A thing a day ~ Day 12, 13 & 14

Actually I am not even sure what day I am up to with the Thing A Day mission. I have been so busy with grandparenting this week that I don’t know if I’m coming or going. So lets call it 12, 13 and 14 and I’ll go back and do the count when I get a spare minute. 

Here are the three items for those days and then I want to talk just a little about a non related subject to my items.


Now on that non related topic. The kitchen and all it’s clutter. So while grandparenting I have taken it upon myself to do some decluttering at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. And being that the baby is asleep a lot upstairs, the kitchen, which is downstairs, has been the centre of my attention. So far I have focused on pantry items and have thrown out a far quantity of out of date food stuffs and also began some use it up challenges on things that will expire soon if not eaten.

And once again it has come to my attention that not only are kitchens one of the most likely places for clutter in any home but they are also often so poorly designed. Clutter is bound to accumulate in cabinets of any kind that have deep shelves so why they have so many in the basic kitchen I will never know. This is why I have converted a lot of my shelves to weight bearing drawers. These can be slid out to reveal everything at a quick glance. Unfortunately the home the I am working on is even more poorly designed than most and doesn’t even have a proper pantry, has a very deep corner cupboard where plastic containers, pot and pans are kept and one very tiny thing deep cabinet in an odd shaped corner and way too many high cabinets that are hard to get at.

So I am going to try to come up with some cheap, simple solutions to try to alleviate some of the issues with the kitchen at hand in the hope of making it more functional . Meanwhile I have at least cleared some clutter and identified items that are good for some use it up challenges.

Take a long hard look at your kitchen and see what you can declutter, consider getting it better organised ,maybe reconsider how you stock it, or perhaps all three. Because inefficiency and waste is a hard pill to swallow.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
  • You just never know. Firstly I would just like to apologise for my recent extended absence from the blog this month. Unfortunately my mother took ill and I rushed off interstate to visit her in hospital and to […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I feel you pain trying to organise what is basically an unorganisble space! No one wants to spend time bending down to place an item neatly at the back of the bottom cupboard. Drawers are definately the answer.
    I have seen in the hardware store and at Howard’s storage world , open drawers that can be placed inside an existing cupboard.
    The other issue is kitchen stuff expands to fill the space. Perhaps by making you own drawers out of plastic tubs and limiting what you have in them, clutter will be kept at bay.
    I’m lucky , I have a kitchen with drawers.
    It only takes a minute to tidy them up.

  2. I live in a penthouse apartment so there is no room for high cupboards which being 5ft I can never reach anyway. I have two deep drawers which contain all my food and four smaller drawers which hold, in order, cutlery, glasses, food wraps and bags and finally some posh china. I have a free standing unit which houses all other china and an annoying corner unit for all baking equipment and pans, plus some glasswear but it is hard to get at half of it unless I pull the rest out first.

    But the drawers are fabulous. I keep regular foods in the top one and baking and extra stores in the bottom. I have a small box in the top one for things that need using up or are near their best before date.

    I would like to sort out the corner cupboard as my grandmother’s old china is there and never used along with other odds and ends.

    I have one more old unit with crockery, cutlery, glasses and other items used on special occasions. These occasions are getting less and as the grandchildren are getting older they want some of these items when they have homes of their own. I hope that is not too long in coming.

  3. The odd kitchen is not as unusual as you would think even in new homes. I asked a guy who was building a house if he was going to use the kitchen plan as it was designed or make it to fit the people living there. He gave me a blank look. I went on to explain why I asked. He contacted the buyers and got her input. Great kitchen.

    Without ANY prompting Mom took a really nice plant up to the front office and offered it to anyone who wanted it. Gone!! She also told me that all the start she has she will use to fill in the one potted plant she has like it and trash the rest. This is BIG. She never puts cuttings in the trash. She’s finally learning. I’m so proud of her.

  4. Kitchens! I have two deep corner cupboards in my kitchen and a deep corner pantry. Fortunately the upper half has half-depth shelves but the lower pantry has two tall & deep shelves.

    The upper half I have sort-of adapted to but yes the far corner is a bit of a trap. I’ve been thinking about getting my hubby to make a triangle shaped thing to sit into the far corner which will block it off a bit.

    The lower pantry as mentioned has tall and deep shelves and yes are a nuisance to deal with as everyone seems to just return items randomly and higgledy-piggledy – I’m a ‘everything should line up like soldiers’ kind of pantry person so this just gets on my goat. So I’m also thinking about getting hubby to build a false back to bring everything forward with less room for jetsam and flotsam. I store my pasta containers and cereal containers on these shelves.

    The bottom shelf (also tall and deep) – well that also needs some attention.

  5. My items
    Day 12- coffee pod drawer
    Day 13- hallmark keepsake angel
    Day 14- oak dining chair. Doesn’t match rest of chairs.

    Will take everything to school thrift shop next week.

