Starting the new year with a clean and organized kitchen was painfully thrust upon me by the presence of a mouse in our kitchen in Colorado.
We had planned our Christmas trip to see kids and grandkids and have a few leisurely lunches with friends, but I spent several of the first days there cleaning up after a mouse and reorganizing my kitchen.
I had a mouse in the house several years before and knew that one had come in around the gas line under the kitchen island and sure enough the steel wool pads had been pushed up and a new generation of mouse had decided to visit.
I hate mice and this one had been into several cupboards and cabinets. So all cupboard and cabinet contents went through the dishwashers and those with evidence underwent a thorough Clorox bath. As my daughter-in-law, the nurse, explained, mice carry the hanta-virus and Clorox must be used to banish all evidence and lingering generosity.
On the other hand, I was given the opportunity to go through cabinets that hadn’t been sorted through in years. I combed through all the detritus that had settled into drawers (you know what I mean) and cupboards and gave the pantry a good cleaning too.
After several days cleaning the insides of everything, the outsides seemed to demand the same, so all is clean at the same time. I could then focus on Christmas and trying to get lights plugged in (I had strung lights on three evergreens out front over the summer), hang a few wreaths and put a large swag on the front gate to the courtyard.
We were having a family dinner at a local restaurant when one of my neighbors commented on all the lights at the house. This I told him comes with stringing them in June and plugging them in December. (I also plug them in the summer when we have a party.)
A little adjustment of the lights was in order but they all seemed to weather the weather and perform well. We had a hit with the lights, trees and the good food that came out of a thoroughly clean and organized kitchen — the grandkids thought so anyway.
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.