Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thoughts On An Organized Pantry

I did some deep thinking surrounded by Rotel and Ziplocs. Here are a few conclusions as I vowed to be a better steward of my resources:

The pantry is always cleaner on the other side of the street.
When I only had a kitchen cabinet for food storage, I was sure a walk-in pantry would solve my problems.

Now I know the problem is me.

If you can't see your food, you may buy it twice or let it spoil.

I made a special trip for oatmeal when a whole new canister sat on the floor. I let onions sprout and sweet potatoes rot.

I was too tired to get the pantry organized, but my lack of organization used more energy in the long run.

Emergency preparedness starts in the pantry.

My 5-gallon jugs of water expired last year, and we had eaten through the peanut butter reserves. I am so grateful I have the chance to restock before a tornado blows through.

Pantry organization begins and ends with me.

Though I muttered a lot about snack-spilling kids and tall people who hide the garbage bags, this is my job. Doing it well depends on self-discipline.

(Click here to see the organized pantry BEFORE and pantry IN PROGRESS.)

Has organizing ever brought your own heart-issues to light?


Carrie said...

When I was a teen living in a messy room I thought it would be easier to be tidy when I had an apartment to spread out in. When I was first married and lived in apartments I always had trouble keeping organized. I figured it was because they were small and when I had a house and a basement for storage it would be easy to be organized. When I had my first small house I thought it was always disorganized because it was small. So I bought a bigger house. It was still disorganized. It has taken me many years to figure out it's not the space, it's me! I didn't need to change my space I needed to change my habits.

Roxie700 said...

I am the biggest pack rat in town. I also am married to a pack rat. It is awful. I am trying so very hard to change. I am getting rid of things right and left. I want to see empty space, not storage boxes....
You inspire me to do more. I am working on it...thanks for the thoughts you share.

Kathy said...

I do think being disorganized eats up alot of energy, mental energy which translates into a lack of physical energy. I am not an organized person by nature, I am messy! I sell on eBay to supplement my income, and am not very organized with my inventory. My garage is a sight to behold! I keep trying to get it organized and won't give up the fight! I think you are correct, we fill however much space we have, and if we are one of the "messies", it's a constant struggle to keep things under control!

mama2B said...

Thank you, Meredith, for sharing your "pantry" series with us. I'm now re-evaluating our stockpile (and our storage system)
at our house. I'm finding that I'm not stockpiling enough of the
items we go through most quickly
(currently Pull-ups, bread, and cleaning supplies)yet I have an over-abundance of items we work through more slowly (like toothpaste and shampoo).

As a result I'm rounding items up for a donation at a local shelter, and I'm figuring out a way to be better about keeping on top of our frequently used items.

I so appreciate your thoughtful comments.

Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

Um...yes on the organization and heart issues. This was a HUGE one for me several years back. FlyLady was really helpful in getting me focused and on track. I'm not super consistent...but I do have tools now to help combat being overwhelmed.

Missy K said...

Oh, yes. I have seen my own tendency to blame others, and places where I have let my own sometimes laziness or attitudes of "I deserve" to creep in. But what you discovered is definitely true-- work and preparedness on the front end saves all kinds of resources for everyone in day to day living.

Thanks for your transparency-- we are all able to learn and grow always-- none of us has ever "arrived."

Charlotte (WaltzingM) said...

You have been incredibly honest and transparent here and I thank you for that. It is true that often times, the things we tell ourselves "if only" about are really things that we have the power to change if only we would put forth the effort.

Anonymous said...

In a word: yes. I find myself grumbling over cleaning up other people, when in truth it's my own heart that needs cleaning.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, you've been reading my mail, haven't you?

I have become an expert shopper, holding myself in higher esteem than is healthy because of what I get for what I spend. Especially at the grocery store. And then 20%goes to waste because the skill isn't matched with follow through. And then I'm mad at myself, feel guilty, and then I really don't feel like cooking. It's pitiful, and definitely a heart issue.

It's part of an overhaul of self and pantry, and the fridge for good measure, all at the same time, isn't it?

Christina said...

Yep, the grass---errr pantry---is always greener on the other side. ; )

I have two small (not walk in) pantries, and always think that if I had one like my sisters' I would be in much better shape. I really need to get down to one pantry and use the other one for craft storage. It is true when you can't see it that you buy way too much and then can't find any of it.

Have enjoyed your pantry posts.

Victoria said...

Oh Meredith I could so relate to this post! I was convicted of all that I waste the other day when I read Manulea's post at Pleasures of Home.

I was also convicted as I have sweet potatoes in the floor of my pantry right now that probably need to be tossed. :(

It's me, it's me, it's not my pantry!!!! :)

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Oh yes! It sure does. When my life is out of control, my home is clean and fully organized. I realized a few years ago that my need to be in control shows up one way or the other. I hope I'm getting better at "letting go and letting God"; but only my disorganized house will tell you!

Shannon said...

Good gracious, yes! I had no idea how lazy I am until I started keeping a home and when I overcome the laziness in one area, it just pops up somewhere else! That's why I always laugh when people see one organized area of my life and assume because I have 4 kids and bandaids in my purse or a neat laundry room, that I must be super organized. Um, no. I do know God is working on me and He's using my home and my kids to do it!

natalie said...

Yes! I know that feeling. I realized recently that I am accomplishing more with two children than I did with one. Why? Because with one I let myself slack off more. Now that we have had our second, I've been working harder and smarter and being more productive. The real obstacle to getting things done turned out to be me, not my challenges.

Anonymous said...

Water doesn't expire! If there's a date printed on the jugs, just ignore it.

