Large Family organization 2 years later part 2

organizing feature Welcome to our updated series, to see how and if what we do still works well 2 years later.  Today we are focusing on our kitchen.

Over the years, I have had numerous sized kitchens.  When I did my last series, I had a much smaller kitchen and could not store everything in it.  In our current home, everything has to fit in the kitchen, I have no other storage options.

One of the biggest things that takes up space is our food. I used to have a 3 month supply of food storage, but since moving here to North Carolina, I haven’t gotten to that place of storing up food yet.  I guess I figured if we were to starve my husband would catch some fish and we would eat berries and plants from the woods—smile.  When we did move down, we took all of our food supply with us and ate off of that for quite a while.  But now, we have only about one month supply of food on hand.

Once per month I do the bulk of our food shopping.  Food resources are different down here and I find that I have more options of finding things at a surplus store.  So sometimes I have more of one thing than another, it just works.

One thing that I miss having is a Bulk Food Store in the area. I no longer buy the spices that I once did from them.  I now have resorted to Sams Club and Walmart for their large spice containers.

I have been saving Parmesan cheese containers and reuse those for our spices.  Sometimes I can get smaller containers of spices for cheap, then I just pour them into the Parmesan containers to take up less space.

We have the following on hand always:

  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • minced onion
  • baking soda
  • baking powder homemade with no aluminum
  • cinnamon and sugar mix
  • thyme
  • cumin
  • basil/oregano mixed (I realized I use these spices together always, so why not put them together to save time?)
  • ranch mix
  • chicken and beef bouillon –I can get these in large containers for about $4 from Walmart.

 

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Inside my cupboard doors, I keep recipes that we use quite frequently.  It makes it easier than having to open up the laptop when I need to bake each week. It includes our whole wheat honey bread, cinnamon rolls, and waffle recipe.

IMG_20150629_141130Here is the bulk of our food storage.

IMG_20150629_141953I went to Sams Club and they gave away the free 5 gallon buckets—they are so much nicer than the round ones I had purchased years ago to store my bulk food in and they open easily.  They are rectangle shape and seem to take up less space even though they are the same size as the round ones.  On the bottom I have:

  • 5 gallon coconut oil
  • white flour—for market baking
  • whole wheat flour–for our baking
  • sugar
  • rice
  • oatmeal
  • cocoa powder—yes I had to buy 50 lbs of this!!
  • flax seed–another 25 lb bag I had to buy
  • popcorn seedsIMG_20150629_141942

In the gallon containers, I store smaller supplies that are in the large 5 gallon buckets.  We have some for:

  • rice
  • oatmeal
  • sugar
  • healthy snack mix for kids
  • chocolate granola
  • wheat bulgar—the other 25lbs is stored in the freezer
  • wheat germ—the other 25 lbs is stored in the freezer
  • popcorn seedsIMG_20150629_141949

In the Folgers coffee red containers I store:

  • unsweetened coconut
  • cocoa powder
  • chocolate chips
  • powdered milk
  • instant mashed potato flakes–for thickening soup
  • pecans
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • brown sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • cranberries

In the square ice cream boxes I store:

  • dried black beans
  • dried pinto beans
  • dried lentils
  • dried red beans
  • dried kidney beans

I also keep in here:

  • whole wheat pasta
  • tortilla
  • cereal
  • tortilla chips
  • crackers
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • my restaurant size roll of plastic wrap and aluminum foil

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We keep our broom and Swiffer floor mop in here as well.  Easy access for us to sweep up.IMG_20150629_142005

I also store a small cooler bag that I use for trips made with lesser amount children.  I can store 4 water bottles in this bag. I usually take to church on Wednesday and Sundays.

I have some more cabinet space that I store canned food items in.  If anything is open or in a plastic bag, I transfer it to a plastic container with a lid. It seems they have more creepy crawly bugs here in North Carolina–smile.  Everything gets put away after opened, I take no chances.

I have one refrigerator up here and one refrigerator in the garage.  I only use the one in the garage for excess food on monthly shopping trips.  It also stores my wheat germ, wheat bulgar, and white wheat flour excess.  I need a cool place and the freezer of that works well for that.

