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Checking in on the Kitchn Cure

October 3, 2013
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Timing can be a funny thing.  I had a sneaking suspicion I might end up cheating on this whole Kitchn Cure thing, but then the government went ahead and shut down and I was put out of work.  Suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands to actually get this stuff done.  (Would I rather things had not happened this way? Of course.  But my kitchen is grateful, and I’m trying to see the silver lining of the whole no-paycheck-for-who-knows-how-long thing).  Also, it made me wonder how anyone who has a full time job and children could possibly participate fully in the Kitchn Cure.  But I digress.

I am currently up to date, though I admit I didn’t do one task each day.  In fact, the first day I did nothing (after a full day of work), the second day I did tasks one and two, the third day I did nothing (after a day at Disneyland), and the fourth day I did tasks three and four.  This is a lot of work, but it’s paying off!

I have been taking photos, but the quality is quite dismal due to poor lighting and me not being used to the new camera feature on ios 7.  My apologies.  But here are some representative (sort of) pictures for each step.

Step 1: the refrigerator and freezer.  My assigned task was to empty it out, throw out things that were bad or expired, scrub the entire fridge and freezer, and put back the good stuff in an organized fashion.  It was a roaring success.  My before picture was super dark and blurry, so I will only share the after:

fridge after

fridge after

There was PROGRESS, my friends.  The fridge was not clean.  I actually thought it wouldn’t be bad because it was “new” – but then I remembered that “new” actually meant about two years old.  And I had never really cleaned it.  (Nor had my husband, but let’s not get into that!)  It is soooo nice to have a clean fridge.  And the freezer? I didn’t even take photos of that because it was too depressing.  But I keep opening the fridge or freezer to get things and find myself actually singing, “Helooooo clean fridge!” more than once a day.  It’s nice.

Step 2: The Pantry.  Again, my assignment was to take everything out, get rid of expired stuff, clean the shelves, clean the pantry items, and put them back in an orderly fashion.  I took it one farther and put new shelf liner on the shelves, because why not?  It went a little something like this:

pantry before

pantry before

IMG_5173

pantry during

pantry after

pantry after

This one was another doozy.  I thought it would take me maybe an hour, tops.  It was more like two.  Possibly more.  Granted, the whole re-lining the shelves thing was no small feat.  And I got rid of a lot of stuff!  But again, rewarding.  And I keep peering in my pantry and smiling.

Step 3: Appliances and Tools – this task was surprisingly tough.  I was told to take all my appliances and kitchen tools out of their cupboards and various hiding places, get rid of the items I never use, clean the items I do, clean the cupboards, and put them back.  I donated four bags of stuff to Goodwill after this step, people.  I’m not exaggerating.  I also re-lined the drawers and reorganized all my tools and utensils.  The photos are only representative of this part, but I promise it was another step that was a lot of work!

utensils before

utensils before

utensil drawers after

utensil drawers after

I’m pretty proud of myself.  I got rid of silly things like a mango pitter and kiwi scoop, things that have very little use in my kitchen. I gave away a bunch of small appliances and items that we just don’t use, things that were well-intentioned gifts but simply not practical, like our THREE fondue pots.  It was refreshing.  My kitchen cupboards have a little more room to breathe.

Step 4: Deep Clean.  This step was not fun, and yet it was.  I was supposed to deep clean my kitchen, getting the nooks and crannies that normally don’t get much love from the mop or the sponge.  I interpreted this my own way – to clean things I never usually clean, at least not properly.  This translated to the top of the range hood and refrigerator, where dust and grime accumulate unseen.  Also to mopping the floor properly, not just swiffering or spot-cleaning.  I also wiped down the cabinets, inside and out.  And last but not least, I cleaned the oven.  GULP.

Friends, I had *never* cleaned my oven before.  I’m ashamed to admit this.  Many a chicken has been roasted, with drippings thrown askew, and no cleaning took place.  I do not have a self-cleaning oven, and therefore it just sat dirty for several years.  Today I attempted to clean it the all natural way, using nothing but water and baking soda, as I read on countless blogs and cleaning web sites.  They all swore that if I made a paste of baking soda and water, smeared it all over the oven, and let it sit for several hours, the grime would wipe away with great ease.  And, well, it sort of worked.   But not really.  I am not including photos of this step because, well, there isn’t much visual evidence.  I wish I had taken before and after photos of the range hood, because I really worked magic on that one.

So that is that. I’m not quite halfway through but my kitchen looks amazing already.  I don’t know what more can be in store at this point because I feel like I’ve covered almost all of the kitchen now!  But rest assured, they will find more corners for me to clean and things for me to throw away, I’m sure.  If the government shutdown continues for another week, I might actually complete this whole cure!

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