In the process of getting my kitchen together, I guess I was due for a headache. Fixing the functionality of my fridge and pantry went perfectly. No fiascos, no failures, in fact the most difficult part of it was making a second run to the store for Ball Heritage Jars . Organizing my other kitchen cabinets is turning out to be the exact opposite.
This task started with the best of intentions, and I had planned to complete it a month ago. I came home after first agreeing to write this post with a box in hand, threw open the cabinet doors prepared to purge and organize, and then panic seized me. I immediately closed the cabinet, set the box aside, and decided it was a great opportunity to enjoy the summer weather by taking a nice, long run.
This became a pattern over the past month: enter kitchen, open cabinet, close it in a panic and leave the building. It’s not that there’s anything scary or disturbing but there are two huge boxes of vintage dishes and kitchenware blocking access to everything. The panic? Since it took so long to find these treasures I definitely do NOT want to throw them out. 1960s baking canisters, antique cookie jars, over a hundred pieces of Franciscan Starburst and other mid-century dining sets, old novelty mugs, pastel Pyrex, original jadeite pieces, and other treasures are collecting dust and taking up precious storage space. I can’t get to anything now, but I can’t organize if they stay.
For every problem, there is a solution. And it’s a true WIN if the solution solves a different problem at the same time. Ok guys, call me Charlie Sheen because I am WINNING! I yanked those boxes out of the kitchen and started dragging them down the hall, repurposing items in every room along the way. Think about it – storage is ALWAYS an issue and a certain store does a mean business in selling people stuff to put their stuff in. So here I am with stuffable stuff already — there’s no point in hiding it away any more. Time to get that cabinet-clogging kitchen stuff out of the kitchen and into the rest of the house.
NOTE: I know that my décor is, well, kitsch-centric. If your tastes are less John Waters and more House Beautiful you can still follow my tips but sub out the atomic-era dishes and Barbie head mugs for more neutral dishware. Plus, if you’re pulling stuff from your kitchen to set up the rest of your house, you now have a fabulous opportunity for new dining items!
First Stop: Dining Room
Kitchen canisters are great for hiding those little things you need to have on hand but don’t want to look at. I had two large rosy canisters that matched the colors in my tiny dining room. Once dusted off and filled with assorted little things like cocktail tools and napkin rings, they found a new home on top of my buffet. To accent the kitchen-outside theme, I pulled a couple of mid-century salad plates from my hoarder boxes and hung them on the wall. One room down and the box is already lighter!
On to the Dressing Room
(It’s not as fancy as it sounds. It’s just a big walk-in closet with clothing racks and adressing table.) A giant floral serving bowl with ruffly edges has become a catch-all in my dressing room for assorted tchotchkes and old jewelry. A retro cake tin hides my old bakelite and handmade bracelets (if your hoarder siren isn’t going off by now you should probably go get it checked) and my Barbie head mugs can now keep my makeup brushes at hand on top of the vanity instead of in a drawer.
Buttons on Display!
I’d ended up with an extra Anchor Hocking Jar after my pantry reorg. For the past 14 years my spare buttons (some new, most vintage) have languished in a dark old fruitcake tin. They were eager to see the light and they’ve become an attractive curio item in my living room. My sewing scissors, spare thread and tape measures are now housed in nested pastel cookie tins, out of the way on top of my china cabinet.
Taking the Kitcsh to the Office
Sur La Table is a very kitchen-centric work environment so why not bring a piece of my kitchen to the office? My desk is already a little over-personalized (in my defense, I do spend a lot of time here so it may as well feel homey) and my new paperclip holder fit right in. I think I have about 50 of these cups and saucers at home. Wait, make that about 49 now.
I can’t say I’ve accomplished my goal but I did make a small amount of progress in getting things together in kitchen-land. Things are getting better and, in the end, I was able to clean out some of the extra clutter. I was even able to make enough room to justify purchasing this and this which were both, of course, desperately needed kitchen items. And since my wish list is bursting at the seams, I’m planning to stick with it and my goal is to have these cabinets cleaned and organized by the holidays. Now ask me what year.
What are your kitchen-cleaning resolutions? Have you ever repurposed a piece of kitchenware somewhere else in your house?