The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

I made my kitchen cabinet beg for mercy.

It’s week # 13 in Org Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organizing challenge. This week Org Junkie’s topic is “Purge Magazine Backlogs.

I don’t have this problem because me no read too good. But it’s worth checking out Org Junkie’s tips on this topic if you are a magazine person.

It’s also worth the click just to see that she actually quoted LITTLE OL’ ME! Can you believe it? Me! Bearded Iris. What a kick in the rubber parts! I sure do like that woman.

So this week, instead of purging my nonexistent magazines, I’ve been working in the kitchen… again. {deep sigh}

You see, I’ve agreed to host a Pampered Chef party next weekend for my sister-in-law, Teresa. You remember her… the one with the gorgeous hands? She’s just starting out in the wild wild world of Pampered Chef and really needs her family’s support right now, so I said I’d do it. And you’re all invited! {Make sure you RSVP so I can buy enough wine!}

Now, you should know, I am not a huge fan of purchasing parties. They are just so… I don’t know… consumeristic. And people like me with clutter problems don’t need MORE stuff. We need LESS stuff. Duh.

But I thought about a way I could do this for Teresa and still honor my current path. I am going to ask each of my guests to bring a gently used kitchen gadget to donate to a shelter for battered women. All the donations will go into a fabulous kitchen basket for a woman who needs to start over in a new kitchen of her own. Isn’t that a great idea? It’s not mine, although I certainly do appreciate your applause. I got it from Peter Walsh, another of my organizing gurus. He is running a “Declutter for Kindness” campaign to help the family of a teenage boy in Virginia who is the victim of a senseless, brutal beating. It’s a heartbreaking story, but I love how Peter is using his superpowers to help a family in need.

Besides helping others, this will also enforce the One In, One Out Rule to help us stay organized. It’s a win-win.

But also, from a more selfish perspective, if my party guests are focusing on how organized and altruistic they are, maybe they won’t notice my hideous kitchen cabinets. Or the dog-hair tumbleweeds rolling by. Or my nerve-induced B.O.

So yeah… I’m carving away at my krappy kitchen klutter bit by bit to make my house more of a home and my Pampered Chef party less of a colossal embarrassment. Oh the things we do for love.

Remember this area above the kitchen desk?

Wait. It gets worse. Go ahead, open the doors and look inside.

Oooooh-weeeee. How did it get like that? No matter. Let’s fix it.

Well, I followed the Org Junkie PROCESS (it’s really much better than my ROACHES technique) and cleaned that mother out. Man, if I could leave it like this, I totally would:

Next I did something totally crazy. I’m talkin’ straight-up rubber-room, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest ca-ra-zay. You’re not going to believe this, but I moved my cookbooks INTO the kitchen.

For reals.

I had been sloppily storing them in the basement (WTF?) on a gorgeous wrought iron shelf that I bought two houses ago and don’t have room for anywhere better.  You would think running up and down the stairs every time I need a cookbook would be a good thing for the old rump roast, but my brother still calls me “Saddlebags.” Butt-munch.

The hardest part (for me) about this whole decluttering process is that it is such a can of worms. You start working in one spot, then you have to “make room” somewhere else for the stuff you decide to keep, and then that other spot becomes a mess… and so on and so on. Like a domino effect of CRAP. Pretty discouraging at times.

Well I managed to make room for some of the less-frequently used things from the kitchen cabinet, in the dining room buffet, which had been previously storing school supplies (again, WTF?), but then I needed to find a new home for those. And, oh… I seriously need a margarita. And it’s Lent. And I’m on the wagon. And shit, this is hard. No wonder I’m living in squalor.

But I stuck with it and I conquered that som’bitch. Oh yeah. That cabinet is calling me Daddy and fetching my slippers right about now.

Drum roll please….

Let me open it up so you can get a better look-see:

Isn’t that better? The biggest change is the two baskets: one for me, one for my husband, The Gatekeeper. The baskets corral all the little clutter that we need easy access to like sunglasses, wallets, etc. What a difference.

Then I chose just a few of my favorite things to display: a flashy green $2 vase from Goodwill that I use all the time and some handmade pottery by the kids…

Nature Boy made this in preschool. I broke it into a million little pieces once, but The Gatekeeper glued it back together for me. He's da bomb. I like a man with a slow hand.

