Clean House Challenge: Day 10 — Purge, Clean, Organize Kitchen Cupboards | #housekeeping #organization #cleanhousechallenge

Yesterday, when I started working on the kitchen drawers, I realized I’d need some organization helpers. So after the gym this morning, I stopped by the dollar store in the same shopping center and picked up several different types of organizers. And then, in a couple of quick breaks from work, I completed the Day 9 task of purging, cleaning, and organizing the kitchen drawers.

Clean House Challenge — Day 10: Purge, Clean, Organize Kitchen Cupboards (Cabinets)
I actually have a tub of pans/dishes that I’ve never unpacked since I moved here last June—but I did do the majority of needed purging of kitchen stuff back then. Which means that for me, organizing the kitchen cabinets involves more unpacking and rearranging than actual purging. But everything can always stand to be cleaned, right?

After the dollar-store run earlier today, I did take a couple of 10-minute breaks from work and got started with the cabinet beside the stove where I keep the spices and stuff for cooking.

Once I empty the dishwasher in a few minutes, the majority of what I’ll need to do will be to bring the un-unpacked kitchen stuff in from the garage, sort through it, get rid of some/all of it (after all, I haven’t used/needed it in a year) and then find homes for the rest of it.

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Clean House Challenge: Day 9 — Purge, Clean, Organize Kitchen Drawers | #housekeeping #organization #cleanhousechallenge

Now that I’m done traveling for work, it’s time to get back to work on the Clean House Challenge . . . a challenge which has 31 days, but which I knew there was no way I’d be able to complete in one month. But I’m determined to work my way through it! And one of the things that I need to continue to do daily, whether it’s on the detailed schedule or not, is a 10- to 15-minute targeted declutter of a certain area/space in the house whenever I can throughout the day.

Today, in a 10-minute break from work before a meeting started (I work from home), I managed to get a couple of boxes of books, which have just been sitting in my office closet since I moved in more than a year ago, unpacked and shelved. They aren’t in a particular order—that can come later. But now those boxes are gone and the closet is starting to look less like a junk room!

Clean House Challenge — Day 9: Purge, Clean, Organize Kitchen Drawers
Including those in my “supplemental cabinet” (a.k.a., the mobile island I had in my previous house), I have six drawers in my kitchen:

…and they definitely need to be purged, cleaned, and organized!

And because it’s been a couple of weeks since I really did much, other than go out of town for work, I definitely need to do several more 10- to 15-minute decluttering sprints!

How’s your house coming along?

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Clean House Challenge Day 8, Part II — Work on the Pantry/Utility Room Continues

After getting all of the shelves on one side of the pantry/utility room purged, cleaned, and organized yesterday, my task for today is to tackle the other side.

I hadn’t planned to do anything yet, so I didn’t think to take a “before” photo—here’s a screen capture from the video I posted yesterday.

Since I made beef jerky last night (recipe to be posted soon) and want to try to do apple chips today (I’ve tried it a couple of times before with little success), I needed to run the trays of the dehydrator through the dishwasher on a quick wash cycle. But that meant emptying the load I’d run last night.

There were a few plastic containers and lids that needed to be put away and instead of doing what I’ve been doing recently—which is either stacking them on the washer and/or dryer or tossing them onto a shelf—I pulled everything and sorted, purged, and organized it all.

Now that I have a vacuum sealer/food saver, I can probably get rid of a bunch of these containers!

There’s still plenty to do on this side of the room, but it helps to know it only took about 15 minutes to do this.

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Work on the Pantry (Day 8) Has Begun

Clean House Challenge Day 8 — Purge, Clean, and Organize the Pantry/Utility Room started with removing all the food from the shelves so they could be cleaned. I organized all this stuff while unloading the shelves to make putting it away easier and faster.

Update, 1 Hour Later:


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#LowCarbRecipe: Pork and Green Chile Stew, Revisited

Can you believe it? A recipe post from me! It’s been so long. But there’s a reason why the kitchen is the first room I’ve concentrated on during the 31-Day Clean House Challenge. Because for me, a clean, organized kitchen not only makes meal planning and prep easier, it’s an open invitation to cook. And as part of that challenge, I cleaned out the freezer the other day and realized I had several packets of frozen, shredded pork roast that I needed to use soon.

I also had several small fresh tomatoes from the container garden I’m cultivating on my back deck.

And I recently opened a jar of roasted green chile that I need to either use or freeze soon, before it goes bad.

Pork and Green Chile Stew II
Here’s the original recipe for a version of this. I made a lot more of it this time!


