I couldn’t take it anymore. The mess in my car was about to take over completely. My kitchen was about to explode. I needed to do something.
So I did.
Two weekends ago, I spent the better part of Friday afternoon, in 100-degree heat, cleaning the inside of my car. Between the passenger space and the trunk, I filled an entire garbage bag with … garbage. I vacuumed. I dusted. I organized.
It will never be new again. It’s almost ten years old. But at least people can sit on the seats again and find places for their feet on the floor. I’m not longer in danger of having my view obstructed by pieces of paper — gas receipts, printed or written out directions to various places around the state and elsewhere, random drawings left behind by children and teenagers … You get the idea.
It’s all gone. It feels good.
Now I just need to figure out how to repair the carpet in front of the driver’s seat that’s been worn away by ten years and more than 150,000 miles.
And then there was the kitchen.
The major complaint I have about my house is the lack of storage space. The living room/kitchen area is an open space with a wide doorway between and a bar that opens from the kitchen into the living room, so the space looks almost like one large room. The stairway rise above the living room so there is all that empty space underneath. The builders could have easily used that space for a large pantry.
Instead, the people who designed the townhouses I live in built a ridiculously large built-in entertainment center under the stairs next to the kitchen.
I’m not much of a fancy television person, so mine doesn’t take up anywhere near the amount of space allotted. I’ve had to put decorations in the space so it doesn’t feel so empty. And even if I were a fancy television person, the fancy televisions out there now are rectangular, not square, and much too wide for the space cut into the wall.
For those reasons, the space is impractical. And leaves not enough room in the cupboards for dishes, pots and pans, baking equipment and food. I’ve become very creative with space. I have the kind of cupboards with a lot of space above them. I moved my stereo, bottles of booze, martini and wine glasses, phone books, mugs I rarely use, a coffee maker and some baskets and candles to the top, which opened up cupboard and shelf space. I bought a metal rack of three shelves at Target and moved cookbooks, cereal, tea and some canned goods to it.
That helped, but it wasn’t enough.
(I should mention that in order to get to anything stored in the backs of my bottom corner cupboards, one must be a very small contortionist, so there’s even less space than appears if one wants to get to anything without injury.)
I regularly fear items jumping at me from shelves stocked too full every time I open a door. My extremely large silverware drawer often sticks due to overcrowding. My “junk drawer” where I keep all my tools was in a similar state. I could never find headache pills because there was so much stored on the shelf they were on, and my spices were in similar disarray.
I felt downright miserable about the situation. Frustration invaded every cooking attempt.
I’ve been thinking for a while about buying one of those cheap particle board pantry things for the overflow, but I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into the already overcrowded kitchen.
Finally, I decided to just buy one and figure it out.
A trip to Target netted a three-shelf cupboard with a set of two drawers that stack on top of the cupboard. I spent a couple hours on Sunday afternoon putting it all together and rearranging everything in my kitchen. Dish towels went in one drawer. Medicines in another (did I mention neither of my two full bathrooms has a medicine cabinet?). I moved some of the items out of the junk drawer into the leftover drawer space in my new cabinet. Tea, cereal, canned goods went inside. The coffee maker and my blender came off the counter and went onto the now-open wire rack. Cutting boards went into newly made open cupboard space. I have countertops again.
The wire rack sits in front of my air conditioning filter, which means I’ll have to move it every time I need to change the filter, but at least I can breathe again.
Thank you, Target. Your cheap and only slightly attractive storage devices saved me once again.