Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Cabinetalanche: noun.  The avalanche that happens because your kitchen cabinets are such a mess, whenever you try to take anything out, lots of things fall out.

I suck at cabinet organizing.  I'm usually so bored and exhausted by the time I'm doing the dishes, I just shove things in without much of a care about where it goes.  Well, except glass.  I'm careful with that.  Most people would call this laziness mixed with perfectionism ("I'm not going to put this away properly because...look at this mess!  What's the point?  It will take me forever to fix it!"), and the result is this:
Oh, the horror!  Oh, the shame!

Today, I sat down on a big fluffy towel in front of my pots cabinet and cleaned it.  I'm going to tell you how I did it.  If you are struggling with the same thing, maybe it will help.

1.) Check your space.  Do you have an underutilized cabinet?  I realized I had this one little one next to the stove that I never used.  I opened it and you know what?  It was full of phone books.  I kid you not.  Full.of.phone books.  Anyway, I cleaned out all the phone books and decided to use it for the smaller/thinner items that I rarely, but not never use.  If you have such an underutilized space, go clean it out and prep it.
See this dusty cabinet?  I totally forgot it even existed.
2.) Start removing things from the cabinet.  You don't have to do the WHOLE cabinet if it is on the large side.  A section or shelf at a time is fine.  As you pull things out, put them into piles 3 piles: things you use often, things you rarely (but not never) use, and things you will never use again/broken items/trash.

3.) Wipe down and dry shelves.  I used some of my infused vinegar cleaner.

4.) Throw out any trash and broken items.  This includes small appliances that you are never going to fix!  I found a broken coffee grinder, part of a food processor that broke years ago, the carafe to a coffee maker that I haven't owned in years...  Shut up!  Don't judge me!  Anyway, for items that are still good but you never use, you can donate them if you wish.  Everything else gets tossed.

5.) Place seldom used items in the underutilized space, if you have one.  If you don't, skip this step.

6.) Carefully stack and organize your often used items, and place them in the cabinet.  You want these close together so everything is right where you need it, without being so crammed that you can't remove just one thing.

7.) Now you have to figure out what you will do with the seldom used items, if you don't have an extra cabinet.  Hopefully you now have enough room in your newly-organized cabinet that you can put them off to the side.  I actually did this with some seldom used items that didn't fit in the former phone book cabinet.

And now, the reveal!
Ta-Da!  Wait...it looks like it might be time to finally change the contact paper that was probably put in 3 owners ago.
The hardest part is to keep it this way.  I'll admit that I usually clean out these cabinets around every 6 months to a year, but that is clearly not enough, especially since I found a ton of broken things in there.  I think I need to reorganize about every 2 weeks.  The very next time I was doing the dishes, I caught myself just shoving a pan in there and had to stop, backtrack, and do it properly.  I fully admit that this sort of thing does not come naturally to me.

As a final note, Husband, who does most of the cooking (I do the baking), came home, opened the cabinet, and said, "WOW!"  Warm fuzzies.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Upon Joining Twitter

I finally joined Twitter.  I did it after a fellow blogger that I read and respect made the very definite statement that to be a decent blogger, you must have Twitter.  I baulked at the advice.  I didn't want Twitter.  I wanted nothing to do with Twitter.  Twitter, in my mind, was this frivolous thing that only the famous and well-connected could possibly use.  I had a thousand reasons why I shouldn't.  She must have seen people like me coming and said flat out that our reasons why Twitter doesn't matter are wrong and just excuses.  I still didn't want to believe her.

But numbers don't lie.

I see tons of bloggers that are no better writers nor any more interesting than I am having thousands of followers.  So, I decided, I would give it a shot.  You know what the scary thing is?  I kind of enjoy it.  So, here I am, on Twitter.  You can find me here:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Herb Infused Vinegar All-Purpose Spray

My grandmother was alpha-wife.  Every single area of her home was amazingly tidy.  I'm talking 1950's TV show spotless.  Not only that, it seemed effortless!  Compared to her, I fail at cleaning.  I remember her using, and teaching us to use, heavy duty cleaners.  When I unexpectedly (seriously, completely unexpected) became a housewife and started caring for our own home, I used the same kind of cleaners.  You know the kind I mean.  Sprays that give off air-gasping fumes, harsh powders that you shake from a can, liquids that promise to get your home clean but are covered with warnings about calling Poison Control if you get them on your skin.  In the beginning, these were what I used because I didn't know there was anything else.  They had been part of my life since childhood, and honestly, it never even occurred to me that these cleaners were even dangerous.

It all began around the time we received our beloved Corgi from a rescue.  I read (but fully admit that I don't know if it is true) that dogs like the taste of pine and will lick pine-scented cleaners off the floor and drink it wherever they find it.  Did I mention I don't know if this is actually true?  Anyway, I didn't want to test the theory, and switched to nontoxic vinegar/water solution to clean the floor.

Soon after, I gave birth to Little Viking.  Around that time I started to  realize that vinegar can be used to clean lots of things.  Lots and LOTS of things!  Floors, counters, appliances, toilets!  I realized just how toxic "normal" cleaners are, and loved the idea that if they got into vinegar, it wouldn't hurt them.  After that, I branched out to use vinegar sometimes, and Doctor Bronner's other times, but never together. 

I still loved using vinegar, but the smell, oh, the smell!  Yes, yes, I know.  The smell disappears as the vinegar dries, but in the meantime it is pretty awful.  I know some people don't mind it, but it's just such a strong smell.  Then, I ran across a post by Crunchy Betty that suggested infusing vinegar with dried herbs and essential oil.  I thought, "I wonder if fresh herbs in my garden would have the same affect?"  I decided it was worth a try.  I went to the garden and cut leaves and stems of whatever struck my fancy.  If I remember correctly, I grabbed some thyme, oregano, lemon balm, rosemary, a little bit of lavender leaves, and some peppermint, and made myself some awesome all-purpose cleaner.
The result was amazing.  Whatever I cleaned smelled fresh and herbal, with just a hint of vinegar underneath.  The next time I did it, the result was still good, but completely different, since I very literally just threw in whatever herbs caught my eye and added whatever essential oils I liked at the end.  Currently I have yet another version infusing with tangerine peels and mint.

Here is my version of herbed vinegar all-purpose spray using fresh herbs, with a major hat tip to Crunchy Betty.  To see her original recipe that I based mine off of, head over here.

Herb Infused Vinegar All-Purpose Spray
Vinegar infused with...uh...random herbs 

What you'll need:

Handfulls of fresh herbs  (It helps if you use scents that work together.)
A few cups of vinegar
Large jar or container with a lid
Essential oil of a complimentary scent (optional, but nice)

Snip any long leaves and stems so they are shorter.  I tend to crumple the herbs in my hand a little bit to release some of the oils.  Place in the jar and cover with a cup of vinegar or two.  I'll be honest and say sometimes I use a cup of vinegar.  Sometimes two.  Sometimes I use a cup and a half like Crunchy Betty suggests.  What can I say?  I'm inconsistent.  However, it always works out.

Put the lid on the jar and let it sit for about a week.  Shake it once a day or when you remember.  If you let it sit longer than that, don't worry.  It will just have more of an herb smell and the color will be darker.

When you feel it is infused enough. strain out the herbs and add the vinegar to a spray bottle.  Add another cup or so of vinegar (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  I'm inconsistent).  Add some complimentary essential oil of your choice.  Go use it.