Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thinking Outside the Kitchen Cabinet

Plates to the left. Cups on the right. Stack the bowls above. There seems to be a secret code of uniformity in cabinet organization. But, when you have a family of five squeezed into a 2 bedroom apartment, sometimes you have to buck the code. Especially when homeschooling is involved. I have three cabinets in which to fit dishes, crafts, cookbooks, homeschooling books, Presidential flashcards, assorted workbooks, and a lengthy list of assorted ribbons, learning tools, and paper towel tubes I am sure are good for something brilliant.
Solution? Simplify. And move the dishes. I let the kids each pick "their" bowl, plate, and cup, and set them in the drying rack. Every other dish I stacked and stowed below in the cabinet that was formerly a catch-all for everything crafty. Now, those are the only dishes we use. We eat. We wash. We stack. We repeat. That leaves the most accessible cabinets available for things I really need, like a Rapunzel coloring book or science kit. At first it was really odd opening the cabinets and seeing a bowl of beads and some popsicle sticks, but it is proving to be a fantastic idea. Cleanup is easier because we do it immediately after we eat. I always have an empty dishwasher for any big items since everything else is getting washed right away. The kids wash their own dishes (and the surrounding counters sometimes) and my craft supplies are less jumbled. Awesomeness.
The takeaway? Life (and kitchen cabinets) can only be lived one way: Your Way. I want crayons in my kitchen cabinet? Perfect. My sister in law has ribs on Thanksgiving? Fabulous. I use scissors to cut my pancakes? Ingenious. We aren't here to figure out how to live our lives the way other people do. We are here to figure out how we will take this body, this mind, this house, and this life and create something absolutely uniquely completely us--and allow everyone else to do the same. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to use an IKEA bag clip to fix my daughter's hair. Is that a problem?


  1. I love this, Morgen! We are about to move into a two- or three-room apartment, and I am looking around my four-bedroom 2,000 square foot rental and wondering how in the world we are going to do it. But you reminded me that you keep the essentials and move everything else out of the way. Why is it that that sounds so much easier than jumbling everything all the time? Thank you!

  2. Ah, so refreshing! When we were expecting our fourth, many friends thought we were crazy as we've only got two bedrooms also.

    But the family room worked great as a bedroom for our little guy for the entire first year of his life, and after that he moved downstairs to the one semi-finished room (the playroom with a baby monitor), and now he's joined the other three kiddos in the kids' room with a pair of old bunk beds that work wonders at packing in sardines.

    We're just now finally finishing, and digging out, our 80 year-old basement/dirt room, so we can frame in two roomy bedrooms for the kids. I've been somewhat in mourning lately, at the fact that all four of our children won't be in one spot anymore.

    And that cozy, rabbit-warreny smell will probably not be so present when my four "older" babies move into their new spaces downstairs within a month or two. When our new arrival, come May, will take over the kids' room upstairs single-handedly...I imagine that singing lullabies to the masses won't be an option anymore. Sigh.

    I agree with you whole-heartedly about thinking outside of the box, Morgen. If our pioneer ancestors could raise 14 children in two room cabins, I think we can raise three, four, or, even five children in two bedroom homes just fine. And who knows? If our contractor keeps going at the pace he's going, we may be doing just that come spring!

    I look forward to perusing more of your blog when time permits! Thanks for sharing your inspiration and ingenuity. ...