organizing the house part 2 - the kitchen


Keeping this little kitchen organized is quite a dream for me.  It's the most beautiful kitchen I've ever owned and feel lucky every single day that I get to use it.  It doesn't have the most efficient layout and there is barely any counter space but the drawers and open shelving are fab for staying organized.  By no means is it minimal. I want for nothing here. This is a list of my small appliances...

microwave
toaster
blender
hand mixer
coffee maker





Cookware and spices are kept right next to the stove. My stove is the best appliance I own, or have ever owned for that matter.  If you'd like you can read my review of it here.

Remember, a week or so ago when I typed about rule #1?  Well I would say rule #2 would be to keep a clean kitchen. There is a reason restaurants have to pass health inspections to stay open.  Food mixed with neglect make people sick. When your kitchen is clean it's easier to keep track of things.  It's not likely things will be going bad in the refrigerator if you have a regular cleaning schedule. I wipe mine down every week before I go shopping and when I return I make sure I use the FIFO rule when arranging things.  That's First In First Out and every single successful restaurant uses this basic rule.








Hot soapy water, vinegar, Bon Ami  and a plastic scrubby are your best friends in the kitchen. Sponges really are bacteria carriers but if you do use them replace often and at the end of the day wash it out and put it in the microwave for a minute.  I personally use a plastic scrubby (they don't rust or carry bacteria) for everything and an old fashioned dish cloth for wiping things down.  I wipe all the cabinets down once a week using plain hot water with these types of towels, which last forever.  I use them for cleaning the floors, windows, oven, you name it.

My pantry is also cleaned each week.  I keep mine pretty minimal and really don't feel the need to have multiple back ups.  But if you do just remember the FIFO rule and that way you will be avoiding waste.

So just like the rest of the house I like breathing room in my kitchen  I don't like cluttered shelves or counters but to each their own right?  I like to think that everything is fresh in my kitchen, the surfaces and the food. I'd love to hear about any tips you have/use.  Also, thank you all for the sweet anniversary wishes and all the wonderful comments you leave here on the blog.  I continue to be inspired by you all.  Without you this blog is nada.  And I mean that.  x









74 comments

  1. Love the open shelves! I have a ton of cabinets, but not a lot of counter space. I am trying to keep my counters as clear as possible.

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  2. Still working on keeping my counters clear of clutter. Sometimes I feel like I'm losing the battle but I keep at it ! Thanks for sharing, you are an inspiration !

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  3. Love this Janet - everything in its place! I am about ready for spring cleaning, but always, always keep the kitchen clean! It is critical! I love the pedestal full of oranges - makes me want to reach out for one!

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  4. I too have a tiny kitchen. in my little 525 square foot apartment the counter space is VERY minimal so I have only what is absolutely necessary on it. I do my dishes by hand so I use the dishwasher as my pantry. never is there a 'box' of anything.
    everything is either in a can or a plastic clear container. I did that in my home too. and I NEVER saw a bug of any kind!
    I keep cereal in the fridge in see through containers. I do miss my open shelving I had in my house... like yours.
    I have simple white dishes. but can't take the doors off here in the apartment! otherwise i'm a happy kitchen camper! xo
    I absolutely LOVE your blog. do you remember me? I called you ahj? what was it? LOL. I know it stood for audrey hepburn janet ... can't remember exactly. but STILL think so!!! xo

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    1. I remember now! LOL. audrey jackie janet. yes. hello ajj. same style. same grace. same fun!

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  5. It is a beautiful kitchen and so tidy.
    As a chef/restaurant manager I observed the clean kitchen thing to the letter. The local environmental health department used to lunch at my place such was its reputation, however i owe my cast iron constitution from my slovenly parents! xxx

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  6. I love your kitchen! I have a galley kitchen myself--8 ft. by 8 ft. I have also had big kitchens in my life, but I find this one to be extremely efficient. I also have plenty of storage (my cupboards go to the ceiling) and enough counter space. Like you, I don't have a dishwasher, but I have a wonderful double farmhouse apron sink. It really is a "one-butt" kitchen, though. It is difficult to work well with two people in here. And I really must keep clutter to a minimum, and this small space forces me to do just that!

