June 1, 2023

Kitchen Projects - Before and Before

We are finally getting a dishwasher.

I have wanted a dishwasher for years. My first plan was to move the washing machine "somewhere else" and put a dishwasher there.  The options for "somewhere else" and associated costs were as follows:

Build an extension (£50,000+)
Remodel upstairs bathroom (£10,000+)
Put in current bathroom (£500, but need dodgy builder because this is technically illegal)
Convert downstairs bathroom to utility room (£3,000+ and loss of bathroom)

Unfortunately, the good ideas were not financially viable, and the financially viable ideas were not good.

I realized that if we remove a counter and two cupboards from our kitchen we can fit a full fridge-freezer (right now we have a under counter versions of both).  This option should be less than £500 (quote coming on Monday) and means we get a full fridge freezer (no more bending over!) and a dishwasher.

So, we need to say goodbye to this messy corner:

More importantly, we need to empty out the two cabinets.  This is not as easy as it sounds - we have a very small kitchen with many many things in it.  On Saturday I started the emptying process:

The left cabinet has baking supplies.  I decided to be a decanter and put as much as possible into Jars which we can put on our over door shelves.  It's gone OK:
I know labeling jars is silly, but I also know paper taped onto the side is not my favourite look:
I have no plan of action for the right hand cabinet - tea/coffee supplies and random spices and cooking seasonings:
And I also think far more kitchen real estate has gone to tupperware than I would like:
So, it's a work in progress. But I am getting somewhere!  One of the big considerations now is "how much of x do we really need in our kitchen?" During Covid we started ordering things in bulk because going to the store was awful.  At one point we had over 100 pounds of flour in our house.  Every time I would go to Lidl I would stock up on everything.  But now I'm more aware that space is the limiting factor for our kitchen, so perhaps we are better served by keeping less stock and re-buying more frequently

It's weird how quickly the "stock-up" mindset came in, and how tricky I'm finding it to change!

Do you like your kitchen?  Do you have enough storage?  Are you a stocker-uper or a buy-as-needer*?

*I know Gretchen Ruben calls this Underbuyer and Overbuyer, but who is to say what the right level of buyer is?  If there's an under-buyer shouldn't there be a "buyer" who does the right amount?  I think these are different forms of shopping, not "under" or "over" shopping.


  1. Thanks for asking, no we do not like our kitchen, and no we do not have enough storage. We've been planning to redo it forever but just haven't gotten around to it. I mean, it's great exercise to have to keep walking down to our basement panty and freezer every time that we cook a meal.

    I go back and forth on over/under buying. COVID definitely nudged us toward overbuying. On the one hand it's practical for a family of four to always have extra toilet paper on hand. On the other hand, it's a pain to have more than 5 pounds of flour in the house...

    1. Think of all those extra steps!

      You totally nailed it with "On the one hand it's practical for a family of four to always have extra toilet paper on hand. On the other hand, it's a pain to have more than 5 pounds of flour in the house..." So true.

    2. Exactly how I feel! When I was single, I would buy *just* enough food for the week, and I loved it! But my kids have gotten sick too many times on grocery shopping day for this to work now..

  2. I am glad you found a cheaper fix for your issue! I think spending over $60,000 and having your house in chaos would be a lot to handle. I also think you could remove that cabinet yourself with an electric drill and an extra set of hands.. :) then you can spend the extra $500 on more flour!

    I am definitely an over-buyer. I like to have things on hand when I want them and I like to have variety and I don't like having to go to the store at the last minute, or more than once per week, or when it is busy...etc. So I actually call this "planning ahead" and I prefer to be prepared for anything. HOWEVER, I am definitely not a doomsday prepper or any kind of prepper; I have watched videos of people with 100 lbs of flour, and of 100 lbs of oats and 40 cans of canned tomatoes etc. and I definitely have all of these things (and lots of dried beans!) but not in those quantities. I, like you, have limited space (my house was built in the 1920s), although I could make my garage into pantry but I have not gotten that bad yet! I am actually trying to eat my way through some of my stores right now rather than going to the store more and it is harder than I thought it would be (but I am saving a lot of money on groceries)!

    1. Oh I don't think I would have any trouble removing the cabinets... but I would have trouble not making it look awful after I did. We also need to get some holes behind the counter patched and I don't actually think there's any floor there, so I'm hoping £500 will sort it to OK/presentable. Me/Free would sort it to hole-y and vaguely functional. But the thought of £500 of flour is appealing....

      I did love your shopping post and I think you're quite frugal/responsible with your shopping. I need to eat more of my grains and dried goods as well to make room for the stuff-move, but I still have bulgar wheat, Pearl cous cous, and risotto rice that I haven't used. I need to get that on the food plan asap.

    2. Have you ever used one of these? https://realfood.tesco.com/what-can-i-make-with.html You can put in the ingredients you have, it pops out some possible recipes, you choose one, then you can create a shopping list that you can just use on your phone. Pretty handy! And then you can use up that rice!

  3. Goodness, your tupperware cupboard is so organized. Ours are many different sizes and shapes and I fling them in the drawer or cupboard and hope for the best. That's actually much of my approach to life, which sometimes backfires. Shocking, I know. I hate my kitchen and would love to tear it out and put in all new cabinets, but it's too expensive and horrible to think about, so I don't do it.

    We live in a little townhouse, with no garage and not much storage, so I do not tend to buy much. Once in awhile I will go crazy on toilet paper or paper towels (probably due to pandemic shortages). I do not consider myself to be an under buyer, but I do go to the grocery store almost every day. I hate planning meals (I used to do this and was very organized about it but came to hate it - I did more of that during the pandemic also, to avoid trips to the store)

  4. Our kitchen is from the fabulous 90s! lol A little storage but not crazy. I am definitely buy-as-needer since I don't like to have a lot of stuff, and our family doesn't have Cosco (a big box store) membership. I have this thing were I like to have white space in between the items in the refrigerator lol a little crazy! ;)

  5. You didn't post a full picture of your kitchen, but it does seem small, so yes, you have to be very strategic about storage and rearrange things. I am excited for you about the dishwasher though.

    I do not like our kitchen. It's old and ugly (and you've might have read about the tile saga). It's all very frustrating. We also do not have enough storage space, so I am constantly moving things from one corner to the other. Sigh. I think when it comes to grocery shopping, I am somewhere in the middle. I do stock up on a few things, but only so much that I know that I can use it up in a couple of months. The pandemic has definitely increased the feeling of "uneasiness", when things were not readily available at the stores, but I also made a conscious effort NOT to clear out any items (like so many people did LOL).

  6. We had a dishwasher installed in our 100yo house when we moved in. We lost a cabinet to the dishwasher itself and the cabinet next to it is virtually inaccessible now. Oh, well. Totally worth the lost space (to us!) for the convenience of the dishwasher. We store rarely used small appliances and some pantry staples in the basement instead of having them easily on hand in the kitchen, but you make do however you can, right?