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I loved having a baking cupboard in my last home.  I kept everything in one central location.  It saved on fumbling from here and there while doing my baking.  I keep my food processor, mixer, measuring cups, and a tin full of supplies on the first shelf

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I painted an old tomato can and use that to store my baking supplies in.  Much easier than fumbling around in a drawer and they are all in one place.  This holds my beaters, measuring spoons—I only keep a Tablespoon and teaspoon, thermometer, cookie scoop,whisk, pastry brush, and strainer.IMG_20150629_140944

On the next shelf is our cake pans.  We use these for cinnamon rolls.  I also store my strainer here.  It is just in a good place–when needing to strain the pasta.  I keep a small stainless steel mixing bowl inside of the strainer for small mixing jobs. In the middle are stainless steel bread pans, I have 6 of those and the rest of my food processor.  IMG_20150629_141017

Up on the top shelf, which is out of the way are items I rarely use.  Wax paper, parchment paper, large 2 gallon plastic bags—I use for homemade popsicles, muffin cup liners, applesauce machine, and blade for food processor.IMG_20150629_141154

My kitchen drawers are simple.  The top one stores my cutting items.  I keep 3 pairs of scissors.  They seem to disappear in our home so I keep extra.  I have one large butcher knife, one bread knife, and 2 vegetable pairing knives.  I bought these at an Amish store and they will last forever. My husband bought me a blade sharpener at Walmart and now my knives stay very sharp.  I still have the same “Made in America”can opener from 2 years ago!!!!!! You can read my love-hate relationship with can openers here.

I then keep the blue container with 3 smaller serving spoons, potato peeler, thermometer for meat and an ice cream scoop.  Items we don’t really use, but use enough that we have them–smile.IMG_20150629_141223

My next drawer has plastic bags and hot pads.  I usually try to wash out all my plastic bags  and use them until I can no longer use them.  When I wash them out I store them in a large can that I painted and store in my plastic cupboard.  This month, we needed more so I have a fresh new box of them.  IMG_20150629_141259

This is my household drawer.  Our garage/basement is something that you have to walk outside to access, so I like to keep some items in here.  I have our rechargeable batteries–I will never go back to regular ones again and wall charger.  A small thin screwdriver set, wall anchors, extra cords, and some tape.  Weird items, but things I wanted to know where they were at. IMG_20150629_141320

The bottom drawer is for our kitchen washcloths and towels.  I purchased utility microfiber cloths and cut them in half to use for washcloths.  They are much more manageable when they are smaller.IMG_20150629_141346

I have a kombucha cupboard.  It stores all my quart jars and of course kombucha brew.  We have a constant supply of 5 gallons going.  IMG_20150629_141411

Under my sink, I store on the right hand side my waffle maker, griddle, and cutting boards. In the middle I store my everyday cleaning supplies.  We make our own all natural supplies.  In the brown container are homemade wipes that I made.  I took some rags and cut them up and used all purpose cleaner as the liquid.  I daily wipe up the bathrooms with these.  Saves on paper towels.  I keep an ice cream bucket for my husband and son to use whenever they need one.  They usually are quick to grab my good bowls—I got smart and keep one in here constantly!!.  I keep our window cleaner, wood cleaner, and all purpose spray. IMG_20150629_141422

On the left in the back, I use a plastic dish pan and store our trash bag roll in it.  I keep any extra grocery store bags to use in the bathroom trashes. I have a box of SOS Pads that came with the house in here.  Up front is a small shoebox container and I store in it my cleaning microfiber rags.  I also have my microfiber floor mops in here–we have 2 in rotation.  The grey pads are dishing drying mats.  I have 2 of those as well.  I have a small container to the right that holds a sponge for cleaning bathrooms, a scrub brush, and a metal scrubber for the pots.IMG_20150629_141437

In my dishes cupboard, it holds all the serving dishes we eat with.  I used to have cafeteria style plates but now that the children are older, we got rid of those.  I bought these melamine plates at Walmart and they are indestructible.  We have 10 place settings and that is all we need.  When we have guests, we use paper.  I have plates, blates—as we call them they are plates and bowls in one, cereal bowls, and smaller bowls. We have some blue plastic tumblers for drinks.  I have 2 sippie cups for the 3 year old and we have plastic reusable Starbucks coffee cups for our morning coffee.