    Isabella

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  7. LOVE your black and white kitchen. We have the same floor in out bath :)

    Moving was the best motivator for us-we had to pare down, and that was a good thing.

    This rental has the worst kitchen layout I have ever seen-what's up with the builders from the 1950s and NO counter space/flow? I wonder how people rolled out cookie dough or made Thanksgiving dinners in these inconvenient spaces, or just fed a larger family on a daily basis?

    What's the dark room off the kitchen? I am having a love affair with dark walls lately :)

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    1. that's our office. there is a post on it somewhere here. :)

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  8. It's a really beautiful kitchen Janet, reading your routine makes me realise how wasteful I am with paper towel, I need to find an alternative, I probably wipe up about ten times a day - no family either, I just can't stand a single smear.

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    1. I bought a half dozen hand-made knit "wash cloths" on Etsy and use them to cut down on my paper towel use. Also you can use those microfiber dust cloths but I find they do not absorb water as well. Even some terry washcloths would work. You can get colors to match your kitchen so as not to confuse them with your bathroom washcloths.

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    2. Tabitha, I used to use about a roll of paper towels a week and in my quest to be a bit greener, I decided to try Not using them. I found a little package of eight washcloths in pretty pastels at Walmart for 3.50. At first, I thought this won't work, but it has. I've had the same roll of paper towels up for 2 months now and I use the cloths for kitchen clean-ups and general counter wiping. I've even quit buying paper napkins and now have a drawer full of cloth napkins that my husband actually prefers. Save all that paper towel/napkin money for something better!

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  9. H Janet, Your home is too gorgeous and it is just the right size. You mentioned the importance of keeping the kitchen clean. I recently started using an iron skillet but each time I clean it (with water only, you aren't supposed to use soap on it) I can't help but think it may be unsanitary and may get us sick - on the other hand, I am hesitant to go back to using teflon coated non-stick pans because that may be unhealthy as well (carcinogenic if not replaced when scratched up). What do you think? Also, microwaving is supposed to get rid of bacteria in a sponge, but don't the microwaves turn the sponge material into something toxic as well? Maybe I have too much information on these things.

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    1. After I clean my iron skillet, I set it on low heat for a few minutes until I see that it is fairly dry. It helps avoid rusting, and I feel kills any bacteria. I rarely ever have been sick (which I attribute to eating onions as often as possible, but my SO *rollseyes* at that theory ; )

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    2. Instead of microwaving my sponge, I just pour boiling water over it using the excess water I have made for my tea. Filling the kettle full and using the extra boiling water has kept the sponge germ free and I also use it to keep my drains free flowing!

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  10. You really do have a gorgeous kitchen! I love the white as it makes such a crisp clean impact.
    There is something so inviting about your kitchen I know it would be a joy to cook in it. I will be tackling mine this week as the sun has been shining and I can see some smudge and the drawers are looking like a tip!

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  11. I love your kitchen so much, it was my inspiration when we remodeled our kitchen. Clean and simple is the way to go.
    Betty

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  12. As always, I love your kitchen. How do you determine how many plates, glasses, forks and knives, etc. that you need. Most dishes come in sets of 8-12 and that just seems like too much. I decided to keep a set of 6 of everything in my small kitchen and put the extras in my laundry room cabinets in case I ever need them for guests, which would be rare. I was just curious what you do.

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    1. lana i have a lot of plates. mostly buffaloware left over from my catering days. for the time being i'm good with what i've got b/c i do need them when we all get together. but i'm sure one day i'll pare those down too.

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  13. Is it weird to not have a toe-kick? I hate them so much but I do feel it makes the workspace more comfortable. But I've never been without one so I don't know of I might just get used to it.
    In all the ways I wish I was like you and I'm not, I actually run my kitchen very similarly. My pantry isn't as showroom like though. But I can't cook in a dirty kitchen. It's repulsive to me. I think a catering background helps one with that. You become accustomed to wiping down and cleaning every step of the way because you can't turn a client's home into a disaster!

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    1. Oh I wish I could be like you and Janet, when it comes to wiping the counters down every stop of the way. I am probably the messiest cook in the world (ask my Stephen) and I don't even know what to do with it. I guess I'm a creative messy kind of girl. And I'm a perfectionist pursuing imperfectionism. What a curse that is...

