Mini Lesson: The Change Cycle

On Saturday I ripped the kitchen apart, again. Because I’ve gone through everything multiple times, I didn’t really find anything to donate. But I did go through my spice shelf and tossed some things which expired back in 2012. I don’t know why I didn’t do this the last time I reorganized this space.

Since I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes, I finally saw a pattern in how I’ve been approaching my project during the past year. I have revisited several spaces throughout the course of the year, and each time I felt a little frustrated because I felt I’d left things incomplete, or inadequate. When I was working on the kitchen, I felt I’d be improving the current function of the room but I also felt like my prior efforts were wasted.

And while it’s great to do things right the first time, I think it’s rare. I think there will always be a cycle which will look like this:

Make the change.

Evaluate the change.

Change the change.


Maintenance needs to be in there somewhere too, but I’m not sure where. Reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and drawers was something I did pretty early in my project. And I did a pretty big overhaul last September, which involved clearing space for some pantry items in the laundry room.

Even though I didn’t really have a formal evaluation process, I realized I wasn’t loving the results of my past efforts. I didn’t like having to schlep downstairs to get food when making dinner, and having to return things when finished. My china’s been stored in open shelving, which wasn’t staying as neat as I wanted. And generally I just felt I wasn’t using the space as well as I could. So I pulled pretty much everything out of the cabinets and drawers, and started over.

Here are some after photos:

Corner cabinet

Corner cabinet

I brought the food (mostly pastas & rice) from the shelf in the laundry room and relocated it all into this corner cabinet, which I’d been using for food storage containers. Why I used such a big cabinet for food containers escapes me. I did end up recycling a bunch of older containers from to-go meals. Most people end up with too many food containers and I was no exception. I condensed from a large corner cabinet to two shelves in a smaller cabinet.


Unexpired spices and a reasonable number of food containers.

This cabinet with spices, measuring cups, prep bowls and containers, is directly above where I prepare dinner so it makes more sense to have these items nearby.


Set up to facilitate coffee consumption.

We have a lot of mugs, and since we tend to drop and break these, I stored a few extra. This cabinet is directly above the coffee maker so it made sense to have the sugar and mugs here.  Previously I had the sugar bowl and pitcher on the counter top but I think they work better in the cabinet.

I spent a lot of time working on this. For most of the time, it seems I stood and thought about what would work best, so I didn’t totally finish. There are still a few small fixes to make which I will share later in the week.

4 Responses to Mini Lesson: The Change Cycle

  1. You’re doing a great job! I don’t think the process ever ends. As you keep doing this, your ideas of what you need to keep will evolve and you’ll find yourself getting rid of more and more as you realize how much you like the empty space around you. We’ve been on this path for a year now and are currently working in the basement. We will never be minimalists but we are done being hoarders. Yes, we will keep extras of lots of things, but this year, after cleaning out the basement many times before, I finally got rid of the paint that is perfectly good, but I know will not be used again. Keep up the good work!

  2. You’ve really come a long way! Michelle is right, the process never totally ends. What we are doing as a family, is really thinking about each item we bring into our house. As well, even more has left our house. And another donate pile has been started 2 weeks ago, lol! My thing is I love to read, and love the look of a bookcase filled with books (neatly organized, that is, lol;)!). But even with that, I have been donating every book as I finish it, because I am working, and getting closer at an end result, of a minimalist home. And it would have taken me a heck of a lot less time, if only I had not brought the stuff into the house in the first place, lol! But, I’m probably 3/4 finished in my pursuit of a clutter free house, and it is feeling SO GOOD! And it looks like you have come a LONG way yourself! You deserve a pat on the back, my friend!!

  3. Hi Tracy,

    I think you are too hard on yourself! I have seen endless numbers of boxes leaving your premises (in your post photos!). This simple thing is not a one shot deal, it’s a process. I don’t think it ever ends. Our lives change, too, so what was right to keep this year may not be right for you or your family next year. Please give yourself some credit for all that you have done and the posts you have shared with your audience here 🙂

  4. You are doing SO well! almost no stuff in, and heaps and heaps out! Of course you have to read, cook, eat, live, but you are a rolemodel, inspiration and I love to read your posts!

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