Monday, January 2, 2012

Pantry Overhaul

Have you ever been assaulted by a pantry?  I know it seems weird, but it happened to me.  I was opening the pantry door to get some cereal down for Ty and something jumped out and attacked me.  Don't laugh, it hurt.  I can't remember what it was that fell (see, I think it gave me amnesia!) but that experience made me realize that the pantry had gone too far.  I had given it too much control.  It was time for me to show it who was boss.  In other words, it had been neglected far too long and it was high time it got an overhaul. 

I'd like to introduce you to my pantry.  This picture was taken after I had already started taking things out of it.  After my head met an unknown object that originated from that top shelf, I figured I should probably start removing items as quickly as possible in the interest of human safety.  Just try to visualize the top shelf looking like the rest of them.

Here is a closer look at just how crammed those shelves were.  Looking back on it now, I can recognize that this may appear to be a scene out of "Hoarders". 

 I grabbed my friends Trash Can and Recycling Bag and got to work.  Good thing I called in those friends, they saw a lot of action during this mission. 

For example, there was this: 
 Unknown package of something.  I'm pretty sure it was pudding or Jello, but have no idea what flavor or anything. 

Or, there was the container of Easy Mac that expired in November 2009.  Yes, that's sad.  But, it gets worse. . .we've moved twice since then.  So apparently, we packed up expired food and moved it with us.  Twice.  Nice. 
This package of Spiced Cider looked innocent enough.  That is, until I looked at the side panel. . .

Yes, you read that right.  In case you can't make it out fully, the expiration date listed is 12/31/2006.  Umm. . . .I have no explanation that would sound the least bit rational.  The only thing that I can say is that I have cleaned out my pantry since then.  I just missed this somehow.  I won't even tell you how many times we've actually moved since 2006.  How this got missed all those times, I'll never fully understand.  Yikes!

There were also some less gross but equally interesting discoveries during Mission Pantry Takeover.
Yes, that's a can of applesauce.  That's not the interesting thing. 

This is:

That's ALOT of applesauce!!  I don't know what's worse: the fact that I apparently thought that a giganormous (yes, it's a word. . at least in my world) can of applesauce would ever actually have a use in this house or the fact that a giganormous can of applesauce was able to hide in my pantry completely undetected. 
Pretty much my plan of attack consisted of the following:
Empty each shelf and scrutinize every single item taken out of the pantry.  Anything that was unidentified (jello or pudding?  Your guess is as good as mine!), expired, or stale (like the 12 bags of opened half eaten chips?) immediately met Mr. Trash.  Any boxes or packaging that were able to be recycled met Miss Brown Paper (Recycling) Bag.  Throughout the entire mission, Mr. Trash, Miss BPB and I worked tirelessly together to divide and conquer. 
Once all enemies had been identified and disposed of, our POW's needed to be assigned their places of captivity.  Therefore, each shelf in the pantry took on a "theme" of sorts.  The top shelf was designated for any "breakfasty" items (cereal, oatmeal, pop tarts, etc) as well as any stockpiled snack items (unopened bags of chips, cookies, etc).  The second shelf was where pastas, rices, sauces, and baking items were to be held. 

The next shelf was for opened snack foods and cookbooks.  I went and extra step here and filled up two wooden bowls with snack foods that are "Mom Approved" for the little bear to consume.  I did this so that when Ty asks me to get a snack, I can direct him exactly where to pull his snack from and I know that whatever he gets out of those two bowls has already passed my nutrition scrutiny.  In one bowl, I put little packets of goldfish crackers and peanut butter crackers.  In the other bowl, I put packages of fruit snacks.  Maybe not the absolute top shelf in healthy eating, but they were items that I had on hand that I could deal with him eating for a snack. 
The next shelf down was now home to all of our drink mixes, tea bags, and then two soft sided cube containers that I keep all of Tyler's plates, bowls and cups in.  He is at the age where he could probably graduate up to using the same stuff that I do to eat off of, but he likes that he can get his own cups of water and help me set the table by getting out his own plates and stuff.  So, I leave them in there.  The very bottom area of the pantry is where I keep overflow stockpile of sauces, potatoes and rice, and then a basket of tupperware lids.  For years, I tried to find the best system for organizing my tupperware containers and lids.  I finally came down to a system of keeping the containers themselves in a cabinet and then all of the lids in a basket at the bottom of the pantry.  It's the best I could do. 

Have you completed any organization projects lately?  Share them!  I can use all of the organizational tips/tricks out there. . .I've got a lot of organization to accomplish around here!  

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