Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dis-organized? Who, me?

It seems everywhere you look these days, every magazine, every helpful homekeeping website has an article on organizing. "How to de-clutter your life", "Organize your_________in 30 minutes". There are even websites devoted to teaching you organizational skills (and they will gladly sell you the containers and paraphernalia required to employ them).  I certainly need to read a few of these guidelines...maybe post them on the wall as a constant reminder. While I'm not yet in the "Hoarding: Buried Alive" category, I could envision a distant future where my loved ones might have to pull my body from a mountain of books I've acquired from Goodwill, or stacks and stacks of magazines I've kept for future reference on remodeling/gardening/cooking/you-name-it. Well, at least all the cats I will have acquired by that time will keep me warm until someone finds me.

One of the main areas needing organizing are my utensil drawers in the kitchen (thank you, Bella, for the idea!). I loved the quote she shared from a 7-year-old boy, "That's the most fantastic drawer in the whole world!" My grandkids happen to find mine pretty fascinating, too. They're always borrowing items from them to use as fight weapons, or sometimes even pretend cooking. It's always fun trying to locate said items afterward.

Yes, I admit it, I have an addiction to kitchen things...cookware, pretty dishes, gadgets, widgets, tools...anything you can use to chop, dice, slice, stir, beat...It is dangerous for me to go into Williams-Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, kitchen outlet stores, or my very favorite, Homegoods. Clearance racks and aisles beckon me, calling "Lookeee, you know you neeeeeed it!" And that's not even counting the online possibilities and Goodwill.

(Actually, that's 9 turners. I forgot about the specialty ones in the drawer.)

I've even given some of the stuff away, and there's still too much, or at least it would seem so. The thing is, I use most of this stuff...well, maybe not nine spatulas all at once, but several might be in the dishwasher at any given time, and different types have different purposes.

Okay, so I'm not the most organized person in the world, but hopefully not the most dis-organized. I know I should get rid of some this stuff. I just have to figure out what. But it won't be these things:

Ten Things I Must Have in My Kitchen

  1. My Santoku chefs knives and the W├╝sthof paring knife that fits my hand perfectly.
  2. The Cuisinart hand blender with mini-food processor attachment, which is perfect for making a cup of bread crumbs or chopping fresh herbs.
  3. The electric tea kettle.
  4. The huge bent-handled stirring spoon, which can also be used as a ladle.
  5. The different sized ice cream scoops, which make perfectly sized cookies.
  6. Microplane zesters/graters
  7. The dough cutter/scooper of chopped veggies.
  8. The convection toaster oven.
  9. The iron skillets.
  10. Whisks. A couple of large ones for mixing batters and sifting dry ingredients, and a little one for mixing slurries in a measuring cup.
I probably should have made this a list of twenty or thirty things, but then that would just be crazy.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Oooh, love the microplanes baby! You need a few of those. And yes, you do need 9 turners. I can attest. There have been times when I've had a handful of them in my dishwasher at once!

Judy said...

Well Sister, it looks to me like you are very well organized, if you use it you NEED it ... If I could just make myself use mine. It just seems like all the cooking I do has to be prepared in 1 hour or less.

ds said...

Those drawers are pristine! Mine are all a-jumble.So you look VERY WELL ORGANIZED to me. And yes, I do think you need nine turners--you use them! I'm also betting that everything you turn with them is scrumptious (that I will take to the bank!) ;)

Ruth said...

I agree with DS, on all counts. My drawers are a mess (Don and I were just talking about this), etc. I love my microplaner too. I also love my turner Inge brought back from Germany. It's slightly slanted and is great for many things. I need a hand blender. And an electric kettle. Is yours one of those instant (30 second) boiler kinds? Iron skillets, yes! And my Le Crueset ironclad glazed pans. I just saw that Meijer is now carrying an inexpensive line of these. I wonder if they'll last? I love whisks of all sizes.

Have you seen those cool ladles and stir spoons Rachel Ray uses? Don told me about them (he watches more TV than me, including food shows). They have a little hook on the handle so you can rest the spoon at the top of the pot!

My very favorite Christmas of ALL time was the year Don got me a ton of awesome stuff for the kitchen. Expensive little gizmos and utensils that made me squeal.

Did you get your dishwasher fixed?

Great post! I think they named Suzie Homemaker after you.

Susan said...

Oooh, Sandy! Did you know there's a new Microplane that does wider strips? That's my next gizmo. I have one turner that I basically use for one thing and that is scraping off tough bits from baking sheets. How sick is that? But it's not too thick, and it has squared corners for getting into the corners of the pan. Oh, and BTW, I found one more turner in the drawer, bringing it to a total of 10. Sheesh!

