Thursday April 12, 2007

      I read this on someone’s blog recently, “In The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs said,this and that on tuesday 010_320x240 “The way to be rich is not by increasing wealth, but by diminishing our desires.”.  Dream if you will, but what you must do is learn to work with what you’ve got.”

     Oh, yeah!  That was my blog, huh?  When I started my less than perfect kitchen series, I said just that! Well… was time for me to take a dose of my own advice!

     I have a huge pantry!  Well, I guess it’s a pantry.  I’m not sure what the original intention for this space was by the original owners.  It amounts to a double wide closet with shelves.  The fixed shelves are too shallow and they are poorly spaced.   It is in the back hallway of my home, leading from my kitchen to my garage.  My laundry room is also off of this same hall way (as is the master bedroom, which is really a weird set up!).  My “dream” pantry would be something like this – adjustable chrome shelving, matching lined wicker baskets to hold smaller shelf items, open air pull out drawers for spuds and onions, a built in wine rack, etched glass bi-fold doors and a light inside the pantry!  LOL!!!  If you’re going to dream, dream big, right?!!

     I realize that I will likely never have my “dream” pantry.  What I’ve been hoping to do for the last several months is to repaint the inside of this pantry and see if I might re-organize it to make it more useful.  While I waited for the time and money to paint, the pantry got dirtier and the shelves became more and more disorganized. Having those doors to close kind of provided that “out of sight, out of mind” mentality for me.  However, keeping my homemaker’s journal on my laptop means that the chore of cleaning and re-organizing the pantry kept popping up every month and the “date last done” box showed that this job was way Pantry 004_320x240past due.

     The first thing I did was to empty everything out of the pantry.  This allowed me to check expiration dates and toss expired items as I went.  When I was done, I was met with quite a mess!  The shelves were dusty, and downright dirty in the corners.  There were grease marks from oil containers and sticky residue from molasses containers.  The floor was covered in bits and pieces of dog treats, stray paper napkins (which we don’t even use anymore!) and plain old dirt.  My bucket of wheat berries was stuck to the floor with what I can only assume was spilled honey. Yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck!!!

     I mixed up some hot, soapy water and added just a bit of ammonia and went to work.  Starting at the top of Pantry 005_320x240 one side, I washed down the walls, shelves and shelf supports, one shelf area at a time.  I followed the washing with a thorough rinse of hot water.  The soap and ammonia cleaned everything up beautifully, even the oily stains.  My pantry was now clean.  I scrubbed away a great deal of paint in the process, but it’s clean!!  The pantry could really use a fresh coat of paint, as well as some nice shelf liners, but neither are in the budget right now, so I’m happy with clean!

     I allowed the damp wood to dry in the air for awhile before I started putting things away.  In the meantime, I began sorting through my pantry items and put them in groups of things that belonged together.  As disorganized as the pantry was, things were, more or less, together, so this didn’t take too long.

     One thing I did want to remedy was the fact that half of my pantry is blocked off frequently.  Here’s the Pantry 009_320x240 situation – the cooling breezes in my area come from the south/south-west.  There are NO windows on the south side of my house.  However, our large garage door opens to the south.  A few years ago, Copper installed a screen door into our garage, so that we can open up the big garage door and the door into the house and allow the breeze to come in.   (It also gives our dog, Dixie, a nice view of the chicks in the brooder box in the garage!)  When the door into the garage from the house is open, though, it blocks half of the pantry.  This makes it very inconvenient to access pantry items on that side.  I made up my mind to put the more frequently used items (baking supplies, oil, snacks, etc.) on the left side of the pantry, and reserve the right side for things that are not used quite so often.

     I wiped down jars as I replaced them.  I relabeled jars that were missing labels.  I pulled out a couple of Tupperware lunch plates to put under my “sticky” containers of Karo syrup and molasses.  Before long, everything was back in the pantry. 

     When all was said and done, I ended up with not only a clean and neatly organized pantry, I found that I also have quite a bit of unused space in there!!!  Woo hoo!!  Here’s a finished look at both sides of the pantry…..

Pantry 010_320x240 Pantry 011_320x240     









      The left side has my cans of long-term storage items up top; our jars of specialty flours, nuts, coconut, baking chocolate, etc. on the next shelf; oils, vinegars, syrups, etc.; snack foods, cold cereal (Here’s where I hid your microwave popcorn, Honey!); and the gallon jugs of vinegar & oil, the dog’s treats and my basket of spuds on the floor.
The right side has our jars of hot cereal, broth and meatless gravy mixes on the second shelf; the jars of pastas and rice on the next shelf; our wine rack; with only my bucket of wheat berries on the floor.  The top shelf on this side is empty, as is 2/3 of the bottom shelf and most of the floor! 

     Yes, the pantry still needs paint, and shelf  liners would have helped make the shelves easier to wipe down in the future; but I am happy with the results of a few hours of work!   Next month I will simply need to straighten up the items on their shelves and wipe up any spills.  I won’t need to thoroughly empty and clean the pantry until next April!!! 

     I’m going to add this post to my Less Than Perfect Kitchen series.  You can access the articles in that series from the drop down menu box in my side bar, just above the archives!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your households!
Proverbs 31:27

Remember to pray for Karen!
(Her blog has updated several times this week!)

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10 comments to Thursday April 12, 2007

  • You can use wax paper for shelf liners in a pinch. If you need to do “art class” have the kids shave crayons or color onto wax paper, top with another sheet, and iron.
    My pantry is organized with empty baby wipe containers – make do with what you have!

  • Milehimama – “Make do with what you have”  My point exactly!!!! :coolman:  While my “dream” kitchen would include lovely wicker baskets, I am quite content, and always have been, using what I have on hand and NOT spending any money!  I’ve never thought of wax paper for shelf liners…..I may try it sometime. 

  • Your pantry looks wonderful!!! All sparkly and clean!

  • I love it!  I love that you take less-than-perfect situations and at least make it clean and neat, even if it can’t be perfect.  I would say that most of our homes are not 100% what we would like them to be, as far as the nice things we’d like, and you have done an excellent job of showing us how to “want what we have.”  Thank you!

  • Wow, I am so motivated to work on my pantry!! It’s become a bit disorganized over the past several months and it could definitely use some cleanup.

    Your’s looks really nice and easy to use.


  • You have a l~o~v~e~l~y pantry! My compliments.

    I posted a picture of my ‘arsonal’. 😉

  • HAHA, My mama’s dream pantry,  is more like a walk in closet… with too many cubic inches for canned goods!

    You are much more resonable in your dreams! ; )

    BTW, this reminds me that I need to clean out the pantry sometime this month, lol, but ours includes odd items like lightbulbs camping gear, and even a toothbrush (Lydia hid it within the oriental food, laundry basket)!!! This was definently a fun read!

    Semper fi,


  • Great post. I too need to do an organizing of my pantry. It needs painted as well. I have some leftover paint that I will be using on it. I have white wire shelves. I miss having solid shelves, but I make do with these. Thanks for the motivation to get things done.

    Blessings to you and yours