Nature Boy and Mini-Me made these for us at camp last year. They rock my world. The colors and big handles are fabulous.

...and look what's inside! A clay cheetah and clay piggie! So stinkin' cute & fun with every sip.

I totally forgot how much I loved those three little things. It’s hard to appreciate the stuff that really matters when it is buried under so much clutter!

And as for the other side…

I decided to move my tacky school calendar to the INSIDE of the cabinet instead of the outside of the pantry door thanks to one of my wonderful readers and commenters who told me two weeks ago that she keeps a baggie for those “evil Box Tops” taped inside her cabinet door so it’s close but out of sight. Simply brilliant. Thanks, Connie!

So that’s it. One more project down, 39 to go!  See you next Saturday at my Pampered Chef party, right?

Your friend,


PS – To catch up on my previous 52 Weeks projects, click here.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

20 comments on “I made my kitchen cabinet beg for mercy.

  1. Sue
    April 2, 2011

    Great Job Iris!!! Once again you make me laugh… you say the things out loud (well, sorta… ya know… you do it on here instead of out loud… but then again… hmmmm, if I were only a fly on the wall at your house…. lol ) that I think in my head all the time…. And Hello? Did you get my address wrong? I didn’t get my invite in the mail yet….. Hey… somethin’s fishy about not gettin’ it yet…. mumble, grumble, mumble….

  2. allysgrandma
    April 2, 2011

    We love our pampered chef garlic crusher. Not sure where it came from, I have never been to an actual party. Why don’t you just reschedule for after Lent, then we can all get sloshed!!

    Today I have been putting address labels inside my stack of quilting books….a very necessary organizing project..hahaha

  3. Sarah
    April 2, 2011

    You’re so right about not being able to appreciate the things you love when they are buried by clutter. Your cabinets look gorgeous!! I love the idea of using the one in one out for good too. I will definitely keep that in mind if I ever attend or host one of those purchasing parties.

  4. Erin
    April 2, 2011

    Love it!! I love decluttering things! I can not STAND clutter!!! It makes me break out into hives! I love how pretty your cookbooks look in there!

  5. Melissa
    April 2, 2011

    love the cabinet. turned out great. wanted to tell you about my two favorite pampered chef things besides their stoneware.
    1. the spatula-it’s heavy duty, solid, it works like a scoop, love it
    2. ground beef masher thingy-ma-jig-not sure the exact name of it, but you use it to break up ground beef when your cooking…i know, i know, it sounds really dumb, but i LOVE it, tell your sis-in-law another way to use it is to cut up spaghetti. i used to hate making spaghetti because i would always cut the noodles so the kids wouldn’t make a mess, but it takes a while…not with that thingy-ma-jig. you bang and twist a few times, and instant tiny pieces of noodles. like i said, i LOVE mine, and it does more than just break up ground beef when your cooking 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris
      April 2, 2011

      OMG, I have that thing too and I love it. I make my guacamole with it! Never tried to cut spaghetti though. Thanks for the tip!!

  6. Jellyhead
    April 2, 2011

    Way to strut your stuff Iris! That cabinet looks really great. Did anything make it to the toss or give away pile? That’s always the hardest part but I’m getting better at it, and it feels good. Good in a getting-your-kale-massage-on kinda way. I needed this inspiration — I’ve been putting off my own weekly project. Gotta get my ROACHES on tomorrow!

    • The Bearded Iris
      April 2, 2011

      Oooh, good question Jellyhead. Tossing/giving away is the hardest part for me too. I have a big pile on my dining room table that I need to get rid of ASAP. Can’t decide if I should try to have a garage sale or not. It would be nice to have a little extra cash, but I’m not sure it is worth all the work. Maybe I’ll just take it all to Goodwill and be done with it. Good luck tomorrow with your next project. Go ROACHES!!!

