Hey, who made this big mess?
But I had a good reason!
Let me go back to the beginning…
It was 1999 and we were moving into our new home. I was especially excited about setting up the kitchen because we had totally redone it from the floor up.
Since Teacher likes to cook we’ve amassed about a gazillion containers of herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, and etc. I decided to set up the corner cupboard, with it’s double-decker lazy susan, as our spice cupboard.
It sounded like a good idea at the time but after a couple of years I realized I’d made a mistake. The lazy susan shelves were always crammed full of stuff and defied all efforts at organization. Whenever you turned the top shelf, at least a dozen containers flew off into the far recesses of the cupboard. And you could hardly turn the bottom one because it was so buried by containers and other stuff crammed into the corners and sides of the cupboard.
It was a mess.
We tried in vain to organize the area with shoe box lids, small plastic containers, Tupperware spice carousels, and art bin containers. It would look nice for a while, but eventually became a disaster again.
Teacher and I had pretty much resigned ourselves to the chaos – we had more important things to worry about – until one day when
I broke the lazy susan the lazy susan broke.
I was looking for cinnamon and started turning the upper lazy susan shelf slowly to keep the rest of the containers in place. It was very hard to turn, but this happened a lot; stuff got caught between the edge of the lazy susan and the wall. Usually if you kept turning the stuck item dislodged and the shelf would turn freely again.
So I kept turning.
It got really hard to turn, so I pushed really hard, to dislodge whatever was stuck. Suddenly there was a CRACK and the whole shelf dropped about three inches. I jumped about three feet into the air, then froze and stared stupidly at the shelf.
Did I mention the word “stupid”? Of course, I tried to turn it again.
It wiggled, but wouldn’t turn.
Looking more closely I saw that it was being held up by the tall containers on the bottom shelf, and there was a mangled half-circle of plastic lying near the center pole on the bottom shelf.
Ruh roh, Raggy – I think it’s a goner!
I couldn’t do anything about it at the moment so I grabbed a flashlight, crawled half-way into the cupboard to find the cinnamon, and finished making breakfast. A girl’s gotta keep up her strength, right?
The next day I told my mom about the lazy susan and she told me about a home improvement show that had put drawers in a corner cupboard instead of a lazy susan. We decided that drawers wouldn’t necessarily waste any more space than a lazy susan, would be easier to organize and would be less likely to have things fall off than a lazy susan.
I couldn’t quite figure out how the corner drawers would work, so I did a Google search and found the above photo at Curbly, a DIY community. I could spend HOURS there getting more ideas than we’d have time or money for in our whole lifetimes. What a cool place!
That option would require more time and money than we were willing to put into it, so Teacher and I discussed other ideas. We finally decided to try plastic drawer units. He measured the cupboard space, then we went shopping.
Now you can see where the mess came from. The first thing we had to do was empty the cupboard.
Yuck! I really have cleaned it out – several times in fact – since 1999!
Once I had almost everything out of the cupboard Teacher took apart the lazy susan. Ain’t nothing hotter than a man with a tool in his hand… Unless it’s a man wearing a tool belt with a tool in his hand. Mmmm-mmm!
Now I can reach the rest of the stuff more easily.
And it’s out!
Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew! I didn’t know it was that yucky in there! Obviously we’ve had some spillage… Looks like corn syrup, oil, and I’ll bet more than one of those little soy sauce packets exploded in there.
I think the petrified corn syrup is going to be the most difficult to clean up.
This is a job for Super Mom!
Cue superhero music… Believe it or not, I’m walking on air; I never thought I could be so free-ee-ee…
Name that superhero!
Flying away on a wing and a prayer, who-oo could it be-ee…
What? Procrastinating? Me? Naw… OK, yes. You caught me – time to tackle that grossness.
I scrubbed and rinsed and soaked and scrubbed and rinsed, and finally discovered that Teacher’s putty knife was the most effective at scraping the petrified corn syrup off.
Then it was time for supper and Margaritas and dishes and putting the boys to bed, and I forgot to take a photo of the clean cupboard. You would have been awed and amazed though. Really!
Teacher helped me put the drawer units into the cupboard and the spices into the drawers.
Since it was Sunday night we didn’t worry about organizing them much; it was more important to get them off the kitchen floor.