Susan said...

You know, Sister, I could send you lots of recipes that take a lot less time than an hour. It would be a lot better for you than all that restaurant food. But it would also involve making the time to shop for the ingredients. You know what you need? A housewife. :)

Susan said...

ds, apparently I didn't take clear enough pictures of those drawers! Luckily it didn't show the crumbs and bits in the bottom that need to be cleaned. I'm pretty sure that all my cooking endeavors don't end up in the scrumptious category...mostly I just cook plain and simple food, because that is what we like most. But I have all the tools I need to do it! :)

Susan said...

Ruthie, it seems a lot of us put our kitchen drawers low on the priority list. I have the grandkids today, so maybe I will enlist their help in organizing them. It would be a good project to keep them busy.

I think my kettle heats in about 90 seconds. I had to get a new one recently...wore the other one out. I don't like this one as well. The lid doesn't open up far enough to make filling it easy. It is invaluable when everyone is here at Thanksgiving. I keep it going continuously. My previous one was Chef's Choice from Penney's and this one is a Black & Decker.

You will love the hand blender! It makes blending soups so convenient. It also comes with a tall measuring/mixing cup that is perfect for making salad dressings...makes them so creamy and they stay emulsified.

I wanted to include my enameled cast iron dutch oven. It is wonderful for soups and stews and pot roast. It holds the heat forever and is so easy to clean. I bought a cheap knock-off (Tramontina) because I was in a hurry to try the artisan bread you bake in them, but I wish I had waited and bought a different brand...not because of the quality, but because it's made in China.

My dishwasher was beyond repair. Well, not exactly, but it would have cost have the price of a new one to fix it and it was over 6 years old, so I got a new one. I love some things about it, and a couple of things I don't. It's super-quiet, which is wonderful, because the living room is so close to the kitchen. And it plays a little tune when it's finished. What I don't like about it is the configuration of the racks. I don't seem to be able to fit things in as well as my old one. In fact, I saved the silverware baskets from that one and replaced the new ones. I'll probably get used to the dish placement. It just takes time to rewire my brain.

I have seen those spoons! They look great and sure would save the mess on the counter or stove. I'll have to check them out next time I'm at Kohl's.

Deborah said...

What a courageous woman!!! I would rather post photos of myself first thing in the morning than of my kitchen drawers!
Like ds, I noticed no crumbs or other detritus, thinking that you must have cheated and at least vacuumed up the worst before the photo shoot.

My #1 essential piece of kitchen equipment is the coffee maker followed by the food processor. I have a Le Creuset frying pan from my first French life that is going on 25 years old and still going strong - if I could afford it I'd have nothing but LeC. Promised my dughter that if and when she buys a loft, I'll give her a set.

Very fun post, Miss Susie. Totally unpretentious. I think I just might like that best about you.

Oliag said...

I hate to say this but if you are trying to tell me that those kitchen drawers are messy then you would not want to try and find any thing in my house! There is a method to my madness though...things the kids can't play with are in the top drawers and anything they can take out and do whatever with are in the bottom works pretty well:)

I'm a gadget collector too and collect old ones and new ones...but there is just one ugly,old plastic and metal spoon that I seem to go for everytime I'm trying to serve is just the right size and shape...and I can't find another to take its place!

Char said...

i love the red silicone spatulas and spoonulas from Williams and Sanoma.

Susan said...

Deb, I don't know how courageous I am. Those drawers look a lot better than I do when I crawl out of bed! As for cheating, I just didn't do a close-up and you can't really see the bottom as it is covered by layers of useful stuff.

Now, on the other hand, there's no way in hell I would have taken a picture of the under sink cabinets before I cleaned them just in time for the arrival of the dishwasher installers. Hoo-wee, was that gross and disgusting! Why in the world would I save 3 squirt tops from empty cleaning product bottles? Believe me, there was plenty of detritus under there! ((shudder))

I'm not sure how I left my coffeemaker off that list. I couldn't function without it. I would be showing up at Starbucks at 5:00 a.m. in my pajamas and my mug in hand with my hair sticking up every which way, begging for caffeine. Gotta have my morning joe!

I guess you pinned me on the unpretentious label. Pretentiousness is about my least favorite character trait, and I do try to bring down to their knees anyone who displays it in my presence. But only with sneaky snark. I am always polite, too. ;-)

Susan said...

