I just finished my first weekend off since becoming a home owner, readers, and I didn’t waste any time picking up a tedious little task in the kitchen – removing the shelf liner paper. When Catherine and I first arrived to the house, a mere two days into owning it, for our cleaning party, we spent a bit of time scrubba-dub-dubbing the cupboards in the kitchen. They weren’t as gross as they could have been, but they were still kinda grubby. Think of years of slowly-building-up kitchen grime – crumbies, grease, that weird dusty grease that kitchens get – all concentrated in the nooks and crannies of the cupboards where my food and food holding/serving items will live. Our first course of action was a simple bath for each cupboard, wiping down all surfaces with all purpose cleaner mixed with water. This was also the night that we dealt with the wet carpet and rolled it up for drying, so you can understand that we weren’t super duper thorough with this first kitchen cleaning.
The inside of my cupboards looked like this:
Isn’t that awful? It looks like 1985 threw up inside my drawers. My house was built in 1979, and I feel like this paper might be almost as old as the house. Also, it was on every. single. horizontal. surface. in the kitchen:
It was also mismatched and just plain awful in some cases. How much can this garbage actually cost? Do you really need to skimp on the paper and use the scraps, rather than a full piece for the shelf?
My initial thought was “this needs to go, immediately”, because I truly, deeply hated it. But I was concerned about what was underneath. And if I started to peel if off, it was go hard or go home, and there was no turning back. I gingerly peeled back a corner to see what I was working with:
Not terrible. Most of the shelves in the kitchen can be removed from the cupboards (score! easier peeling), and it’s all that cheapie MDF board with some kind of laminate on top, it’s just old. The edges are a little chipped, as you can see in the picture above, and in some places, it’s been worn down to the cardboard-esque stuff underneath the colour. But it’s a million time better than what’s on it, so off she goes!
It all came off easily, it didn’t rip or leave large chunks of the paper behind, it just left this slightly sticky film from the adhesive.
The shelves all have this plastic edge protector on them, which has a light greasy grime coating. Mmm. I dealt with that later, but for now, this was encouraging. I can easily peel off the paper, and the shelf underneath is OK. Let the peeling begin!
We’re also working at the house all this week without all of our usual things, like a stool for reaching high up stuff. I teetered on a shelf of some kind that the previous owners left outside on the curb. (Side note, but worth mentioning: I won’t be keeping the shelf, it’s kind of ghetto). Does this look safe?
This was only step one, unfortunately. Step two was getting all of the sticky off the shelves. On our most recent adventure to Home Depot, we picked up a bottle of Goo Gone Gel Spray, and I went to town scrubbing those cupboards. My process was spraying with Goo Gone and then immediately scrubbing the shelf with a scouring pad, letting it sit for a few minutes while I did another shelf, then wiping it off with soapy water. This process also took forever.
Because of all the work involved in just getting rid of the paper, I’m totally stuck on what to do with the shelves now. I’m leaning toward doing nothing, since I can’t bring myself to re-paper them (because of all the cutting and measuring involved), and painting them also seems like a daunting task. Nothing it is! The inside walls of each cupboard are painted, and I figure that’s the only part we’ll see most of the time. If I truly hate it, I’ll do something about it later. And eventually we’ll be ripping out the whole kitchen and playing Ikea kitchen, so I’m fine with it for the next few years.