January 15, 2013

The Decluttering Spread

Yesterday I started Hannah Keeley's 30 Day Power Purge. Every day for the next month, she's giving out decluttering challenges with the intention of having the whole house decluttered at the end of the challenge.

This first week, the challenges are all in the kitchen and dining area. Yesterday we were asked to purge the refrigerator and freezer. Then today's assignment was the pantry and spices.

Our pantry after I finished with it this morning.
The food storing part of the pantry was no big deal. I clean that out on a weekly basis, and the organization system is not really as neurotic as it looks in the photo. We just have a small pantry, so I usually just keep the same staples around all the time. Stacking them like that makes for super fast cooking and making shopping lists easy peasy.

The bottom of the pantry is where things started to escalate. You see, I usually avoid that bit when I do my weekly pantry clearing. It was mostly used to hold a few cases of soaping ingredients and our paper products, so it worked well enough. However, as it's still technically part of the pantry, I figured I needed to give it a go. As it happens, looking at the bottom shelf without the paper products, I realized it would be a much better fit for all my molds than the teeny top shelf in my "china" cabinet. 

That particular bit of furniture was completely taken over by soaping supplies last year when the new line added far more fragrance oils than I could house on the crafting supply bookshelf. Within an hour, my kitchen table was buried under fragrance oils, mineral oxides, bath and body products awaiting their photo shoots once the sun decides to grace us with its presence again, packaging supplies, and paper products.

Yes, I really do use all those fragrance oils in the 18 blends, plus three in development.
It was a job and a half, but I'm pleased with the results. I have the waiting products, soap inserts, and brand new candle making supplies there on the top. The second shelf has my fragrance oils, organized by fragrance line, the mineral oxides, and a few tools.

I did have to leave the fizzy bath tabs waiting their turn in the spotlight there on the main shelf because of their fragility, but they'll be packaged as soon as we stop getting flooded.

This has to be my most used cabinet ever. Cooking or soaping, I always need something from it.
After all that, I was finally able to move on to the spices. Wouldn't you know, soaping supplies have half taken over that cabinet too. I never imagined the store would eat my house when I opened it, but we're managing.

This one was pretty easy. The top shelf never changes much. It's my gloves, the gigantic measuring cups I make the soap in, vanilla color stabilizer, the preservative for the soaps with herbal colorants, my big batch double boiler pot, and a bunch of smaller tools held within the pot.

The middle shelf was the main issue this time around. I had a pound bag of finely ground rosemary powder I used to color the Potions Master soaps stored there not so long ago. Well, you see the scissors there? Yeah, the bag caught the wrong end of them a while back. There was still a lot of the fine powder on the shelf that had been hidden by some of the lesser used containers. I got all that cleared up, and now it holds my baking stuff on one side and soaping spices on the other with my measuring cups, scissors, soap thermometer, and the entire collection of droppers in the middle.

The replacement bag of rosemary powder now resides with the specialty oils, clays, and Dead Sea salt above the cabinets. (The store ate my kitchen whole, whole I tell you!)

The bottom shelf is pretty much just what I cook with, aside from the spray bottles that wouldn't fit on the upper two shelves. I have my big bowls, sweet spices, and then my savory spices.

It's funny how decluttering projects spread, isn't it? Reading through the comments on the challenge posts, I've seen it isn't just me. It did end up taking longer than the two hours, and it pushed our lunch back to 2:30 today. But I did more than the assignment, and it was totally worth it.

The real test is going to be in how it lives and stays maintained, but I think this will make both cooking and soaping easier and faster in coming weeks. Organizing my oils by scent line instead of fragrance family should help speed up locating all three to six oils used in each blend plus make noting the ones in need of reordering more noticeable. And it will be nice not to have to fight with my molds every time I go to make a new batch.

So I want to say thank you to Hannah for publishing this challenge. Thanks for the inspiration!


  1. I think it's some strange sort of power trip we get on when organization begins to fuzz our brains!