ginger.  If you don’t like those woody strings in the ginger, this is the tool for you.  It grates the ginger, leaving the woodiness behind.  Since I use ginger in both savory and sweet dishes, the grater gets used pretty often.

4.  Needle-nose pliers.  These are indispensable for pulling bones out of salmon fillets.

5.  Garlic peeler (that blue cylinder towards the top).  This one’s from Martha, but I like it.  You stick the garlic inside and then roll it, and out comes skinless garlic.  Sometimes I do it the Jamie Oliver way, smashing the garlic with the flat side of a big knife, but this way’s fun, too.  So, not a totally necessary tool, but one that comes in handy.

Besides the drawer, I also tackled cabinets.  Like this one:

most of the things in here are totally inaccessible

The bottom of this cabinet gets used the most, obviously, since it’s the laundry stuff.  The other shelves are extra baking storage.  But things were organized so poorly that I never wanted to take things out– even when I had to put something away.  So instead of getting out the proper Tupperware and putting something away, I’d just pile it in there, promising I’d put it in the right tub at some point.  Guess what?  That point never came.  Until today.

The first thing I did was get rid of the bread maker.  It was a nice ride, Welbilt, and I loved ya for a while, but I haven’t used that maker in about 3 years.  And now I feel like I’d rather make handmade loaves.  Done.  That freed up some space, but mostly I had to just reorganize.  All the cookie cutters went into one bin, food coloring into a few others (who knew I had so much food coloring?), other baking supplies (pastry bags, sugar decorations, pastry bag tips, etc. etc.) into another.  And then I organized the tins.  What am I doing with all these tins?  I buy them when they are cheap so that when I give cookies or some other treat as a gift, I can use them.  But they were so hard to get to, I never did.  Now: piece of cake.

much better

I moved the cookie decorating stuff down to the middle shelf in the hopes that it will be easier to get to and get used more frequently.  Whether or not that is actually the case will remain to be seen.

So, that was my deal.  All in all, a very productive way to start 2010!

Incidentally, will you say “two thousand ten” or “twenty ten”?



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  • January 1, 2010, 8:20 pm Erica Long

    Happy New Year, B! This was a fun read. Thanks to you I may have to purchase a cherry pitter. xo

  • January 2, 2010, 7:13 am erika

    Wow! RD Husband must be in heaven right now. I totally get that. I love before and after stuff. It’s so therapeutic. I have a couple of closets to do and have been planning my strategy in my head for a while. I hope to get to them soon!

  • March 14, 2010, 11:16 pm John Canon

    The before/after and the descriptions are so concise. Thank you.
    PS, most people said “nineteen-fifty” and a few said “nineteen-hundred-and-fifty”