  6. Our new (old) house has a poorly designed kitchen too. The tall deep pantry cupboard will hold lots of stuff but it is hard to get to. We have bought hardware so Ian can build the kind of sliding drawers WendyF mentioned above. We will be replacing 2 fixed shelves with 3 that slide. The cupboard won’t hold more stuff but I won’t have to stack and unstack, and the sliders will make things easier to reach. Decluttering some stress…

    • Hi WendyB,

      Did you leave your newly built home and move to the city as you mentioned a few months ago? I have been wondering what you decided to do 🙂

      I like the idea of those drawers 🙂

      • Hi Peggy. Thanks for asking. Yes, we had a crazy year. We moved into the new house last October after an exceptionally rainy summer. This spring Ian looked out at the sea of mud that required landscaping and said, “I can’t do this any more”. After 2 back surgeries and 2 heart procedures, it seemed it was time for us to give up “Country Bumpkin” and resume “City Slicker” status. It’s a nice small city so we have all the necessary facilities, a big yard for the birds, an older house with enough fixer-uppers to keep Ian puttering forever. I’ll miss having a lake on my doorstep but this is a good place for us as we move gracefully into the next stage of our lives. Besides, we uncluttered TONS of stuff before we moved.
        Thanks for asking. I’m glad to see you’re still on the declutter train. W

        • Wendy-how lovely to phrase getting older as “moving gracefully into the next stage of our lives.” My husband and I have been discussing that very topic as in a few years I will retire and we will want to make some changes that will keep our children from worrying about Mom and Dad. Both our girls moved out of state and have wonderful families/homes/careers and from experience I know distance can cause some anxiety as parents “move gracefully” into our golden years! Best of luck in your city slicker lives!

          • Thank you, Karen. We are enjoying it. There’s lots of opportunities to suit our outdoorsy side – we just have to go out the back door and walk a couple of blocks or go for a short drive to get there.

            We experienced both sides of the aging dilemma. Ian’s parents were of the “I’m staying here till they carry me out in a box” school. It was unhealthy for them, stressful for their distant sons, and a royal pain when we had to deal with their hoard of stuff. My Mother knew exactly where she would go when she could no longer manage the house. She’s now 92, loving life in her condo townhouse in a great location with only her favorite possessions. Planning ahead is a good idea because you never know when life will throw something in your path.

            • WendyB,

              I’m glad to hear that you and Ian are doing well 🙂 It seems that you are in a “just right” situation with your small city home 🙂

  7. Colleen, I’ve been following the One Item In, One Item Out rule for so long, I’m running out of things to get rid of. I’m just itching to go into someone else’s house and help them declutter! 😀

    • Hi Jean, perhaps you could make a career of being a personal organiser. You could use a couple of friends as test subject and use their recommendation to start your business off.

  8. I can’t take credit for the idea, but I made one of these filing cabinet islands, and they are _really_ handy! http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/repurpose-a-filing-cabinet-for-156650 The cutting board was the hardest part to find (at a reasonable price), but Aldi and/or Woot sometimes has carving boards on sale.

  9. Kitchens…a man should never be allowed to design one. I have two upper cabinets, they flank my sink. The one on the right required me to hoist myself up to sit on the counter and then do a partial twist to reach things on the top shelf. I could manage the lower two shelves with a tippy toe approach, but not that top shelf. While in the first phase of decluttering, when I truly was going guns ablazing, I decluttered enough out of the left cabinet to move the couple of items I wanted to keep from that right side top shelf. It was an extremely gratifying moment! 30 years ago when we moved into the house popping up on a counter was no big deal…but the decades that have passed made it a little tougher! When ever I get a little discouraged about getting rid of things (not going fast enough) I open that cabinet up and just gaze at that empty shelf…it reminds me that progress has been made!

    • Karen, some men get it but not many. My dad was one. He was and architect and an engineer. He would look at my short 5’2″ mom and have her tell him what she wanted. He even found some shelves made in Europe somewhere that could be used in top shelves of already built cabinets that you could cause to pull out and drop down. But, in most cases the top shelves are a problem for most everyone. Another stupid move on many architects plans is the corner cabinets that go way back into a hard to reach place where you have to get on your hands and knees to use them. Guess they never thought you would own enough stuff to need those places. Grin.

  10. In my hard-to-reach upper corner kitchen cabinet, I counted 13 boxes of tea bags. One is most of a 100 count regular tea, another is most of a 48 count decaf. and all the others are 20 count boxes of herbal and specialty teas. This takes up a whole shelf in the cabinet. The other problem with it is that I’ve been buying bottled unsweetened tea. The regular price is $1.69 for an 18 ounce bottle of the brand I like. Ahem, I have close to 90 tea bags of this brand in my cupboard.
    I didn’t buy any tea when I went grocery shopping today. I’m going to make my own iced tea for a while.

    I have also “decluttered” two issues that I had been putting off. The first one didn’t turn out the way I hoped but I tracked down the answer and it’s done. I’m still waiting on the second answer but whichever way it goes it will be over and I won’t have to think about it anymore.

    • Joanie, that tea issue is right up my alley! I have been on a use it up mission with my herbal and medicinal teas, especially since I wanted to buy Blueberry Superfruit (Stash brand). I finally allowed myself to buy 90 tea bags of it! I don’t buy tea in bottle unless it’s Pure Leaf Raspberry which I buy once every few months as a special treat 🙂