Thursday, January 29, 2009

On Location: Decluttering at Friend L's

If you read Stimeyland, you've read about Friend L. L is amazing. She is one of my very best friends, has adorable children who play well with mine, and is also currently a stay at home mom. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to move in down the street and around the corner from her. I must have had some good karma saved up to stumble into such a situation.

After I cleaned out my craft cabinets the other day, she said that she needed help with her art supplies. I told her that I would bring my camera and do a post on her junk. She was not so into that idea. Because, and I'm just now learning this, not everyone in the world wants to show off their dirty cabinets to the entire world. Huh.

So yesterday when I was over at her house and she showed me her cabinet, I immediately started bossing her around about how her waffle iron needed to go there and her PixOs needed to go here, and before you know it she was agreeing to let me take photos of the finished products.

Allow me to present L:

Isn't she the cutest?

She's holding a breast milk storage bag that she found in her cabinet. Her youngest is three and a half years old. See? I'm not the only one with this crap in my cabinets.

She doesn't have as many craft supplies as I do, but they were a little scattered over the three shelves in her cabinet, and mixed in with cooking supplies. The main thing I did was suggest that she separate the two. The top shelf is now for cooking items, and the bottom two shelves are for crafts. See:

She moved some of her lesser used cooking supplies over to an incredibly awkward cabinet she has, where much of the space is practically inaccessible from the door.

There is as much space to the left of the door opening as there is visible above. And there is no easy access to it, so she had to make sure that the things there aren't things she uses regularly. My personal favorite thing about this cabinet is her chocolate chip container, on which she has written a note to let her son about chocolate chips. Based on the chip level, do you think he listens to her?

L did some other really good work in another awkward cabinet.

This one has a tiny door leading to a giant space. And those white things don't turn, as you'd expect them to. What L did was to think about how she uses her things and where they might fit well. She exchanged things according to size and function and really tried to think about how things worked in her kitchen.

The thing I found interesting about her is that she categorizes her cabinets differently than I do. When I am decluttering one cabinet, I rarely have to open another one, because I organize according to type. For instance, all my pots are in one place, all my small appliances are in one place, all my mixing bowls are in one place, and all my food is in one place.

I would never have chocolate chips and a muffin pan in the same cabinet. Never. And I would probably throw away my blender before I put it in a cabinet with my art supplies, but that's just me and my crazy linear thinking.

But what works for me doesn't necessarily work for the next person. L's system was very organic to how her kitchen worked. Once she got started, she definitely took the lead on the decluttering. She built up some momentum and got rid of a few things. (Her kids did retrieve some bowls from the trash though.) But mostly she organized, and I think it made her very happy.


More tidbits about L:

She is kind of my housecleaning guru. She gives me all kinds of tips on a regular basis for how to keep my house clean. I file those tips away in my head and continue to ignore the steadily deteriorating state of my home. (I started decluttering so I would have to clean less.)

Here are a couple of fun things I watched her do:

1. She vacuumed out her cabinets. This was a new one even for her, but it proved to be a very efficient way to get rid of all the dry gunk that accumulates in cabinets and drawers.

2. She showed me what she does while she talks on the phone with me:

If you can't tell, she's cleaning crevices with a toothpick. Ewwwwww:

But then again, awesome. I've never cleaned anything with a toothpick in my life. 'Cause that's crazy. But then again, her house is waaaay cleaner than mine, so who am I to talk?


Great job, L! Thanks for letting me help!


*m* said...

Wow. I need you AND L. to come over to my house. And I'm very curious about her other "housecleaning tips." Though I have to tell you, if they involve toothpicks, I'm out.

Anonymous said...

Awww... the toothpick isn't that strange! My favorite cleaning tools are bamboo kitchen skewers. Grunge doesn't stand a chance. ;)

Ange said...

see, once you start that toothpick cleaning, you can't stop because then YOU KNOW THAT CRAP IS THERE. SO I live in denial and happily assume what I can't see or smell DOESN'T exist. I learned this when I took a steam buggy to the boys toilet. Don't ever do that, unless you are trying to induce vomiting. And never get on your hands n knees in your house. How many vistors do that in your home? If they don't see that crap down there, then niether should you ... therefore it doesn't exist. See how this works?

Innocent Observer said...

That is so not fair. I want you to come here and boss me around!

Please? I'll make pizza! And you can throw out my blender if that's what you want! And I even have several boxes of toothpicks. I'll even pay you. (in soup! hahaha)

Anonymous said...

I feel like a star! After the clean out, I couldn't stop with the toothpicks and did my phones. GROSS!

Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

Oh, Ange! I like you!

And are you telling me that I have to get rid of my breastfeeding supplies, just because I haven't breastfed in over 3 years and never will again? Geez, you are tough!

I think you and L need to start an organizing and cleaning business. I WILL HIRE YOU!

Manic Mommy said...

I would never put a blender on an upper cabinet. In my mind, they love down below.

Isn't it odd how we all have our organizational idiosyncrasies?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who cleans crevices with a toothpick.


Thrift Store Mama said...

I was just cleaning my bathroom today and saw what I believe to be excess plumber's putty around my sink drain. I've always just ignored it before, but today I remembered this post and ran to get a toothpick and voila! no more yellow gunky stuff! Thanks L!