The shelf above the bottom one holds paper plates, 2 matching serving bowls, and 1 glass baking dish and 1 glass baking bowl with lid. IMG_20150629_141503

Up on the top shelves, which are out of the way are our cleaning items.  I keep borax, washing soda, baking soda, tea tree oil, oven cleaner, salt, dish soap and extra sponges.IMG_20150629_141507

The other top holds extra lightbulbs, small plastic cups for homemade popsicles, popsicle sticks, plastic silverware,  and a gallon  of vinegar.IMG_20150629_141547

We have some large bowls that we use for mixing and serving up foods.  One is a stainless steel restaurant salad bowl from Sams Club.  I have a few plastic bowls for popcorn and larger type salads that need lids.  There are 5 total.IMG_20150629_141559

Here is my plastic cupboard.  I found these large rectangle containers at a Dollar Store and use them all the time.  I then use my deli containers over and over for freezing foods.  The blue can is where the extra baggies go when washed.  IMG_20150629_141648

We still only use 2 large cooking pots.  I have one smaller saucepan as well.  I have muffin tins and stainless steel baking pans from Sams Club.  They are the kind that you use for catering.  I have a large turkey roaster pan that rarely gets used, but when I do a large food prep, I am glad I have it.  That is the white pan.IMG_20150629_141657

Under the stove are my baking sheets.  I have the same large jelly style roll pans from years ago, 2 of them.  Then we have 6 insulated cookie sheets.  They came 3 in a pack from the store.  Works great after all these years.  I keep my chicken fryer pan in here as well.  I use this for making eggs, spaghetti sauces, and for frying fresh fish.IMG_20150629_141738

Above my stove are some miscellaneous items.  We keep our drink containers that the girls use for lemonade and sweet tea sales.  I have a few cookbooks and some disposable pans—for easy clean up.IMG_20150706_165741When we do dishes, I didn’t bring my large dish rack, so I resorted for large drying mats.  I love them.  I no longer have to leave dishes out all day drying, because I have enough helpers to help put things away.

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I have a new addition to my counter top—a coffee pot!! For years I have drank instant coffee and used my electric water kettle, but my husband said no more—he said I was to move up into the coffee realm—smile.  Now we have a pot that is ready before we wake up each morning. IMG_20150629_141041

My chicken planter is the only other item that I leave out.  It makes me think of the country days that we had.  The other day I did hear a rooster up on our mountain—I am going to investigate.  We use this to store our large utensils.  I still have the same as I did 2 years ago.  I believe the only item I have had to replace is my meat/potato smasher.

  • 2 large stainless steel spoons
  • soup ladle
  • potato/meat smasher
  • pancake flipper
  • cake cutter
  • tongs
  • wooden spoon

I don’t have a photo but I did a post on where we keep our silverware. My counter tops are clean and empty for the most part.

IMG_20150629_140701 One more addition to the kitchen—the 32 gallon trash can.  I thought I would humor myself and I started using a “normal” sized trash can when we first moved here.  Yes that lasted about 1 day.  Then I went right back to the supersized one.  We still have to empty it usually every day.  Lots of people.

We do have a microwave in this home.  I keep 2 bowls that can be used for heating things up.  I rarely use it, but it is still there.

I forgot to mention that we own a toaster and air popcorn popper.  These are stored in the canned food cupboard

So in conclusion, we have lost a few items since moving to  North Carolina–mostly the breakable items.  I have learned that you can live with less than you think. Just by having the items that we use everyday helps cut down on the mess and workload.  There is no need to have extra bowls and cups, it would just allow us to let more sit dirty in the sink.  This way we get the dishes done after each meal and then we are ready for the next.   The only time, I noticed that we needed more serving bowls were on holidays, when we make an abundance of food.  I  then grab a pack of disposable foil pans. That makes clean up a breeze.

So where do you have too much??  Can you start today by going through one cupboard or one drawer and weeding it out? Is there some things that you have “too much” of?  I think we can all learn to live with less.   Having more items on the counter means that you have to wipe more things off each day.  Those are all time wasters.  Use your time for important things.

Up next dining room…..

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