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    2. *every step of the way* - it's the glass of wine I just had...

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    3. Haha oh no! I've been a bad influence on you! No, you know the rule, wine doesn't count when you're snowed in :)

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    4. I love to learn new words ... toe-kick! :)

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    5. "WINE DOESNT COUNT WHEN YOU'RE SNOWED IN." WHAT!!???? Why did you wait until MARCH to dole out these clever little tidbits? Do you have any spring wine rules I can proactively put in my back pocket, Stephen Andrew? My girlfriends and I thank you in advance. ;D

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    6. Haha I am so sorry! Yes that's a rule as old as time. I don't necessarily have any spring wine rules...but I would be happy to make one up! In the spirit of carpe diem: if it's "patio" weather, it doesn't count.

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  14. Your kitchen is beautiful! I adore every inch of it! I have to wonder though, what's behind the red toile curtain in the second pic? The pantry?? I completely decluttered our kitchen over the past few years and it's been a life changing experience. It's just so much easier to put things away, keep things tidy and it's great that we don't have to look for things. I too, use dish towels for wiping the counters/table, and I use a 3M Greener Green sponge (I like the neutral oatmeal color) for doing the dishes. I stopped using our dishwasher a while ago, after realizing that I have to have many more dishes when I use the dishwasher. Amazing post as always. Thanks for sharing! ox

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    1. that red drape is our door to the bathroom!

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    2. So, why did you remove the door?

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    3. because the space is so small that the door took up half the room. it was also badly damaged.

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  15. I admire how pared down your home is. I believe you said it wasn't always like this, but how did you part with so much of your stuff? I have already done some major de-cluttering, but I still have too many favorites :)

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    1. not sure if you read the post i wrote on friday but basically i did it one item at a time. it took time but eventually got me to where i am today. and i'm still trying to pare down. :)

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  16. I wish I had the energy to "purge" and only have what I really need. Maybe one day.
    I go by LIFO, Last In, First Out.
    Maggie

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  17. I really like your style - your cottage and garden are lovely; they must be very calming and relaxing to live in. I aim for quite a minimalist style, but I do like colour - grey settees, white walls, wooden floors, but (currently) turquoise accessories like cushions and vases. And we have 6 grandchildren living nearby, so there tend to be baskets of toys around! Look forward to reading your posts again. Abby (England) x

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  18. Janet, I love your blog, everything you post and your home so much! You are my most inspiring read right now, as we are in the process of selling our home and downsizing as newbie empty nesters. I can't wait to begin this new chapter, and I'll be learning from you along the way. Thank you!

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  19. Funny that you wrote this...right before I read your post I had just emptied out my vegetable drawer when I came home from the store. I threw out half a dozen things and washed it out. Looks much better! I need to get in a routine so I remember what is IN there!

    Linda
    xo



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    1. Hi Linda,
      Here's what helped me not to waste vegetables: I have 2 veg bins in the fridge.
      One I use for basics that I want to have on hand for many recipes: onions, carrots, celery, garlic, etc.
      The other bin is for the vegetables that we're eating this week: lettuce, peppers, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, etc.
      This way I don't forget something "fresh" because it's hiding behind something "basic" and I only buy what "fresh" vegs we will eat in one week.
      ~skye

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  20. Your kitchen is beautiful - and I am now on an official decluttering mission.

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  21. I love your kitchen Janet. I keep working at decluttering and getting rid of stuff I don't need. most of the time I really don't need all that much. but, holidays can be a different matter, sometimes I have 16 family members for dinner, so I hesitate to get rid of extra sets of dishes. my kitchen is original with my townhouse unit, built in the 1980"s. one of the reasons I purchased my home is that the kitchen was fairly large for this type of unit, had pretty good counter space and enough cabinets. the cabinets are fairly flimsy however and the appliances are dated, showing wear. I dream of an update but hesitate because although the place looks a bit warn and dated the stuff still works, if with a few quirks. I think of Julia Child making delicious food in her little Paris kitchen and usually decide I can live with what I have. and belated Happy Anniversary!
    Darby

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  22. That is one delicious kitchen if I ever saw one!