  • 32 oz (4 cups) beef or pork broth (I used beef, since that’s what I already had) = 0 net carbs
  • Approx. 2 cups shredded pork roast–because this was cooked with onion, I counted 2 carbs per cup = 4 net carbs
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped roasted Hatch green chile–depends on how spicy you want it (I like it spicy). The 505 brand is 3 carbs per 2 tablespoons, so 1/2 cup = 12 net carbs
  • 1 cup skinned, diced tomato = 5 net carbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano = 1 net carb
    16 net carbs total for the above recipe
  • Other herbs/spices and/or veggies as desired (don’t forget to calculate for additional carbs)

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add broth and meat and bring to a boil. (My meat was frozen, so I set it on a lower temperature and covered it and let it cook away for a half hour or so until the meat was heated through. If your meat isn’t frozen, this shouldn’t take long, since the meat is already cooked.)

Add chiles, tomatoes, oregano, and other seasonings if desired, return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer at least 30 minutes, up to a few hours, before serving.

This recipe makes four (5.5 carbs) to six (3.6 carbs) dinner-size servings.

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 8 — Clean and Organize Pantry (or, Why I’m Procrastinating)

I’m trying to keep myself on a schedule of allowing no more than one day to lapse in between completing the assigned CHC tasks on the schedule. So why haven’t I completed Day 8 yet?

Clean House Challenge — Day 8: Purge, Clean, and Organize the Pantry

If you didn’t watch the video, or just watched with the sound off, because my utility room serves double-duty as the pantry—and because it’s become the catch-all as I’ve cleaned the kitchen—it’s a big task that’s given me palpitations every time I’ve looked at it or stepped into it as I was doing meal prep for the upcoming week today.

But I did at least do meal prep today—and I cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes as I went (after unloading the dishwasher before I started). The kitchen was just as sparkling clean when I finished as it was when I started!

And Monday morning is trash pickup for me, so I need to at least get the purge part of cleaning the pantry done tonight so that whatever needs to be thrown away can go ahead and go out tonight.

I’ll check in down in the comments as I go!

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31-Day Clean House Challenge: Day 7 — Kitchen: Clean Large Appliances

Yesterday ended up being so busy, I didn’t have time to do much more than a 15-minute declutter. But I at least did that! How is the challenge going for you? Are you building any good habits (like doing that quick 15-minute declutter with a timer regularly?).

Clean House Challenge — Day 7: Clean Large Kitchen Appliances
I purged, cleaned, and organized the interiors of the fridge and freezer on Day 6. (See after photo on my Facebook Page.) But I didn’t clean the exterior of it because I knew that could wait until today.

The side of the kitchen I haven’t shown yet.

In my previous house, my major kitchen appliances were white—because I liked the fact that they helped keep the kitchen nice and bright in an older house without more than a standard two-bulb ceiling fixture. When I bought this house a year ago, it came with a complete package of black appliances (and while they look like a suite from a single manufacturer, every single one is a different brand).

Something I’ve discovered about black appliances over the past year is that, like stainless steel, they show everything—every smudge, droplet, finger print, etc. Which stinks, from a standpoint of physically having to clean it, but is great, I suppose, because it means it shows that it needs to be cleaned more often. But even though I wipe the surfaces with a disposable kitchen wipe every other day or so, there are areas that get neglected.

For example, the tray under the ice/water dispenser:

The handles on the fridge/freezer doors:

Or the front of the dishwasher:

And how often do you do a deep cleaning of the interior of your microwave or dishwasher?

The nice thing about most of these appliances is that—if you don’t want to use a commercial cleaning spray (I used Lysol’s all-surface cleaner)—they’re easy enough to wipe down with some warm vinegar-water and dry off with paper towels, if necessary.

Don’t forget to clean “under the hood” of the stove!

For those places that cannot just be wiped down, here’s what I did:

  • For the microwave: After wiping it out with a damp cloth, soak a washcloth in a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 white vinegar (dripping wet). Place this on a paper plate in the microwave and nuke it for five minutes. Let it sit closed for at least another seven to ten minutes—or until the wash cloth is still hot but can be handled with bare hands without burning. Use the cloth to wipe out the interior of the microwave. If this hasn’t gotten all of the caked-on gunk, repeat the process.
  • For the dishwasher: After unloading the clean dishes, add one packet of unsweetened lemonade drink mix powder to the detergent dish and run a full wash cycle. Read more about this method on WikiHow.
  • For the interior of the oven: I’ve only used the oven a few times in the year I’ve lived here. So it already looked pretty clean to me. I did a quick wipe with a dry cloth, and then set it on self-clean overnight.
  • For the stove drip pans: After removing the burners and drip pans, I wiped out anything loose from the drip pans, then filled the sink with hot water and added a dryer sheet and a few squirts of liquid dish soap. After soaking for a couple of hours, the burned-on stuff came off using the scouring side of a dish sponge.

Once you’re finished, enjoy the sparkle!

Have you started your challenge yet? What successes have you had in the challenge so far?

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