Pantry Organization: My Excuse for Not Blogging this Weekend

You might have noticed that I didn’t post yesterday.  There’s a really good reason for that!  You see, the spring bug came by my house and bit me.  I spent the weekend working like a maniac on spring cleaning.

Okay…

I didn’t exactly clean the house.

But I did organize the pantry!  And that is a big job!

Part way through, I decided to take some pictures so that I could share the shame of my pantry with the public.  Because I’m wild and crazy like that.  So here goes!  Are you ready?

This is what my pantry looked like before I got started. (Wow, that is a blurry picture!)

Ignore the top shelf. I didn't start taking pictures until after I cleaned and organized it.
Ignore the top shelf. I didn’t start taking pictures until after I cleaned and organized it.

It’s blurry because I wanted to hide just how filthy it was.  Not because I am a horrible photographer.  Yeah.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

It doesn’t actually look so bad from here.  Let me assure you, though, that it is bad.  Behind the books (that fell out every time I opened the door) were piles of junk.  Stuff we never, ever used.  Ever.  The bottom shelf was a total junk shelf.  I don’t even know what that is piled up on the middle 3rd shelf from the bottom in this picture.  And the second shelf from the top?  That’s The Spice Shelf.

Oh, let me tell you about The Spice Shelf.

Back in my youthful and carefree days, I used to cook Indian food.  It’s so delicious.  It requires so many spices.  My spice shelf is incredibly well-stocked.  Trouble is, I can’t find any of my darn spices.  This means, I end up thinking I’m out of oregano and I purchase another bottle only to find that I’ve already got an open bottle plus another new bottle waiting in the wings!  It’s a problem!  Plus, a lot of my spices are 9 years old.  You stick your nose down in them and you can’t smell what they are.  Stale spices do not a flavorful meal make.  Here’s another problem.  That area over on the right?  That’s where my oils and vinegars live.  Those guys sometimes drip.

Here’s a shot of the shelf once I emptied it out.

Oh, my. Would you look at that grunge?

I guess it doesn’t seem so bad from here.  I mean, that could just be where cans and bottles scraped the shelf right?

Wait…

Oh.  Oh, no.

Oh, no. Oh, nonononono.  I mean... Why?  It's just... No.
Oh, no. Oh, nonononono. I mean… Why? It’s just… No.

Yes, folks.  That is what the inside of my pantry was like.  Gross.

I cleaned it with vinegar, followed with a grease cleaner, and finished again with water and some more vinegar.

In the meantime, this is what my kitchen looked like.

As my mom says, "Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better."
As my mom says, “Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better.”

My poor, organized husband seemed very concerned that the kitchen would stay like this for the rest of the week.  I tend to get sidetracked, you see.

But I managed it.  I got my shelves emptied and cleaned.  Items that were previously in floppy, sloppy bags, I decanted (that’s a great word) into tidy mason jars.

Ignore the top shelf. I didn't start taking pictures until after I finished it.
Ignore the top shelf. I didn’t start taking pictures until after I finished it.

 

I have restored the shelves to their former cleanliness.  I tossed the old, stale spices.  I placed a plastic place mat underneath my oils, vinegars, and sauces to catch drips.  I have added a variety of items that we don’t use at all to the donation box.  I freed up enough space to put the baking pans, muffin tins, and cookie sheets into the pantry where they will be easy to reach.  The snacks are down where the Grasshopper can actually get to them if she’s hungry.  I made space in my other cabinets so that things don’t fall out when I open those drawers.

It looks good!  It feels good!

It may not look that different from the outside, but if you stick your head inside, it's like a whole other world!
It may not look that different from the outside, but if you stick your head inside, it’s like a whole other world!

So that is why I didn’t post this weekend.  Legitimate excuse?  You be the judge.  I’m just glad I can find the oregano now.

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