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  23. I love your kitchen. I remember when I first came to your blog quite a while ago, it was the kitchen that caught my eye. I just love it.
    I hope you will prove a list of utensils and things that are essential and what is not. Also, what about plastic containers to store things in? How many do you have? I currently have a stack of them in the cupboard above the sink and I'm afraid to open the door! If you wrote a list that I could print out, I'd be in heaven!
    The one thing I would add to your basket of cleaning supplies is a magic eraser sponge. I can NOT live with out those things. Besides getting the smudges off of all my appliances, cabinets, etc. and easily remove the sticky gunk stickers leave behind, they also get hard to get off food from my Corelle dishes and coffee stains from my mugs. But what I really LOVE (don't worry, I have TWO cleaning totes, one for the kitchen and one for the pets) They clean the slime off of the dog bowls in a flash! (I have a Great Dane who slurps everything up and leaves my little dogs staring at the bowls in disgust, so I'm constantly cleaning the bowls!)
    Yep those Magic Eraser Sponges are truly MAGIC! LOL!
    Thanks SO much for doing these posts!!!

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    1. Hi Cynthia,

      I used to use Magic Eraser sponges but hated how the erasers would 'crumble' after a few uses. I just found a package of microfiber cloths at TJ Maxx. They are little white washcloth squares and the backside is covered with netting to make a scrubby surface. I am in love with these things - they even clean marks off my stainless fridge without needing to use any cleansers and when I'm done, they go into the wash.

      Wendy

      Wendy

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    2. Thank you Wendy! I will try those out. I LOVE those Magic eraser things but they do wear out super fast.

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  24. I've been spring cleaning like a mad woman, and this post has me even more inspired to keep going! Thanks Janet...as always you're the best!

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  25. Your kitchen looks so fresh and pretty! Living in the UK I don't have much storage space for food so tend to shop little and often, so not much chance of anything going out of date.

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  26. This series on organization is wonderful. Will you please show us your refrigerator and freezer? How do you store and then organize the food within? Do you use plastic boxes to hold all the little bottles of sauces, etc? Do you keep eggs in their orig. boxes - or in a bowl? I know of one woman who keeps a little vase of flowers in her refrig. just for the beauty of it. Now THAT is a "Wow" factor!

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    1. i have posted pics of my refrigerator here on the blog in the past. i don't eat eggs so don't have to store them. it's not all that fancy in there really...like for sure there isn't a vase of flowers. :))

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  27. I always love your kitchen posts! Like your food bill, your spare but perfect kitchen is something to strive for. One of my favorites posts showed the contents of your kitchen drawers. It was fascinating to me. I also try to keep only a few very nice pots, pans, knives, etc instead of a ton of specialized tools and appliances that rarely get used.

    You've inspired me to go back and take another look at what I can possibly donate to simplify further.

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  28. I can never get enough of your kitchen, Janet! And so cool to get a bit of your philosophy thrown into the mix too. For example, why I had I never thought to clean the fridge before going shopping? I always wait to do it until I've come back and there are grocery bags all over my floor.

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  29. I'm back again because something you said really resonates with me. "Keeping this kitchen organized is quite a dream for me." I have to tell you that now that we own a house, it really is such a joy to the the work of keeping a home.

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  30. Crisp and fresh, quaint yet impressive. Never get tired of these pics. I so love the sink with the shelving above most of all. Whats in the big shallow basket at the top of the open shelving? Im trying to think if this was my kitchen what I would store in there. Extra cloth napkins? Recipe books/collections? Hhhhmmmmm.

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  31. Your house is always such an inspiration. I love your beautiful style and your wonderful way of living with less. xoCatherine

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  32. Just perfect! Your thoughtful, clean aesthetic shines.

    I have 2 boxes of things I've weeded out from my kitchen for my girls to pick through for their apartments. Then to the Good Will with the rest.

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  33. You inspired me to take everything out of the refrigerator and give it a good wipe down. While I do keep it pretty organized and clean, it was time for a more detailed job. I have found that leaving some fruit on the counter gets it eaten quicker and is beautiful....like your clementines. Those fruit and vegetable bins can be troublesome....out of sight out of mind! Your style is so refreshing. I just love coming here for encouragement and inspiration.

