Taking Back My Kitchen

Or At Least Part Of It

In Casa De SnoCo Gal, there are two adults, four children (now that one has moved off to college), five cats, and one very, very, big puppy. With working, going to school, activities, and of course taking time to do the things we love and spend time together, there is never enough time to get organized or even keep the house completely clean for that matter. Organization it needs though, but there was no one I was tackling all of it for the Spring Cleaning issue though, so I took some advice from Monika Kristofferson (catch our interview with her HERE) and choose one space to work on.

My kitchen has been on my mind on for awhile. We remodeled it before I really got into old things, so for me, it looks way too new. To solve that, I’ve been collecting odds and ends to give it some age and character, including some project pieces that have been laying across my kitchen and home for that very purpose.

There is a more important reason to choose my kitchen though. Since having to make all of my meals from scratch due to my health problems, I actually use it, ALL the time. The problem is, with all the people in the house, the counters are always covered in things that people didn’t put away. The bigger problem, when they do put things away, it isn’t where they belong.

My measuring spoons and cups, various spices, pot holders and towels, and even baking pans are scattered to parts unknown. It makes finding the things needed to cook and bake harder than the actual cooking and baking sometimes, as well as beyond frustrating. I can’t let them take all the credit though, I’m part of the problem too.

As I began cooking and baking more and more, I started taking over more and more cabinets and drawers. The end result was similar things being spread out between them and things getting put away wherever there was room to shove them. Yep, my main cabinet for baking ingredients, is a disorganized mess.

So, time to do something about it. Since there was no way I was getting the whole kitchen organized and keeping it that way, I opted to take over the part we like to call the peninsula. Why is called that? It is part of a running joke with my kiddos. Whenever I tell them to clean up the “island” their excuse for not doing it is, “we don’t have one.” They are kind of right about that, so now, to be geographically correct, we have a peninsula, and it is about to be all mine.

FROM ABOVE:  Colanders from Antique Station Snohomish and Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace Camano; Vintage Coffee Grinder from Star Center Antique Mall Snohomish; and Basket for my coffee & tea from Reclaimed Heart Arlington. Coffee from Original Pilot House Monroe and Spotted Cow Mill Creek and tea from O’Malley & Potter Bothell and Tea With Your Dragon Stanwood.

Step One: Cleaning Out The Old

One of the biggest problems with our kitchen is having multiple bags, boxes, and containers of the same thing. The kiddos never combine or throw things away when putting groceries away. The new just gets shoved in front of the old. Then there is me. Half the time when I’m at the grocery store, I have no idea what we have, so we end up with extras of things we already have. That is about to change though, at least for the things I use anyway. One step at a time.

So, I set out to throw away the expired, combine the half used, and fill up some of my new vintage and antique containers I had been picking up. I even repurposed one of our old milk bottles to hold my coffee beans, and of course there is my collection of colanders which is used for holding our CSA Box fruit.

Next up came making room for everything that didn’t fit in those containers. That meant cleaning out the cabinets and drawers of the peninsula. Once everything found a place, mostly my now cleaned out and ingredient free cabinet. Once that hurdle was crossed, the remaining ingredients found a new home in a drawer.

Step Two: Getting Organized

What good are ingredients without the tools needed to cook and bake with them. It was off to find all of those next. I scoured cabinet after cabinet and drawer after drawer seeking out measuring cups, my rolling pin, muffin tins, and more. I never did find the measuring spoons, a whole set anyway, in time for the photos. I will find them though.

Given how often we go through basics like silverware and knives, and how destroyed everyone else has made the pans in our home, I opted for new ones of my very own. After all, I will be using them to make some cooking videos for you guys. My choices, much prettier and shinier than the old ones.

New and old tools in hand, it was time to find them new homes on and in the peninsula. For some things, there were more vintage and antique containers awaiting. For others there were empty cabinets and drawers waiting to be filled. Taking some suggestions from Monika Kristofferson (featured on pg. 26) like things were put together.

So, pans for the oven and our counter griddle, skillet, and slow cooker went to one side and my array of baking sheets and tins, pie and cake pans went on the other. Finally, all of the smaller tools found there way into a drawer, ONE drawer.

