Sunday, January 22, 2012

William Morris in the Kitchen

My tasks were/are these:
  1. Find a rug for the backdoor that will fit comfortably under the door when open, and allow me to double-scrape shoes on entering
  2. Get a draft-blocker for the backdoor
  3. Buy Ball jars and transfer beans, grains, and other pantry foods to them
  4. Rethink placement in drawers and cabinets for better organization and easier access during work sessions (in process)
  5. Hang handles for two IKEA utensil pains near stove
  6. Lay down new drawer/shelfliner paper (in process)
  7. Make an accurate record of the contents of my pantry (in process)
  8. Hang a bulletin board for notes, messages to myself
  9. Consider relocating teapots to dining room hutch
Nowhere in Target or SuperTarget could  find draftblockers; I am now searching on-line for them, and if I cannot find them that way, I'll sew some.

The jars were not easy to find, but when I did I was glad I could see the pint and quart side-by-side. My initial thought had been to buy quart jars, but realizing how big those were (right: 4 cups!), I changed to the pint version (2 cups). This is more in keeping with the amount I buy from bulk bins at my favorite grocery store. And lo, when I changed/filled the jars, nothing was as much as 2 cups... except the quinoa which I had double-bought. (Lemonade: quinoa salad coming up this week!)
  • I recycled the glass jars I was using (old food jars) and repurposed the tins
  • I wrote down what I had on each shelf on a 4x6 cards as I did, and posted it inside the pantry door for reference, using the clear bins I bought at Container Store
  • No need to label anything, since I can clearly see what and how much is in each jar
I ended by buying two rugs for the kitchen, one a black half-moon which fits comfortably right up against the jamb. The pile is low enough that the door wings open comfortably. I also bought a red, flowered rug that I ended by putting in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen: there is a tiny, 1/2" step up there and the wooden lintel is actually not attached at all, so it got junk stuck under it, got kicked out of the way, and tripped me several times. Now, with the rug there, not only do my feet have a warm welcome on cold mornings but no tripping will occur. The cost for both was about $22 at Target. Since my larger red shaggy runs are shredding their rubber backing quickly, I am considering going back for two larger versions of the flowered rug (another $40) which would be money well-spent, I think, in both style and comfort.

I've already moved a few things around in the kitchen, but in general my conclusion is that I am very happy with everything where it is. I might change up a drawer in order to put the ovenmitts and potholders away, but that is the only thing that ticks in my brain.

The biggest game-changer was that I bought a countertop over/toaster at Target as well. The stove in this apartment (well, all the kitchen appliances) are big, energy-draining things that really need to be changed out for smaller, more efficent ones. The stove in particular is a problem: the temperature gauge is off by 100 degrees (!) and the interior space is humongous, where I don't need it. I don't really use it, because of these issues. I'd rather store stuff in it--which I will do, now!--and cook on my new little countertop. My Le Creuset casseroles and Dutch oven fit inside, and I can cook/roast a chicken or bake bread in here. I also saved $10 on the price, which was 20% of the total; I compared it to the other models, for twice the price, and decided I didn't need a digital/push-button set-up (I swear, that was the only difference, for $40 more!).

I've also always hated the microwave the landlord left: 2.2 cu. ft. of microwave, to be exact. Again, I don't use nearly that space so the countertop footprint was annoying. I used it more to put things on. It's going into storage in the apartment, and I'll get along without it.

The kitchen already looks lighter and more efficient.

Today's tasks: completing #4, 5 and 7.
The positive aspects: about 50% more counterspace and an entire cabinet shelf emptied (pots now stored in old stove). Brilliant!

Monday: Got #4 & 7 done. The kitchen looks and feels so much better! Today's tasks include #5 and washing the floor and laying the rugs back down.

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