Panic at the Kitchen

Hey, long time no talk. We've been being extraordinarily lazy lately, nice to see you. Shall we pretend the last couple of months never happened, then?

I've had this sort of free-floating anxiety about the kitchen for months. The panic centers around all the STUFF we own. I have gone through that stuff over and over and gotten rid of much of it, but we use a lot of it on the regular and I'm not going to stop doing that for no good reason. I expect, in fact, that once we no longer have to stress over construction stuff, I will spend more time cooking like I did before we owned a house. So the amount of kitchen stuff we own is not likely to go down from where it is right now, and that's how we want it to be.

So the amount of stuff is not going down, and the space is going to be what it is going to be, but I still felt very nervous about how those two things would come together. How do you manage that kind of anxiety? For me, the answer was to get some data and get a handle on things.

First I drew elevations of the kitchen and all the cabinets. I went through and marked those elevations with what should go where. But I worried over and over that I was missing something vital. Something like the pancake griddle which we use regularly enough that at times it has lived on the stove, but which is a total pain to store anywhere because it is large and heavy and has a non-stick surface that needs to be protected. (Do not give me grief about non-stick surfaces, I am not in the right mental place for it.)

So then I took pictures of everything we have in the kitchen. Not just stuff put away neatly, but all the stuff out on the countertops or things we haven't been able to find a place for. Everything. I definitely do not want to move back home and find that we have to leave stuff out on the countertops because I didn't think through the kitchen well enough.

I took photos, printed them out, made them in to trading cards, then cut them up more (to separate things into different piles).

everything we have in the kitchen

Then I printed out the elevations of the kitchen design (I will show them to you when they are more settled) and began the process of reconciling the photo trading cards with the places for storage.

Everything was accounted for. Thank you photos. Nothing gets handwaved out of a photo. That salad spinner (use it all the time, it is ugly and bulky but serves a vital purpose) has to have a home.

All those things that we have had to find homes for over the years. Our collection of appliances. Everything.

The elevations

Noel and I spent a bunch of time going through the elevations and deciding what should go where, and marking it on the drawings so there was a record.

The design of the island changed significantly. I had initially planned it as a set of equally sized drawers like the IKEA Varde drawers we used to have in the kitchen (now repurposed for my art and craft supplies), but larger. Now the drawers are varying sizes to fit the different kinds of stuff we will have in there.

We looked at the refrigerator we had planned and changed some things up. Chose a different fridge, then resized this and that, moved things around. The microwave can fit next to the fridge but I lose a broom closet -- that doesn't matter because we have a nice generous utility closet in the back hall. The pot rack over the sink is going to be very full right away (which makes sense, given that we've been cooking and collecting cooking equipment for more than twenty years).

The dining room cabinets I had sort-of planned to put off buying until later also suddenly became more important. They will hold a lot of things we've stored in the kitchen for a long time, like the plates we use for entertaining, our nice glassware, our china, tablecloths and napkins (my mother has sent me dozens of hand-hemmed napkins, souvenirs of hockey seasons past, over the years). Those cabinets are going to be more important than I thought.

Before I printed out the trading cards, I was sure that we'd move in and have a pile of stuff we'd need to find homes for and packed shelves all around. My backup plan was to offload some of that into the basement, which is already going to be pretty full. Now I'm pretty sure we are going to end up with more storage than we had, and plenty for everything we need. I may start recommending this to clients when we talk about kitchen design.

I'm feeling a little calmer. The rain is coming down and we are still in the planning stages with the contractor so who knows when construction will start, but I'm feeling calm and ready for it.

Phew.

Happy New Year. Feels a little weird not to have a Ten Year Plan post, doesn't it?

posted by ayse on 01/17/16

4 Comments

Good to hear from you! I am exhausted just reading about the work you have put into planning. All worth it, I'm sure!

Well done! That happens to be the way I need to triage space and stuff myself. Thank you.

You are doing a great job of making your kitchen work for you. It sounds like you are "working" in your kitchen already (on paper) and problem solving as you go. I am impressed.
The thing I always do when we move into a new kitchen is adjust and add shelves to resize the space to fit our things. I don't want an 11 inch high shelf holding 5 inch cups. Just adding 1 more shelf to each cupboard makes so much space.
The other nice thing about designing your kitchen is making sure the outlets are in convenient locations and enough to go around. We want to add a few to our c1978 kitchen.
rick

I do miss the Ten Year Plan!

Congratulations on both the kitchen plan and the anxiety control. Both difficult. I like your system.

As an aside, I own a collapsible salad spinner along these lines and it is great:

http://progressiveintl.com/products/collapsible-salad-spinner

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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