By Megan Wirts
I sat in the middle of my kitchen with the entire contents of my pantry all over my countertops and floors and thought to myself, “I regret everything!”.
Have you ever started a project, then halfway through question every decision you have ever made and it makes you wonder who you are and how got to this point in your life? That’s what happened to me recently. I decided to clean and organize my kitchen and it turned out to be a bigger job than I had imagined.
My kitchen had turned into a messy, disorganized wasteland. It was filled with food storage containers without matching lids, half eaten bags of stale potato chips and every time I opened my baking cupboard, cookie sheets and pie tins would crash to the floor nearly killing me in the process. Don’t even get me started on the “junk” drawers. That’s right, plural, there is more than one. I have three of them. Why do I need three junk drawers? I DON’T KNOW, I JUST HAVE A LOT OF JUNK!!
Something needed to be done! Plus, we are just a few weeks away from the holiday baking season and I need to be ready!
I love being in my kitchen. My kitchen is literally the heart of our home. It’s the place where my family gathers and memories are made. It’s where some of the most deep and meaningful conversations about life happen. It’s the place where I find out about my kid’s days, where I listen to my husband tell me about his next big idea and where we connect as a family. It’s where our friends show up and we laugh until we cry or we cry until we laugh. It’s where I create the most delectably delicious cheesecakes any human has ever consumed. My kitchen is where we feed our bodies, hearts and souls. Magic happens in my kitchen.
It just was not feeling very magical lately.
This kitchen was something I dreamt of every night when our home was being built. I was able to pick out the appliances, cabinets, countertops and most importantly, I was going to have a glorious and beautiful walk-in pantry! I couldn’t wait to fill it with canned goods, dry goods and anything else I could fit in there. I had visions of cute baskets with labels and everything having a special place. I vowed to keep it clean and organized forever. Hahahahahaha…I was delusional. Mostly because I don’t think I have kept anything clean and organized in my entire life. Why did I think I was going to do it now?
For the first few weeks that we lived in our home everything was organized and perfect. It was like living in a dream land. There weren’t even any junk drawers yet! Then life happened, children happened and being a busy working mom happened. Keeping the kitchen in tip top shape went to the wayside. I was just happy if the dishes were done at the end of the night, or at least soaking in the sink. Who am I kidding, I was happy if it just didn’t smell weird in there.
Then the clutter came.
Piles of mail, papers from school and random rocks, pinecones or anything else my son dumped onto the counters when he emptied his pockets, and it never left.
Eventually I went from being a busy working mom to a disabled stay at home mom and suddenly I had all kinds of time to sit and stare at all the clutter. It was killing me. The only problem is that my disability makes doing everyday tasks a little extra difficult. Things take me twice as long as they used to and my body doesn’t always want to do the things my mind wants to. It can be incredibly frustrating, but I’m stubborn and if another cookie sheet smacked me in the face I was going to lose my mind. So, I began.
Over the course of a week I cleaned out every drawer, cupboard and basket in my kitchen. Every lid that didn’t fit any of my food storage containers got tossed in the trash. Every cup that had a crack in it and every water bottle that leaked but was shoved to the back of the cupboard because “maybe we will need it someday” was trashed. That bag of cream of broccoli soup that expired in 2013? Gone. I found two bags of marshmallows that were both half empty and hard as a rock in the back of my pantry that were being saved because we might want s’mores or rice crispy treats some time. Trashed. Also, why did I have 12, 000 plastic grocery bags inside more plastic bags, inside even more plastic bags?? WHY?!
It wasn’t until I was at the point where every single can of soup, kitchen appliance and lidless container was covering almost my entire home that I contemplated just walking out and never looking back. But I pushed on through, sorting and decluttering for days. Until finally I could see the surface of my countertops once again and when I opened my baking cupboard instead of a cascading avalanche of pie tins, I saw a beautifully organized baking heaven!
Finally, I was done! I sat on the floor in my neatly organized pantry and marveled at its beauty. I literally could have sat there all night, mostly because I was exhausted and I couldn’t get my legs to move anymore. Eventually I crawled out and I looked at my sweet family and said, “If any of you mess this up, I will destroy you!”.
We will see how long it lasts before I am once again drowning in clutter and disorganization. In the meantime though, I am going to open my baking cupboard up over and over again.
And smile every time a cookie sheet doesn’t try to murder me.
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