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Downsizing and Our Kitchen Makeover

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It took over a year to get our house of 25 years ready to sell.  There were children’s school work, report cards, mementos that needed to be sorted through, greeting cards I had kept, hard copy photos, etc.  Then add on what is being kept in all the other rooms – dishes, appliances, furniture, books, etc.  (and most importantly what is being sold or given away) and it can cause a few gray hairs and a rise in blood pressure. 

I look forward to sharing our kitchen makeover but first a few things I learned during my downsizing/moving journey.

 To prepare, I read books (Right Size,Right Now, Essentialism:  The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less and Moving On, and A Practical Guide to Downsizing The Family Home  I listened to podcasts (Organization Station @Home and The Frugal House – Jenny Martin) and sought the advise of those that had been on the downsizing trail before me.  Here were a few of my takeaways..

  • Keep a few things to remember others by but not everything that has been handed down or given.  By the time we were emotionally and mentally ready to downsize –  I had 3 sets of china, one set was mine, one was my moms and a set my grandmother had handed down.  I couldn’t remember the last time we used any of it.  First I offered them to my my daughter and daughter-in-law.  My daughter passed; my daughter-in-law took my grandmothers set.  I packaged them up in the following storage chests…Foldable Storage Chests .. Jumbo Storage Boxes .. Quilted China Starter Kit.  I tried to consign my mom’s set – unfortunately, there is no interest in these items anymore.  I ended up donating to my favorite thrift store – Gracie’s Cottage.  I actually moved my set with us, thinking we’d keep our formal dining room and china hutch.  That didn’t happen – the furniture ended up being to0 large and we ended up donating to Goodwill along with all of my china except for 2 dessert plates.  I’ve decided that a nice set of white plates can take you anywhere and that a fold out 6-ft table and chairs will work nicely when we have holidays at our house.
  • Only keep books that mean something to you today.  Donate to someone else that can use all the others.
  • Keep only the clothes you feel good in and will fit in the space you have.  Jeff and I were going from each having a closet to sharing one.
  • When deciding what to do with an item – ask yourself if you were to see it today for the first time would you spend money on it, want to store it, have a use for it and does it delight your heart.  If the answer isn’t yes – you are basically storing something that you have no use for.
  • We keep our lives cluttered with things.  The item(s) may be in the closet, drawers and cupboards but they also take up precious space in our mind and life.

So back to our kitchen.  We went from a 2800 square foot home to a 1600 square foot home.  It’s funny when you are looking to buy a new home it doesn’t really register what you are starting with until you do the final walk-through and then move in.  Everyone has their own taste and I believe the people who owned the house before us loved their home.  But we were looking forward to giving the house a simple open decor and discovered we were going to be busy.

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Here is a picture of what the kitchen looked like when we moved in – the cabinets had seen better days and had chips that you can’t really see in the picture.  It was painted a mint green with rooster decals as a backsplash and had plaid maroon and green curtains – the small dining room area was painted blue with the same curtains.  There wasn’t a pantry and we needed to use what we considered the hall closet for our food.  After cooking scallops on the stove, we soon discovered there wasn’t any venting from stove to outside for cooking.  The garbage disposal could inhale a bowl when turned on because all the rubber in the sink drain was nonexistent.  The features we liked:  hardwood floors, decent wooden shades on all the windows, gas stove, and kitchen window.

When you first move in – the first step is to make the space functional so our time was spent unpacking boxes, buying groceries (because eating out soon loses it’s luster).  Then the dreaming starts and the realization that kitchens aren’t inexpensive.   The appliances were delivered and I want to share one the best things we spent money on was a new Kitchen-Aid dishwasher.  The family room is very close to the kitchen and the dishwasher that came with the house was LOUD.  Our new dishwasher is so quiet we sometimes have to check to make sure we turned it on.

I took all the curtains down from the windows and Jeff removed the rooster decals.  He also fixed the oven venting problem.   We then headed to Superior Stone and Cabinets and began planning.  We chose a gray toned cabinet, decided to extend our island by 18 inches to include garbage bins, and add a 18″ pantry.  I have to say that I’ve been surprised how much the pantry can hold.  We were very happy with the service we received – Superior  delivered on exactly what they promised and were in and out of our home in 3 days.  First day was demolition…2nd day was cabinets…and 3rd day was the granite.  

