Refurnishing Our Furnished Kitchen

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have certain… kitchen issues. For some reason or another, although I never scrutinize the cutlery in restaurants or at other people’s houses, when it comes to my own kitchen– the kitchen I am expected to cook in and eat out of on a daily basis– I prefer to use my own dishes. The special ones. And although I could care less about the bread pans used in local bakeries or whether the cupcake shop uses metal, glass, or plastic mixing bowls to whip up their confections, I’d be hard pressed to bake anything of my own using mixing bowls or baking trays that weren’t mine. You know… the special ones. (Thankfully, this peculiarity of mine extends only to the culinary domain. I am remarkably easy to please when it comes to bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. Is it logical of me to protest drinking out of somebody else’s crockery mug but happily sleep in their bed? Obviously not, but they don’t call it an obsessive compulsive disorder for nothing.)


It goes without saying that, when we moved into our furnished cabin a month ago, I insisted on bringing our own “kitchen things” along. Both the landlords and the previous tenant here raved about how wonderfully stocked the kitchen already was, but I wasn’t convinced. Sure, there was a blender in the cupboard, but was it a Vita-Mix blender? Probably not. And yes, there were pots, pans, baking trays, and even a crock pot at our disposal, but were they dreaded aluminum pots? Were there remnants of other people’s food still crusted onto the baking trays and on the sides of the crock pot? Probably. Hence, I packed up our kitchen “essentials” and assessed the situation for myself upon moving in.

Sorry. Can't do it.

Inefficient use of cupboard space. Sorry. Can't do it.

Obviously, this wonderfully stocked kitchen did not live up to my impossibly stringent standards. (Greasy plates and suspiciously-spotted cups, as a rule, do not make the grade, even in a summer cottage.) I ended up photographing all of the cupboards and drawers as though I were fully documenting a crime scene, carefully removing all of the items from the shelves, lovingly (and thoroughly) cleaning the insides of everything with my special all-natural cleanser… and then putting my own dishes back in. All of the pre-supplied items– piles of plates, bowls, and saucers; extra lightbulbs; enough forks and spoons to last a whole year before washing; a popcorn machine; pyrex measuring cups; ice cube trays; plastic wine goblets; plastic-feeling dish towels; a lifetime’s supply of aluminum foil; aluminum-laden pots; scarily-encrusted baking tins; a sad little blender; barbecue tongs; and way more cheaply made fly swatters than I deemed necessary for the winter, fly-free months– were packed into boxes and tucked away in the deep recesses of the loft. (By the way? LOVE THE LOFT. We have turned one side of it into a gigantic storage area where things go to be forgotten until April. The other, secluded side of the loft has been transformed into a tranquil meditation corner.) When the time comes to move out again, I’ll use my photos as reference and arrange everything in the kitchen as though nothing had ever been moved, used, or even touched. I’m diligent like that.

I made one exception during the purge. Progress is progress, people.

For better or worse, I *MUST* have a hand blender, food processer, and a Vita-Mix blender in the kitchen, but a rice cooker has never appealed to me.

It took me a whole day of scrubbing, packing, cursing, arranging, and generally toiling to get the kitchen into its new order. (To put things in perspective, Marty managed to clean the entire rest of the cabin in the time it took me to get the kitchen up to (my) (ridiculous) par.) Everything was worth it, though. Sure, I don’t enjoy cleaning other people’s stoves and ovens, but it sure feels great cooking on a mostly spotless stove top or pulling a delicious Berry Oat Cake from the now-impeccable oven. Both Marty and I have remarked on a number of occasions how nice it is to be eating off our own plates and spooning soup out of our own bowls. (Perhaps these kitchen issues are contagious? If so, I fear for Marty’s sanity.) Making almond milk every week in our own Vita-Mix blender feels like a blessing. Everything feels right.

The figurative “icing on top” came on the day when I simultaneously discovered a small farm down the street selling free-range eggs (yes!) and a local kitchen scraps composting service (double geeky YES!). Once I get going in the kitchen– which is now– most of the “garbage” we produce is organic waste, so it feels awesome to have the kitchen scraps composted for a ridiculously modest fee ($6 for 48 Litres of kitchen scraps. Cheap!)

