Friday, August 13, 2010

Kitchen Cupboards via the Ruthism way

Ruthisms are thoughts, compromises, and quirky mannerisms contrived by me to help me cope in this life. Ruthisms are also filled with household hints. My housekeeping philosophy lies somewhere between Martha Stewart and MAXINE (of MAXINE cartoon fame). I also give Erma Bombeck and Roseann Barr credit to contributing to my household philosophy.

An example of my compromise between Martha Stewart, MAXINE and my own family practice.

My family would purchase beautiful shelf paper, use the graph lines on the back of the adhesive, cut perfect squared corners and lay shelf paper expertly on the surfaces of the cupboard. No folds, perfectly aligned, and without patches this shelf paper would serve as a reminder of how conscientious we keep our cupboards, clean and neat. Before 1970, the paper could also be seen folded neatly over the front of the shelf. This was visually appealing to admire the shelf paper design from afar. Thus you usually had a theme whereas your shelf paper matched your pot holders, dish towels, and resting spoon.

This method although tried in the beginning of my marriage was followed to the T (T as in the square guide used to perfectly align the paper) did not fare well in my home. For one thing, I worked full time. To shelf a kitchen usually took the better part of a day. My seven children would place or remove dishes from the cupboards in such a way that the paper would become ripped. The ripped self-adhered paper would then attract dirt and this became visually disgusting. Placing a drinking glass lip side down on this filthy adhesive surface made my skin crawl. Therefore I was forced to change shelf paper 3-4 times a year. Using excato knives, scrappers, I would crawl into my cupboards and remove the squared corners of the carefully placed shelf paper.

So ergo my Ruthism: I place clean dish towels on my kitchen shelves. Therefore my dishes, glasses, utensils rest on a clean surface. But because my family is not careful with the cupboards, dirt, crumbs, dishevel happens frequently. Once a month I sanitize my home, my husband suffers from diabetes and "germs" are our enemy. I gather up the dish towels from the cupboards, place new dishtowels in the cupboards and use the "used" towels for the subsequent housecleaning. I will use the used towels, to wipe the refrigerator, stove, rest of the cupboards, bathtub and sinks, dust and remove marks from the walls. The soiled towels will go in the hot, whiting wash and be folded to replace soiled towels the following month.


  1. I put sheets of cork down on the shelves. Then you can put the glasses, etc. away when wet and it wicks away the wetness. How is that for lazy? But it also keeps the glasses from nicking their edges, and the dishes don't clatter. So how is that for clever?

  2. Best wishes on this new project!

    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family, again.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  3. Ruth-- Rubbermaid or Tupperware, I forget which, makes some nice shelf liner material that's kinda stretchy rubbery & fabric-like. It's great for glasses & dishes & I'm pretty sure you can hand wash it, though um, I haven't done that w/mine. :) (Not a detail housekeeper. LOL) Also it provides a bit of grip, so in earthquake country, it MAY help keep things from sliding off shelves, though I hope I don't find out the hard way.