Tuesday, October 1, 2013

#kitchncure Day 2: Pantry edition

I saw the topic for day two of #kitchncure: the pantry. I let out a deep breath. As great as I felt about the fridge and freezer, I was hoping for a reprieve before we dove into dry goods. Because... well...

Dry stuff and counter stuff.     Spice cupboard.     Oils, sauces, vinegars, baking stuff.
Basement pantry shelf.     Soda, canning jars, and less-used cookware storage.     Cans, cans everywhere...

I have a lot of dried/canned/bottled goods. I mean, I have a bookshelf for a spice cabinet. And I use all of that stuff. And it's sort of overflowing out the bottom. And there are jars of dry goods on the counter. And I have cans sitting on exposed pieces of wall framing in the basement.

I may have a problem.

I recently took some control over the situation by adding a wooden Ikea shelf in the basement for less frequently used and overflow pantry items so that I can at least see what's in the cupboard and I don't have to feel as crazy about sharing what it looks like. But I learned and important lesson yesterday about the value of taking everything out of whatever you're cleaning and being merciless when deciding what goes back in.

First was the main dry goods cupboard - low-hanging fruit since I make most of my own spice mixes, soups, and sauces these days and that means this stuff - the bulk of what was in the cupboard - is unlikely to get used. Into the garbage went everything expired and into a donation bin everything I'm unlikely to use. By the time I was through I had room to move the counter jars into the cupboard. The boyfriend was thrilled.

Space! Glorious space! And so many jars...

Next: The spice cupboard. OK. So I don't use all of it after all - there was a lot of stuff that could be eliminated or downsized based on the turnover rates. I organized them roughly by purpose and vowed to stop buying Old Bay just because I see it. I didn't free up too much space, but things are a lot more ordered.

Next, into the sauces, oils, vinegars, and baking stuff. Turns out something on the top shelf (which I'm too short to see) spilled at some point and everything needed a good scrubbing. And. There were moths. Pantry moths. I really hate pantry moths. I tossed cream of wheat, bags of whole wheat and cake & pastry flour, one regular and one farmer's market pancake mix, then moved everything in all of the cupboards that wasn't infested into glass jars to foil the plans of future moths. My mom tells me a similar incident put her on to Tupperware back in the '70s.

Finally, it was time to hit the basement. I just stocked this shelf a few weeks ago, but as I'd cleared space upstairs I decided to move some dry goods back up and put all dry stuff I could into moth-proof containers. I also managed to move some of the stuff that had been on the floor onto the shelf.

The stuff on the wall I left where it was. It works for me.

And that's day two! The two biggest jobs hanging over my head are now complete.