  7. Heidi
    April 3, 2011

    My Dad and his wife are Tupperware distributors and he is always on my case to sell Tupperware. I told him that:
    1) I don’t ever want to have to sell anything again, especially something that doesn’t bio-degrade. Has he never heard of PVC?
    2) This isn’t the 1950’s. Women don’t “need” these parties anymore as an excuse to get together. More often than not, it’s an inconvenience.
    3) The shit’s overpriced. I don’t care about your product guarantee. I’d rather just go to Target and buy a stack of Rubbermaids for 1/3 the price, then recycle them when they melt. Knowing that if Tupperware melts, and I can have my representative come over and deliver me a new piece, is not comforting. It’s creepy. Like I want some overhappy Tupperware lady on my porch every time one of my kids melts something.
    4) The whole guilt thing. You’re my friend, therefore you’ll feel guilted into buying some overpriced crap you don’t need, just to prove your friendship. I won’t be PARTY to that. 😉
    Anyway best of luck with the party…something tells me there’s a post to be gleaned from a bunch of drunk housewives playing with designer kitchen gadgets.

    • The Bearded Iris
      April 3, 2011

      Damn, Heidi… way to pee in my fancy over-priced bowl of Corn Flakes. Ix-nay on the egativity-nay! (At least until after the party.)

      You’re right, we don’t “need” these parties to get together, but given my housekeeping skills, I’d probably never have a party “just because.” I’m just hoping I’ll get a better turn out for Pampered Chef than I did for my sex toy party two years ago. Sadly. I was just shy of earning my own stripper pole.

  8. Martha (MM)
    April 3, 2011

    Great idea for the donations for the party and great job on your cabinets this week! Love the cups 🙂

  9. Rebekah
    April 3, 2011

    I love the idea of putting together a gift basket of kitchen items for someone who needs them – so thoughtful. Funny, smart, AND a giver…you’re the total package, aren’t you?

    I went to a Pampered Chef party once and bought a little wisk-y thing and an egg/mushroom slicer. I have to say, I really like the slicer – the way it cuts right through a hard-boiled egg. Like MAGIC. Especially since we all know how challenging egg-slicing can be.

    • The Bearded Iris
      April 3, 2011

      I have that same egg slicer. It really is awesome, isn’t it? I use it for strawberries and olives too because I am the laziest person ever (except for apple slicing, which apparently is an obsession). And yes, I AM the total package, thank you for noticing! My packaging is a little worn around the edges, the warranty is long expired, and the fresh-scent has totally faded, but other than that… wait, I may be missing a few nuts and bolts too. Damn. Oh well, the product inside the packaging still works, pretty much. What were we talking about?

      • Rebekah
        April 5, 2011

        Yes, strawberries and also mushrooms! I haven’t used it to cut olives but what a fabulous idea. I’m not much of a cook, but I can slice the hell outta stuff.

  10. Becky L.
    April 3, 2011

    Looking good! Love those mugs your children make….so cute! Pampered Chef stuff is great but I have too much stuff in the kitchen after being married so many years. Yes, something new, then get rid of something old is about right to keep things from going overboard and not being able to shut drawers/doors anymore!

  11. Gibby
    April 3, 2011

    Ummmmmmm…have you seen my house? You have, haven’t you? My junk drawer? Wait, let me clarify, my junk drawerS?? Maybe I should go organize them. Or one of them, at least. (Start small, right?)

    (Thank you for visiting my blog the other day! Gotta love “meeting” people on Twitter!)

  12. Alexandra
    April 3, 2011

    WOW! The cabinet looks amazing and I love those mugs your kids made.

  13. Susan Struck
    April 3, 2011

    You inspired me! Oh wait, I’m still sitting here in my recliner. Can I really claim to be inspired if I’ve not moved to act upon that inspiration? Hmmmm… Actually, what started out as inspiration is starting to feel a bit like guilt since my cupboards still look yucky. Anyway, nice post!

  14. Connie Corey
    April 4, 2011

    Oh, my gosh, I am so glad my comment helped you out!! Get those plastic baggies ready!

  15. margo
    April 4, 2011

    Everytime I read you posts, I end up calling my sister to read also because you crack me up every time, and that is usually just what I need! I can totally relate to finding a new place for the stuff you’re cleaning out. My husband fusses over the crammed basement full of “stuff” I “cleaned” out from upstairs. We didn’t have a basement at our last 1000 sq ft house so I think I am over compensating or something now.

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