It feels like home.

Perhaps I should take some more "after" shots of the kitchen, no?

12 responses

  1. Great post, Dana. I am the same way, only with beds and bathrooms. I can’t even begin to explain how neurotic I am, taking my own sheets to hotel rooms, major OCD!

    Love the text you have added to the photos. Did you use photoshop? I have tried to do that but failed miserably.


    • Confession time: It’s a bit of an exaggeration to say I have no issues with bathrooms or bedrooms. I appreciate clean toilets and tubs/showers (like anyone, right?), and I definitely brought my own bedding for the cabin bedroom. We have also resorted to sliding a large slab of wood underneath the mattress, which was far too soft for our tastes. I just thought it might be too many OCD issues to mention in one post! 🙂

      I did use Photoshop to add text to the pictures. In my earlier attempts, I had problems because the program automatically defaulted to a tiny font size in a see-through colour. I have since learned to push the “black” button and use at least 18pt font for the photos– try hitting those buttons (at the top) before pushing the “T” for text. Adding text to a photo automatically makes it into a “Photoshop Document”, or .psd file. You can still go under “Save As” and save it as a regular jpeg when you are ready.

      I am no Photoshop wizard (by any stretch of the imagination), but I do know how to add text to photos now. Huzzah for slow learning! 🙂

  2. I would love to know ANYTHING about Photoshop, but am too lazy to pursue it… Unless someone comes to visit, sits down at the computer, and teaches for a day. It is so interesting to read about different OCD issues. I love how you shared about your cupboard challenges. And how you photographed everything first! That is really funny. But, truly, I would like to sample the Berry Oat Cake, please.

    • Everything I learned from Photoshop was from my dear husband, who has a degree in Graphic Design, natch. Alas, I’m a terribly slow learner, so it’s been an uphill slog. 🙂

      I should post the recipe for the Berry Oat Cake some day soon. It’s absolutely delicious, and the fact that the recipe comes from a so-called “diet” book means I don’t feel guilty about eating half a cake at a time… Not that I’ve ever actually done that… more than once! 🙂

  3. I LOVE your new page design, it suites you! I laughed as usual because you get me every time with the arrows in your pictures! I have problems more with the tub (I wont even take a bath in my OWN tub unless its been throughly cleaned first) than the kitchen, but you are right it would probably make me squirmy to have stuck on food in any area near food I am going to eat, especially now with my gluten issues. I’ve missed your posts and Im glad to be back and catching up 🙂

    • Thanks so much– I’ve missed you here on this old blog! 🙂 I have major tub issues, too (skin flecks– gross!), but I can’t let my little issues overtake me completely. Have to maintain at least a partial semblance of sanity. Heh.

  4. Yes, please. More after shots. That last one makes me feel right at home in your kitchen. 🙂

    I’m the same way, preferring my own dishes, etc. I can’t say for sure why that empty olive jar was in the cabinet, but I occasionally save jars to use for storage since I’m weaning us off of plastic storage containers. It’s a good way to repurpose them.

    • You know, a long time ago I wrote an entire post professing my love of jars. I store *everything* in jars! (My “after” shots of the kitchen will confirm this to be true.) I don’t know why I had an issue with those empty olive jars… maybe because I’ve tried to scrub all the labels off of my own jars in the kitchen? Anyway, the jars in the “before” shots didn’t strike me as sitting there to be repurposed. They just looked like they were stashed there because somebody was too lazy to take them to the recycling depot. 🙂

  5. Forgot to mention that I too love the new blog look. I’m glad you’re working your way through your disorder – one step at a time. My issues are mostly just compulsive and relate only, within reason, to my own home. If things look relatively clean in other places I’m staying, I’m relatively happy to be deluded. A 6 month stay would probably change that quite a bit however.

    • I’m the same way. I can totally deal for a short period of time, but living somewhere for several months = Kitchen OCD issues surface. 🙂 On the plus side, you’ll have nothing to worry about when you come visit. Everything’s been taken care of.

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