I’m so happy! While my husband was off hunting this weekend, I spent some time organizing the kitchen finally. It was quite overdue. Things were getting placed willy-nilly (gasp…I know!), the shelves were in desperate need of wiping down, and I wanted to organize things in such a way that eating the way I want to eat (sugar-free, grain-free, real food) would be easier. The less “bad choices” in the pantry and cupboard, the better.
Here are some before’s…
I started by clearing the shelves in the pantry, above the stove (which I forgot to get before’s of), and eventually a cupboard where I keep lunch containers that also needed rehauled. If something was expired, I tossed it. If I wasn’t going to use it (because it wasn’t “diet-friendly or was too processed or whatever the reason), I tossed it or decided where I could donate it. Some pantry items that could be donated for the Stuff the Turkey collection at school went into a sack for that. Everything else went on the counter or table to be sorted through.
I didn’t want to throw away perfectly good flour just because I’m not using it (though that would better ensure that I wouldn’t be tempted to revert to what I know rather than try a new grain-free alternative). I also recently read that some flours store better in the fridge or freezer (like whole wheat, and also almond and coconut flours). I decided to take the flours I don’t use much but hated to just waste (all-purpose, whole wheat, bread flour) to the fridge downstairs. I already store all my flours in Tupperware Modular Mates, but if I was able to switch containers to free up a size/shape that would better fit in the cabinet above the stove, then I swapped them out.
There are other things that I’m trying not to cook with or eat (mostly because of my skin issues) that I am trying not to bring back into the kitchen at all. Those things are…
- brown sugar – I ran out and decided to let it be gone. I currently use coconut sugar as a substitute for both brown and white, though I discovered we have over two bags of white sugar because I get it for my husband’s coffee (still working on training him to be healthier ;)).
- beans/legumes-While healthy and yummy, beans are tough to digest and are high in carbohydrates. For someone with skin issues, like me, or “leaky gut” problems, beans can be problematic (here’s a tidbit about that here). The Candida Free Cookbook says to avoid beans/legumes in the initial cleansing phase and to bring back slowly later. I’ll still probably have some beans now and then, but for now I’ll try to avoid. (I am using lentils that were in the pantry in a soup today.)
- cereal – Brad eats Honey Nut O’s every day for breakfast and Faith occasionally eats cereal, but I no longer do. I don’t feel the need (or desire) to have three or four different kinds of cereal around, and I think I make better choices for Faith when it’s not an option. I reduced the amount of containers in the pantry from three down to one for Brad’s cereal. I also have one with oats, though going grain-free I don’t eat those
- crackers – with the exception of graham crackers for the daycare kids, I try to avoid processed food out of a box as much as I can. Crackers fall into that, too. Previously I had two to four containers for crackers, plus a larger one for graham crackers and another for saltines. I kept the saltines (Brad eats them on soup…or rather eats soup with his crackers, as it turns out). I downsized the graham cracker container and got rid of the rest!
Once I started putting things back, I was happy to see some free space. I may decide that I need to have room for something else (and it occurred to me that having few non-perishablesmight not be great in an emergency situation), so I’ll leave the space for now.
The white baskets (photo above and below) that hold vinegars (apple cider, red wine, white wine and coconut vinegar), sweeteners (like stevia, brown rice syrup and agave, which I’m also getting rid of, and vanilla), peanut butter and oils (coconut, sesame and olive), finally got labels.
Most things were working so they stayed as-is. Bread is in a white bin in the pantry but I moved it to the middle of the shelf next to the baskets with onions/garlic and potatoes. To the left was open, so I put my tea kettle (which usually stays on the stove-top) and my French press there. The bottom shelf holds the things I really want to avoid…Faith’s candy box, crackers, marshmallows, popcorn, and tortilla chips (which I mostly keep on hand for Brad to snack on with salsa).
Since I had freed up space, I was able to move our lunch containers and lunch boxes to the pantry (more on that in a bit).
I didn’t get a before of the cabinet above the stove, but it looked pretty much like this only full and dirty. I wiped everything down, removed most of the flours, put things on top that I won’t use much (but again, didn’t want to just toss), and generally just tidied up.
This lower cupboard (below) is where I stored lunch containers, lunch boxes, daycare cups/bowls, and larger Tupperware containers for things like cupcakes/cookies and cakes. Because we had to bend down to see what was in there, it wasn’t always easy to find things, and stuff didn’t get put back very nicely (especially if I wasn’t the one doing dishes ;)). This was the state of affairs when I started…
…and this is how it looks now…
I need to cut a few more labels but there are less containers here now, which means less tossing and messes. The lunch containers, which we use more often, are in the pantry where they can be more easily seen. Eventually the daycare containers won’t need to be here at all. I was able to pull the larger Tupperware containers forward so we can see them better, too.
I had hoped for more organizing time overall this weekend but we enjoyed a fun girl day Saturday getting pedis and shopping with my mom, sister, bestie and daughter. I’m thrilled to have the kitchen halfway done, and Faith’s room is coming along, too…more on that soon!