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  34. Two of my kitchen/shopping tips: I keep a list of produce I have in the fridge and cross things off as I use them up - it jogs my memory and I waste little food. On my shopping list, I also jot down a list of things I have and need to use up - this helps me not to duplicate items, not to over-buy, and to think about pairings for those items to make a meal.

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  35. So inspiring, Janet! I will be cleaning my kitchen today now that I've seen yours. I have a tiny kitchen but still, it gets messy. I'm constantly cleaning the counters and sink. I also wipe down the fridge before the grocery trip and FIFO rule as well. I push new stuff to the back of the fridge behind the already opened or still good stuff. I love my microfiber cloth and can throw it in the wash. I broke my swiffer habit many years ago. It was expensive and bad for the environment, I felt. Throwing away those disposable cloths seemed wasteful. Now it's just mop and bucket and microfiber. Thanks Janet!!

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  36. I love the simplicity of your kitchen. Would you mind sharing what brand your blender is? I haven't had one in a long while and am looking for recommendations.

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    1. here you go...http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-simple-and-refreshing-green-smoothie.html

      i LOVE this blender!

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  37. Your bar towels sound wonderful and the price is good from Amazon but some of the reviewers complain of too much lint, even after several washings, and poor quality with holes developing in the ribbed cloth. Other reviewers love them as much as you do. I believe you, but the complaints stopped me from ordering them right away. Do local stores carry this brand so I can buy a few and try them out myself? Thanks for whatever you can add to the mix. - Jan

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    1. i really don't know if they are sold anywhere locally. i've not had a problem with mine. mine are pretty old now and have really held up. my thinking is that the ones that are complaining of lint and holes were made from a different material? not sure but that's my guess. you could probably find something similar at target maybe? again not sure. i suppose if you did order them from amazon and they are not to your liking you could return them but that'd be a hassle. good luck jan!

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    2. I have a set of bar mop towels that I got from Walmart and they are great! I've had them for a couple years and they're holding up well.

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    3. I have been using bar mop towels for cleanup for several years, and they hold up well. You can buy them at any Bed, Bath & Beyond. Becky

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  38. This is my new favorite blog. I love your home, your recipes are simple and delicious and your style is so effortesly elegant. Oh, I almost forgot! I looooove your hair!
    Dora from sunny Greece.

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  39. Can we see inside your desk drawers too? Meaning a drawer where you keep your pens, paper, pencils, tape, stapler, notecards, erasers, clips, staples, etc.? Also, can we see where you keep your home manuals ie: refrigerator, stove etc. Also, while I'm at it... your paperwork - taxes from the last 7 years (isn't that how long we have to keep them), wills, insurance info, etc. etc. Would love to be inspired by all that too. Man, you are refreshing. LOVE these posts. Thanks! Jennifer in Boise

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    1. hi jennifer, that is prob not going to happen as the office and desk are pretty much larry's territory. i can tell you that the pens are kept in a glass jar on top of the desk and the left hand drawer is where he keeps stamps and small office things like paper clips and stapler. there are 2 drawers to the right that have manila folders that contain home manuals and personal papers. there really isn't that much in there! mostly business stuff. hope this helps. x

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  40. after seeing this post for the last two days I finally got around to cleaning/organizing my food storage. it feels so good to to this! got rid of outdated stuff, wiped down the shelves and I am making a pile of stuff to donate to the animal shelter where I volunteer for their tag sale in May. I have also started to go through all my books and will donate them as well.
    thank you Janet!
    Darby

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  41. Vickie, it's time to come back. we miss you.

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    1. I know - it's been "too quiet" without you!!! - kimberly

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    2. Vicki - I was thinking the same thing last night! Don't let anyone chase you away. I personally like ALL the comments. XOXO

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  42. Another small kitchen here -- and I will be cleaning and de-cluttering again tomorrow! I just LOVE your kitchen -- every single inch! Our kitchen has old white tile counters, backsplash and white appliances -- so I really try to keep up with the cleaning! I keep the produce out on the counters and stored in old white ironstone or wood bowls -- easy to see and use!
    Thanks for another great posting!

    Cheers! Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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kindness is never out of style.

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