Ah, Oliag, we are sisters, are we not? I simply believe that a house that is too neat is a sign of an ill-employed mind. I would much rather be reading, or writing, or visiting my blog buddies, or pretty much anything else other than cleaning. It is soooo boring to me. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a clean and orderly house, and when I do take on those tasks, it gives me pleasure to see it in its clean state that lasts about 5 minutes. Well, at least I don't have to stare at it long that way, and I can get on with doing the things I really enjoy. I'm certainly not my mother's daughter in that respect. Why, sometimes I don't even make my bed. GASP!! She would be horrified, believe me.

Susan said...

Char, I haven't been to W-S in a while. Do they still have the buttery yellow and aqua silicone utensils? Those are my favorite. I think I may need to do an expedition this week and check out what's new. I also forgot to list my other favorite kitchen store...Sur la Table. I think I like it even better than W-S. It's probably a good thing they're both so far from me.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I have a "thing" for wooden spoons...can't have enough of them. I see you have a crock full too! Since we are primarily cooks - we have to have tools of the trade! Take a look at your husbands tools, I bet he has his fair share of screwdrivers and drill bits!

Deborah said...

Came back to read the comments and got a flashback at JackeeG4's love for wooden spoons. My dear moom used to (very occasionally) threaten me with the paddling of my choice - a wooden spoon or a rubber scraper!
I was very diapproving of this as a mother myself, until I came to realize that she had never actually followed through with her threat. (Well, unless I buried the memory.)

Ruth said...

It plays a little tune???


Susan said...

Jackee, I never thought of kitchen tools in respect to men's tools, but you're so right. Which reminds me, the garage is a mess, too. Hubs says that's #1 on his to-do list when he retires this fall. I might even help him, but he isn't allowed to touch my kitchen things.

Susan said...

Deb, I guess the thought of a mean old wooden spoon or rubber spatula spanking your bottom was enough to keep you on the straight and narrow! :)

Susan said...

Yes, Ruthie, about 8 or 10 notes, but I haven't yet figured out which tune it is. Maybe it is LG's trademark tune!

Anonymous said...

I love this post and I love your list and I love my mini-food processor. I dropped the lid and broke the little nubbie thing that has to lock in place before it will start. Now, H has to put a skewer in it and hold it down while I push the pulse button.

I was in Crate and Barrel and Home Goods yesterday and bought gadgets. Yep! I can't resist them either. So, while I cleaned out my bedroom closet, I added more stuff to my kitchen drawers. It's crazy!

Wanda..... said...

I see many of my things in your drawers and holders, Susan. Why are 'we' saving the cork from wine bottles? I even have a line of utensils hanging on the wall.

Susan said...

Bella, I'm so relieved that you liked the post. I was afraid you would think I stole your idea, which I did, of course, but hopefully I went in a little different direction with mine.

Strangely, the day after I posted this, I was getting ready to make hummus in my big Cuisinart and the thingy that locks the lid into place broke and rendered it unusable. I'll have to see if my hubby can rig up something like yours did so it will work. If not, may I borrow H when I need to use it? :)

Susan said...

Wanda, I'm sure that if I had an empty space on my backsplash wall, it would have utensils hanging there, too. I'm saving my corks for my MIL, and I have no idea what she does with them. Probably sticks them in a drawer. ;-)

Dutchbaby said...

Like you, I am the Gadget Queen! I love my Santoku chef's knife and Wustof paring knives (yes, I apparantly need two).

My favorite appliance in the whole kitchen is my Cuisinart hot water dispenser that is built into my sink. I asked it for mother's day every year for about five years until I finally figured out to pare down my wish list to only one item.

Yes, I must have wardrobes of wooden spoons of various lengths and shapes, spatulas/scrapers of varying degrees of bendiness, and the Cutco ice cream scooper is everyone's favorite of the three we own.

Now that my daughter has become such a passionate cook, I have to support her passion, don't I? Our latest gadget purchase at Sur La Table is an awesome whisk that is a circle of radiating wires, each with a metal ball at the end. It's great for getting into the corners of a pan.

Fun post!

Susan said...

dutchbaby, there goes that sister thing again! I only mentioned one of my paring knives, because, well, you know, I didn't want to seem obsessively crazy or anything. :p I actually have six of them. And "degrees of bendiness" is exactly why I have so many spatulas.

Hmmm, that hot water dispenser thing gives me an idea.....

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being brave enough to show us your drawers, Susan! ;)

Susan said...

Stacy, these drawers are the only ones the public will ever see! :D