The weeks of planning to clean out the kitchen pantry arrived this past weekend at the Wade house. It was time. It was long overdue. But when you can’t find anything and just keep putting more and more in a small space, well, it’s time to clean out! Not to mention the fact that I’m a somewhat compulsive cleaner person. Although I have slipped in years, and hence the overstuffed, overlooked pantry. I bought rectangle plastic bin organizers, soda can bins so those Diet Ginger Ales (our favorite soda) can just roll out now, one of those three-tiered shelves so I’ll be able to see what’s in the back of the shelf, and shelf liners (to catch those drips) for those wire shelves all set to go. Mr. Clean joined me and we were ready.
First line of attack was to take everything out of the pantry. The kitchen counters were quickly covered with canned food, boxed food, numerous bottles of all sorts of vinegar, syrups, jars of jam that I didn’t know I had (those little things that come in Christmas packages and you just hate to throw them away, maybe someone will eat it) paper plates, napkins, cups, drinks, candles, Christmas “stuff,” serving bowls, liquor bottles (some empty in the back of the shelf, why I’m not sure, probably too toasted to remember, tins (collector), silver tea set and more stuff that I wasn’t sure what it was. I wondered how in the heck all this fit into the pantry.
Well, it’s all out of there staring me in the face, sitting proudly on the counters waiting for judgement! I can’t turn back now. Sadly, I did not get a photo of all this or the “before” overstuff pantry.
Next, Mr. Clean did his thing, with a little help from me and we’re ready to lay the shelf liner. Measured, cut and installed the liner, all’s going smooth.
Now it’s time to start judgment, what stays and what goes. Well, that was easier than I ever imagined. I picked up jar Cheese and Green Chili dip and luckily the “use by date” was staring me in the face. I was shocked, mouth dropping, and said, “This can’t be right?” But yes, the date was 2005! Oh my! Glad we didn’t open that last night while cooking Mexican food. Okay, that goes. Let’s check everything. More than two-thirds of the jars, vinegar, even two small self-rising flour bags gone. I had one item at was from 2003! I’ve never seen a Karo syrup bottle sucked in that had never been opened, until now. The other Karo syrup bottle was permanently glued shut (it was vintage 2005). Three or four wine vinegars were definitely not anywhere near wine, and had way passed vinegar. Gone. The twelve bottles of olives all went as they didn’t have dates and I couldn’t remember when I bought them all so out they went.
I had garbage bags full of excess pantry items. It was terrible. I mean to tell you I felt like a heel as the amount of food I threw away that day was sinful. I got everything (that was worthy of my judgement to stay) back in it’s new place. All is fine with the pantry people. They’re very happy.
I even hung up a hook for my aprons. Yes, I wear an apron when I’m cooking those good meals! And I stuck up one of those Puck Lights that are battery operated and light up when you press the light. It’s great. My only regret is that I didn’t take a before picture. I had planned to do that, really, but I was so ready to take everything out that I forgot until all the contents were sitting on my counters. I wasn’t about to put it all back in just to take a photo. Just think of a lot of jumbled kitchen mess in a small to medium pantry stuff to the hilt. Here’s the final result. It might not look like much but it really is.
Felt good to clean it up and I hope to keep it that way. Who wants to bet how long this will last? Hahaha