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This was our old formica countertop.

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This is the cabinet and granite samples we chose along with our flooring and paint color for the kitchen.  We were feeling pretty bold that day and took a chance of really making the kitchen ours.

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This was the old sink with the nonexistent rubber part of the drain.  Yuk!  I was counting the days until my deep double stainless sink went in.

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Once they demo’d the kitchen,  Jeff painted with our paint color of choice Sherman Williams Analytical Gray.  We decided to paint the entire house this color to give it a continuous flow of calm throughout the house.  It also would provide the benefit of not having to store several paint cans in the garage.  The new pantry would be placed to the left of the refrigerator.

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Then it was cabinet day.  We had a trash compactor for 25 years and thought we would get another one but this has actually been a better option for us.  It encourages us to recycle.

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The third day, the granite went in, as well as the stainless steel sink.  We decided to have the backsplashes done in the granite as well. They also installed the new handles on the drawers and cupboards which we had found at Home Depot.  This was so very fun to watch go in.  Time for the dishes and cookware to go into their new home.  Because I wanted to maximize my counter space, I purchased a collapsible over the sink drain

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Here is a picture of our pantry.

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By the next day – appliances were back in, new faucet, garbage disposal, reverse osmosis system, and soap dispenser.

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Recently Jeff has added under cupboard lighting which is amazing – a very inexpensive, easy project and of course, it comes with a remote control.  Don’t get me started on how many remote controls we have..ceiling fans, sprinklers, lights…oh my.  These lights make a huge difference and have a lot of different settings.

I’d love to hear your downsizing/moving advice or experience.

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Spiralizer

Recently Jeff and I were watching a cooking show and saw a machine demonstrated that made amazing vegetable noodles.  Since we downsized our home and kitchen (you can read HERE), we have been really good about not purchasing much that needs real estate space in our home.  I made homemade spaghetti sauce (recipe coming soon) and once our little machine arrived, I was peeling a sweet potato and Jeff was washing the zucchini he had picked up on the way home.  In no time at all, we had a pile of zucchini and sweet potato noodles waiting for hot sauce.  I blanched the sweet potato spirals in boiling water for about 3 minutes.   Jeff did nothing to the zucchini.  I have used other tools and machines to get this effect but the difference with this machine is (1) it grips very well to the counter top (2) the noodles can be wound around a fork like pasta and (3) it is very easy to clean (4) the noodles aren’t wet.

We are always looking for ways to add vegetables into our diet and I can see many future possibilities.

Here is the link to this kitchen helper – HERE

Sweet potato noodles blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes and strained – bring on the sauce.

I sautéed some sweet potatoes in olive oil to add a crispy crunch to a salad and also a few raw zucchini noodles.

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Gluten Free Pancakes (from a mix)

Sometimes you need pancakes.  Yes you can eat your breakfast cereals, smoothies, eggs BUT there is a NEED for pancakes.  Now finding a good gluten free pancake recipe is tricky.  But I am happy to say that I have found a mix that I am giving an A+ to – the WafflePancake/Crepe mix was from Namaste  I added  coconut oil, eggs and  Silk coconut milk to the mix and I was ready to make some flap jacks.

Side note:  We downsized our home of 25 years this spring and feel a bit like Joanna and Chip of Fixer-Upper.  One of our projects was the kitchen.  I probably need to do a separate post of the particulars.  I’ve included  our before and after picture.  Now back to the pancakes.

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I’ve had my blue mixing bowls forever but these are very similar.  This is the griddle I have and love.  That little guy peeking in the background is the cutest tea bag infuser called Mr Tea

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These pancakes have a tender texture.  I like to make mine in 4″ circles and serve them several ways.  Here are a few ideas..(1)  A little grass fed butter (Kerrigold brand), Sunflower Seed Butter, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup or (2) Organic berries – sliced and mixed with a little organic syrup to release the juices, sweetened organic whipped cream – a delicious dessert.

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So excited to have a pantry.

I’ve linked up the products up above in case you are interested.

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