A pantry breakthrough to me was when I realized my shelves should look like grocery store shelves. Store like products with like, oldest in front, newest in back. The one exception is a big bin where I put grains and dry beans and a little shelf where I keep snack foods (for little people).

Cara said...

I love to see honesty!

My under-the-stairs storage looks like your 'before' pantry :o)

I'm married to someone who's super organized, and honestly it keeps me inspired to do better!

Heather said...

Thanks for being so real! You are really an inspiration because you show it and tell it like it is.

My husband and I are both clutter bugs and have to work hard to keep an idea of order in our house. It is hard on us, but we are getting better at working together to keep it together! We do have one room that is the bane of our existance currently. He is leaving for a few days and I am DETERMINED to bring some order to it. He will be so happy to see it when he returns.

Thanks for the jump start!

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

I've been mulling over your question. Truth is, I'm a very organized person. I'm often cluttered, but even my clutter is organized. My problem tends to be one of needing to use what I have, but bringing in more. For this very reason, I had to make myself not buy any craft supplies in May because I'd realized I dream and buy for my dreams, but I never turn dreams to reality by making the things I imagine.

Heather Anne said...

Thank you for sharing your pantry gleanings so candidly. Deep cleaning really does open the eyes of our hearts and reveal our erroneous thinking.
I think it really is a heart issue for myself too. I truly believe we need to be prepared and have a deep pantry in order to serve our family and others who God brings into our lives who are in need of a blessing, but I also see myself relying on my deep pantry and not on God - I begin to hoard and not share the abundance we have been blessed with because 'I might need it some day'.
It's definitely about trusting God as our provider and being a good steward of all of the resources He has placed at our disposal. When I begin to hoard, I see one problem after another popping up and I realize again that we need to have an open hand.
I often think of a family of 7 that our church missions group moved from a Dominican sugar cane company tin can (restaurant sized tomato sauce cans from the American resorts along the beach) sided immaculately kept hovel to a brand new 16x22 cement 'home' with a crude 'working' toilet (think bucket) and clean running water only 500 feet away. When we built the home, we couldn't wrap our minds around how a family of seven could be happy in something not much bigger than a shed, certainly not as large as a garage at home in Canada. The woman was able to pack the entire contents of their home into two 5 gallon pails, throw the pink baby washtub over her head, and her oldest boy carried their firepot. She was so happy and excited to have a new home - with a window and running water. It's all perspective, isn't it?

Kimberly @ Raising Olives said...

Yes, I keep thinking that if I only had more space or if we had fewer mouths to feed, but you are right, this is my responsibility!

Thanks for the reminder.


Tracy said...

It took me about 10 years of marriage to realise that housework is never 'finished'. When I got over that I was able to keep things more organised and keep up with the cleaning much better. I'm not very routine about it all, but it gets done when it needs to and I will happily send one of the kids to do a job.

Thanks to your pantry organisation posts my 11yo daughter and I worked together yesterday to completely empty our pantry, clean the floor and shelves and return the things worth returning. We threw some very old items out and we have a box all ready to head under the house to be stored.

I love my pantry...and I have spare space now!

Anonymous said...

Sweet things can happen, too. I started clearing out some files and found some old photographs tucked away that I'd never realized were missing. How fun it was to see pictures of my husband as a baby, now that I have a grandson of my own!

Elizabeth said...

Hi, Meredith - I am back after a long vacation back to the South and am trying to play catch up on my fave blogs.

Wow, we have similar pantry issues! I sprout unintended gardens at the bottom of my pantry and the whole thing is anything other than lovely.

Inspiration!>..I spent time in my sister's house. My sister, who is Mrs. Organization 1000, has a system for everything. EVERYTHING is clean and has a place. Boy, I looked and studied and took mental notes.

The point is...she made some initial investments in additions to her cupboards:..pot lids holders, risers for seasoning bottles, and for plates and cups, a Lazy-Susan to hold her cooking utensils. I could go on and on. But, the point is, it is all clean and makes sense.

I am INSPIRED. Now, I just have to find some extra $$ to invest in stuff like that.

Oh, if you have time, stop by and see the first of my uploaded photos from Virginia. They are of Mt. Vernon and are so homesick-making. :)
God bless,

Amy said...

Many, many times! I have been working on a post in my head on this same subject. I am looking at my own pantry right now thinking of the things you just pointed out. Thank you for these gentle reminders to keep up with these tasks...to save time and money in the long run!

Mimi said...

I haven't been visiting much in the blog-o-sphere lately. I love the new look of your blog. You are such a creative and informative blogger. But, I miss your wonderful mission statements! (unless they're still there, and I'm not seeing them.)

Yes, I think that organizing or not organizing things really reveals things in my heart.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Oh, yes.

Except for the pile (or lack of pile) next to my washing machine, I think the pantry shows whether or not I'm on top of my homemaking game. :)

Mindy said...

I let some areas pile up - office papers, the kids school papers,and the play room. I knew these areas needed attention but I just couldn't bring myself to tackle them. My sister came to help me with my daughters graduation party, and we cleaned up one area at a time. It made such a difference to have someone by my side to encourage me.

Polly said...

Umm, hello? Have you been peeking through my windows?
Spot on. Spot on.

Ms. Booty Homemaker said...

oh, heavens. ask my husband. my housekeeping failures weigh heavily.

you inspire.

i aspire.

Lylah Ledner said...

i simply love your true heart....your one awesome woman....one of God's very best...

Nicole said...

Love that you mention preparedness. We have hurricaine stock up, and it looks an awful lot like your tornado stock up. Love your posts!