Tag Archives: kitchen organizing

How a Thrift Store Find Helped Me to De-Jam My Kitchen Drawer and Get to Sleep In on Saturday Morning

One of the first shopping addictions I ever got since I moved to the U.S. was thrift store shopping.


Having moved countries with one suitcase that held clothing not very suitable for the American culture, I had to get my wardrobe and I was on a budget. My soon to be husband at that point lived a bachelor’s life with a kitchen that needed to become a cook’s kitchen and a desk being used for a dinner table. So, yes, I learned to love thrift stores really fast.


Later on, moving states, switching from an apartment to a house, moving states again… What can I say? Thrift stores, craigslist, neighborhood garage sales had saved us lots of funds that would be used on something else.


Why am I telling you all this? Because I just got done thrift store shopping and found some awesome items, of course!


Usually, when I come home from that kind of shopping and he sees my glowing eyes, he says, “Look , boys, mama is back with some treasures”!


But not this time. This time, when I showed him my finds and told him what I was going to do with them, my dear husband said, “Thanks, God!”


Would you like to know what I told him? I said,


“This will help us to de-jam our kitchen drawers”.


Being a person who is into creating systems and making things work for my family, I have been struggling with this particular drawer for way too long. We have lived in this same house for five years and this is the most hard-working drawer in my kitchen. It holds my spatulas, and whisks, and ladles, and the potato masher. I cook a lot and I love to cook. I also multitask when I cook, meaning I can be making soup, dicing veggies for a freezer meal, and baking cupcakes at the very same time.  It requires clear counter space and LOTS of cutting boards and utensils to avoid cross-contamination. And HAND WASHING. But that’s for a different post.


Having decluttered that particular drawer more than once I have come to a conclusion that I need a better solution. I didn’t want to just go online and buy a fancy crock that would probably cost anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars depending on the brand. Most likely I won’t love it. It would just be a piece I use in my kitchen.


A couple of days ago I had to run to Walgreens to pick up a couple of thing for the presentation I was doing next morning and I had a free hour. And a thrift store is right there. How could I resist?


This place I went to has two aisles with shelves full of knick-knacks, glass, plates, bowls, cups, holders… You name it. There is so much stuff, that it is hard to see anything. I literally spent an hour in those two aisles. Slowly moving from one shelf to another, scanning the contents and picking things up.


My tip for thrift store shopping is completely opposite to what I recommend when you are decluttering your house. When decluttering, you want to detach from your belonging, so I ask that you don’t touch and hold them.


While thrift store shopping, do not grab a cart. If you see something you like, pick it up and carry it around with you (given we are talking small-ish items, not bookshelves or coffee tables, yes?). Keep looking around. Found something different? Put the first item dow, it’s not going anywhere, and pick up the next thing. Listen to yourself. Is there a bond being created between yourself and this item?


Why is this bond so important? Because the last thing I want you to do is to get more clutter into your home. If something is going to make its way in, I want it to bring value and joy and be functional.


I had picked up and carried around three different items at that time. But after I held them for about ten minutes I could tell I wasn’t that thrilled about bringing them to my home and adding them to my life. I put them back.


If it doesn’t thrill you, leave it where you found it.


As I was ready to leave empty handed, I saw IT. Sitting in the back of the highest shelf (yay to being 6 feet tall, it does have its advantages sometimes). Sporting of white color and round shape. Hand drawn flowers. A nicely shaped spout.


It is heavy. No nicks or scratches. A bit dirty, but nothing baking soda wouldn’t take care of. Made in Italy. Three dollars.


I am thrilled. I am happy for I have found this one item I didn’t know I was looking for. It will hold my utensils so it is functional. It will please my eyes. It will make my husband’s kitchen adventures a lot more pleasant. He makes breakfasts on the weekends to let me sleep in. How dear is that?


Woo hoo! This is how I know this little pitcher has found a new home in my kitchen.


I brought it home, gave it a good wash, re-arranged some spatulas and used a bigger tray underneath all of that to corral it all in one spot. DONE!



Do you like thrift shopping?

What is your perfect?

Perfectionism. Perfect. Perfecto. Can’t stop until it’s perfect. I will never get it to be perfect, so why even bother? Does this sound familiar?
I am a perfectionist. The things listed above are often the ones that prevent me from achieving my goals.It is so easy to let the perfect become the enemy of good. We get caught in the trap of perfect so often, we may not even realize it. Did you know that one of the reasons why we do not get things done is because we know we can not make it perfect?
But we don’t have to. Whatever it is you are working on, if your goal is perfection, I suggest you slow down and do this small exercise.
Get out a sheet of paper and a pen, and describe your “perfect” in detail. It can be written in a form of a short essay, a note to self, or just a bullet point list. Once you have a full picture, think what steps you need to take to achieve that.
For example, if your “perfect goal” is to have a house with no clutter in clear view, what would the steps be to achieve that? I normally start with my kitchen counters, and once they are clear I move on to other tasks. What is your point of beginning?
Next step would be to keep up and not mess up the area I worked on. This is where a rotating schedule comes in. I have a kitchen cleaning scheduled on Monday mornings. I have this luxury since we homeschool and while the kids are working on their school at the kitchen table I can supervise and help as needed as well as get some work done myself. Once you go through the same rotation several times, you will notice how your hands automatically clear the counters on the go even not on a scheduled day. It becomes a habit, something that is done on the regular basis and doesn’t take that much time anymore.
Now, here is a short disclaimer. Before I moved my kitchen into rotating schedule, I made it a point to declutter. So, for my perfect kitchen I needed:
Step 1 Declutter.
Step 2 Think really hard before bringing a new piece in, no matter if it’s a new coffee mug or another appliance.
Step 3 Deep clean.
Step 4 Add deep cleaning and clearing to my rotation.
Step 5 Stick to the rotation schedule and make it work.
Step 6 Enjoy my fabulous and perfect kitchen!