Monday, February 6, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - January Kitchen

Do you suffer, as I do, from Startitis?  Every room in my house has probably 20 little things that bug me, that wouldn't take too long to fix, but when I have 15 min to an hour "free" time I don't know where to start.  Or there are a dozen projects "in process" that I don't know which one to pick up.

When we moved here we had a 2 year old and a 6 month old, so basically all our stuff got thrown into the rooms marked on the moving boxes, unpacked at about 1AM and thrown on the shelves/in closets, and left for a day when I could hear myself think about what to make work better where.

My New Year's Resolution this year is to pick a room and spend a month working on it.  I may not get it to "finished" but I can at least tackle the problems. And when I get distracted I can answer a simple question: does this project help the room I'm working on this month?  If not, I have to go find a project that does.

And can you believe it - it's working!  I feel so much more organized.  When I look at other projects in other rooms I don't feel so bad, knowing their time will come!  I didn't get everything done in the kitchen that I wanted to, but I made such a dent and I feel so great using all the new systems or putting things away in their new places.  And for the most part, my plan was "cheap or preferably free" and we've done pretty well.

Here was my first project -  a high shelf to get my cookbooks off the counter.  I need to be able to see them to get inspired by them - but they took up so much room!  I built this, spending about $18 in lumber for a 12"x12' board.  The brackets are shaped 2x4s that match brackets on another (old) shelf in the house.  They were all glued and screwed together then the whole thing screwed into studs (once we found them) with 3" wood screws.

I was lucky that we had the other shelf to use as a model, since I really didn't like any of the brackets I found in stores - these look farmhouse practical, pretty and simple.

I moved our old changing table - which was originally an Ikea kitchen cart - back into the kitchen and I LOVE having the extra counter space.  I also moved our silverware from the drawer next to the stove - where someone is always in the way when you want a fork - to a tray on open shelves, next to the kid silverware (plasticware?).  Now the drawer is just for kitchen utensil stuff like can openers, peelers, etc.

Next up, something else simple that I've been meaning to do for 3 years - organize the "junk" drawers.  We have two large drawers along the far counters.  A few $5 organizers from Ikea later and they are SO GREAT.  I can find twist ties and rubber bands!  When I needed cup hooks I knew right where they were.

I have to admit, I do get Martha Stewart envy even though I suspect I would be more organized too if I had assistants to actually organize everything and a boatload of money  - and my own furniture line to put everything in.  So here was my Martha moment on this project.  Although you know her drawer organizers would be like in granite or sustainably harvested mahogany or something fancier than my whole house.

Next up - all those tall bottles that don't fit anywhere - I have them on my windowsill which a friend gently told me will make the olive oil rancid - yuck.  Here is the only spot they will fit and be next to the stove where I use them.

Here is the shelf in progress.  In retrospect I wish I had just oiled the boards instead of staining it walnut - at the time I thought a contrast would be nice.   I still like it, but if I did it again I wouldn't go so dark.

Here is the finished shelf!  Wow, right?!  I could only find one dowel, and I was all gung ho on the project, and I was sitting out in the shed wondering where could I find narrow sticks that I could use when I remembered - our yard is full of sticks!  So that is why I used branches on the upper shelves - so you can still see the labels and find everything.  I think they look rustic - Mr. Sycamore is skeptical.  We'll see.

My remaining projects are to paint the walls Clay .03 from Yolo Colorhouse and make a new rug.  I can't even show the grimy old rug, it is too embarrassing.

A project for next time will be to organize my large cupboard (above) like the pinterest photo (below):

So I feel like my January was very very productive, and the kitchen looks great.  And almost finished (more photos after painting!)

February:  the bathrooms.

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