There’s a big drawer for our Penzeys refill bags. Which have since been alphabetized.
And another for dried peppers and other Mexican ingredients.
I labelled the top of each jar with its contents using a black or silver Sharpie. If I was cool like my friend Nicole I’d have a label-maker, but I’m not that cool.
What an improvement – it looks good, and we can find what we’re looking for!
Why didn’t we think of this years ago??
Wow, that’s nasty, but don’t be emberassed – it can happen to all of us. Especially if you own a ton of spices and ingredients it is very, VERY easy to lose oversight. I have always been envious of my grandma and her pantry – full of stuff but everything was easily accessible. She didn’t even use any drawers, just stacked all kinds of canned food etc.
Happy you could solve your little problem. Be glad nothing more happened because these “petri dishes” can and will grow nasty mold of all colors if you let them. Especially the black variety is very, very unhealthy.
Gee Ryan, you really know how to hurt a gal’s feelings!
Just kidding – nasty is a good word for it. Someday I’m going to have a perfectly clean house where every room is free of clutter and dust, the closets are well-organized and lightly scented, and everything is always in place. At least that’s the dream I console myself with when the house is trashed; which is more often than not. In the meantime I’ll keep taking baby steps toward that perfect home, and celebrate each little victory. 😉
By the way, was your grandma a “homemaker” like mine? My grandma’s kitchen and pantry were always organized perfectly, and her whole house smelled like lemon oil from the weekly furniture polishing. Oh, to have nothing to do all day but cook, clean and organize – I’ll bet our grandmothers never dreamed we’d envy their lives!
Thanks for commenting,
My grandparents were very conservative and orderly. Every trip to their house was a trip back to the 50s as they rarely changed a thing. The kitchen was my grandmas place. Cooking and keeping the kitchen tidy was her thing and noone was allowed to even help her make dinner. She was a wealth of information and kept her recipes as treasures of a time long gone. She knew all the tricks of the trade and still used a wooden stove with a cooking countertop to make meals or boil hot water in a kettle. Quite fascinating 🙂
Found this yesterday, liked it and ripped out my Lazy Susan which seemed like no small feat as I am no handy woman! However it was fairly straight forward but now that it’s all taken appart I am wondering what to do about the door to the lazy susan and noticing that your pictures show no doors on your newly revamped lazy susan. What did you do? Were you able to reuse (slice down the middle?) the old lazy susan cabinet door?
ps – I may have experienced some lazy susan nastiness of my own; however I will opt not to post the pictures! I’m not that courageous but thanks for posting yours I don’t feel quite as bad 🙂
We kept our door, it was just out of the way for the photos. Our door is connected to the outer cabinet, not the lazy susan itself, like this one:
I don’t know if your door is the same as mine or not, but if it was connected to the lazy susan I’d see if my talented hubby could add hinges to hang it on the cabinet.
Thanks for commenting!
(Photo credit: Topstone International Corporation)
Thank u for the reply! Hinges! Now why did I think I’d have to saw the door into two doors first? So glad I asked before pulling out the saw.
Thanks for offering up your hubby to do my house chores but I’ve bought the hinge and door handle and once the paints dry tomorrow I’ll screw them in myself! However, if your hubby is avaliable for cleaning, cooking or landscaping please do send him over.
I’m glad you didn’t pull out the saw too!
I’d love to see a photo of your lazy susan when it’s done! (Sorry, you can’t borrow my hubby – I’ve got too many projects dreamed up for him, LOL!)
Awesome. Mine broke and I am very frugal. We store pots and other items we rarely use. I will be heading to IKEA to see what I can put in there for shelving. Thanks for inspiration
We love seeing your page and your original posts. I would like you to know our blog because we write a lot about wood flooring (piso de madeira) and we can exchange lots of information in the future
Thanks! With the longer Thanksgiving weekend we considered working on the floors but decided not to tackle them yet. We’ll have to do some research – and maybe practice on the basement steps – before starting. I’m afraid it’s going to be a bigger job than we think.
Reading his blog, I was very eager to remodel my house too. Thanks
Great idea and one of the cheaper ones I’ve seen. One of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. If there is space between the drawers you’ll put a little lazy Susan there for the stuff on the floor.
What a great idea – thanks! That would make it easier to reach things, instead of having to reach waaaaaay back into the corner.
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