FROM ABOVE: Vintage Measuring Cups from Old Town Antiques Stanwood; Mini Grater, Spiralizer, and Cake Decorating Tips from Arlington Hardware Arlington, Hilton Pharmacy Marysville, and Dawn’s Candy & Cake Lynnwood; Metal Flour & Sugar Containers and Can Tool Holder from The Rusty Crow/Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace Stanwood; Rooster & Pig Salt & Pepper Shaker from Star Center Antique Mall Snohomish; Dessert Spatula from Hilton Pharmacy Marysville; Salad Tongs from Keltic Kraze/Artisans Mercantile Snohomish; Loaf Tin from The Wooden Spoon Edmonds; and spirits from Kkada Marysville, Skip rock Snohomish, and Temple Distilling Lynnwood

Step Three: Decorating

With all the hard work aside, it was on to the fun part, giving my little peninsula some style and finding spaces for some of my favorite things. From adding signs to finally putting my odds and ends projects to us as pot holder and towel holder

I even broke out my silly Salt & Pepper shakers that are a rooster telling you to eat more bacon and a pig telling you to eat more eggs. The silliest part about them, I have no idea which is for the salt and which is for the pepper. It is a question that puts, what came first the chicken or the egg, to shame. They hold nothing, I just love them.

I’ve also found myself loving all things a bit rusty. What better way to make an too new kitchen look old. My additions, the rusty springs I used to hang pot holders, and a dish rack that holds some beautiful old plates, and just happens to hold up a rustic garden tool where my wine glasses hang. Those pieces, and the way they work together, are probably my favorite part of my new space.

FROM ABOVE: Dishes and Repurposed Stamp Holder Spice Rack from Start Center Antique Mall Snohomish; Apothecary Bottles from The Gold Door Gold Bar; Rusty Dish Holder and Garden Tool turned wine glass holder, as well as trivets from Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace Camano; Wine Holder from Cedar & Pine Stanwood; and wine from Randolph Cellars Snohomish and Aesir Meadery Everett; Eat sign from Junk in the Ol’ Trunk Monroe; Old Door Knobs turned towel holders from Rustic Redemption Granite Falls; Measurement Conversion Chart from Keltic Kraze/Artisans Mercantile Snohomish; Rusty Springs turned Pot holder Holders from The Red Door Gold Bar. Towels & Pot holders from The Wooden Spoon Edmonds. Hand painted No Kids Allowed Sign by me!

Step Four: Keeping It Organized

I know what you are probably thinking. After the disorganized mess you had before, and the reasons why, how are you going to keep that peninsula looking like that? Not to worry, I took a lot of time to think about. For starters, that is why I chose to tackle the peninsula only, and not the entire kitchen. That leaves my little mess makers plenty of other counter space to use. Then there was also doubling up on some things, so there would be no use to use, move, and lose mine.

Other steps I’ve taken. One of my cabinets has a tub for holding and washing dishes. So, when I use something, I can keep it separate from the rest of our dishes, and make sure it gets back where it belongs. The icing on the cake is the hand painted sign I created. It screams out no kids allowed, and warns against touching, borrowing, taking, or making messes. Violators are of course subject to law of mom, aka me. It may turn out to be more funny than functional, but for the most part, other than using my counter, it has worked. I’m hopeful. Only time will tell!

Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. It is all about shopping, eating, drinking, and playing local in Snohomish County. More importantly, it is about the ways that local choices can make your life better. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!). As if that wasn’t awesome enough, each issue contains exclusive content that can’t be found on our website or social media accounts. So if you aren’t getting a copy each month you are missing out.

Single issues can be bought HERE and annual subscriptions, which include exclusive giveaways and discounts, can be signed up for HERE. Finally, a limited number of printed copies are available at The Chic Boatique and Artisans Mercantile in Snohomish and Reclaimed Heart in Arlington, Vintage Company No. 7 in Bothell, Dahlia’s Vintage Marketplace on Camano Island, and Rustic Redemption in Granite Falls.

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