Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The kitchen pantry

The wonderful Katie over at The Hyper Homemaker has organized a Fall Cleaning Challenge. Normally, I like to think of myself as keeping a clean household. Don't get me wrong, I definitely have my days where my house looks like a tornado swept through it, but overall I tend to keep things pretty clean. I certainly recognized the need to do some additional seasonal cleaning and prep for winter (every time I say that I immediately think of animals hording food, it's weird). Anyway, I was truly inspired by some of the before and after photos other bloggers shared of their kitchen pantries. Inspired enough to tackle my own pantry, which was pretty scary.

In my own world I'm a clean individual. Of course this is where my husband and I differ. He's organized and I'm clean. You would think that this would be a fantastic coupling to have, but it's not. The hubs will have everything stashed away, but is completely complacent with 2 inches of dust covering his dresser. Two inches is an obvious exaggeration, I would never let it get that bad. Me, on the other hand, I tend to be more disorganized, but clean. I can handle the bathroom shelves in a bit of disarray, but everything will be sparkling clean while it is in its crazy state.

I think the perfect example is our coffee table. We don't have a dining room (that's a whole different vent) and there are plenty of occasions when it's too hot in the kitchen to eat out there, so we have to eat dinner out in the living room and the coffee table doubles as a dining table. I hate it, but it's a part of our current lifestyle. Anyway, say I'm making dinner and I'll ask the hubs to clean off the coffee table so we can eat there. Well, he'll "clean off the table" according to his own definition of clean. He'll pile any paperwork (paper, odd mailings, magazines, etc) into neat little piles and create enough room for us to eat. Yeah, that doesn't cut it in my definition of clean. I would completely clear off the table, put away everything, and then wash off the table. Yes, I would wash off the table just to make a mess on it while eating.

Clearly, my husband and I have a differing of opinions on what constitutes clean and not clean. We've got the rest our lives to figure out and I'm confident it won't take us that long. Now, to get back on track and back to the Fall Cleanup Challenge here's a scary picture of our kitchen pantry. Basically, that long winded story about how my husband are neat and clean was all a lie. We fell into a trap and neither of us took the time nor energy to keep the pantry clean and neat.

Yeah, that's scary. I'll try to sum up for you. The top shelf is normally where we keep our ziploc bags and things of that nature. Then, our vegetable oil bottle was too tall for the baking shelf and thus the rest of the cooking oils started to migrate up to the top shelf. Not pretty. The second shelf housed our baking ingredients. It could be worse, but it wasn't very nice looking. I don't eve know how to describe the next two shelves. There are no words. Really, I have no idea what happened there. It's a mystery.

Here's the after shot. I know from the picture it doesn't look that much better, but trust me, it is. The more I thought about it, I realized that our shelves weren't organized in a sensible fashion. The hubs loves soup and he normally figures out what to make for dinner based on our side items. After being married for awhile, I started coming around to that manner of thinking myself. So I put those items on the second shelf and voila- they are at eye level. Plus, by moving the traditional baking items to the third level the vegetable oil bottle fit and now it didn't have to be separated from everything else. Crazy how that works. The bottom shelf is still a mess. We don't have anywhere else to put our formal silverware, so it's staying there. The six-pack of Carib is in there until my best friends from West Virginia come to visit, so it'll be there for awhile. I think I'm going to start hiding the junk food behind the potatoes. That might help cut down on our sugar intake because we'll think we're out of junk food, but then when we go to make our grocery list we'll see that we have some and we won't buy anymore.

Our pantry is really small. Thankfully, we're just two people and we tend to only buy what we need for specific meals. Maybe, just maybe I'll have enough confidence this weekend to tackle the refrigerator. Don't worry, there won't be any pictures of that scary beast!

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