It was clear that she had grown up with a bit of the Depression Era mentality along with the 50s concept of plenty. As a result, she had put up jars and jars of beautiful peaches, and her pantry was well stocked with anything and everything a coupon could get. Like Jell-O. Lots and lots of Jell-O.
This month, as I'm going through my kitchen in an effort to purge and simplify, I'm wondering what a person might think about my own life. Based on the unusual hoarding patterns I've developed, I've compiled a list of assumptions that one might make:
1. She must be planning to open a daycare or have several more children. For some reason I never parted with the bibs and baby washcloths and sippy cups. I even found an old pacifier. My youngest is six. So clearly, I must be hoping for just one more baby or anticipating a new business venture in which dozens of toddlers suddenly arrive on my door step.
Now, it's true that I still have young nieces and nephews, and it has been convenient to entertain family and whip out a bib. But four bibs? Not necessary. Needless to say, I've significantly pared down my baby provisions.
2. She's a very crafty and resourceful person. This is not true. I don't like to sew and, as I've mentioned before, I only like projects that can be quickly and easily completed in an afternoon. With glue. But, based on the number of cracked china pieces that I've set aside, it looks as though I have great plans for transforming them into shabby chic mosaic flower pots or quaint little garden stones. I have yet to do such a thing. I probably never will. It was very liberating to toss those puppies.
3. She has an affinity for jars. Okay so this one is true. My sister and I discovered that the Trader Joe's peach and pear jars make perfect water bottles and storage containers. Raw sugar looks so pretty in a jar, and I love opening my baking cupboard to see the chocolate chips, sea salt and popcorn all lined up in a row.
And then there were the jam jars. Jam jars are perfect for mixing dressings and sauces. They also make great drinking glasses for kiddos.
The problem is that I just kept on saving jars. And lids. Because aside from sealing the jars, lids also come in handy for holding dip-dip. You know, ranch dressing or maple syrup for small little people who are dining with us. Which brings me back to #1.
I tossed a whole bunch of jars and lids. Goodbye, dip-dip.
4. She's planning on storing lots and lots of bread. It never occurs to me to throw away bread clips. I just toss the little clip in a container with the others, and before I know it my drawer is overflowing with bread clips and twist ties. This is ridiculous. I found a much smaller container than the one pictured here in order to keep just a small handful. Because it is nice to seal up a bag of frozen peas every now and then.
* * * * *
So now that I've successfully purged and rearranged several areas, a person might come into my kitchen and come up with a new set of assumptions. Such as:
1. She must really like to cook. Well, this isn't actually true. (Shocking.) But I do like to eat. I also find great pleasure in serving my family. The beauty of working in my newly-arranged kitchen is that my pieces are much more accessible.
I've thought through the appliances and dishes and gadgets I am most likely to reach for and have made sure that they're easy to grab. As a result, I enjoy working in there. Which means I'm more likely to cook and bake and whip up a little smackerel of something. Which in turn blesses my family. Which is the whole point.
2. She must be short. This is true. I'm just over 5' 2", so I can't reach the back of the top shelf without dragging over a chair (or my husband). So the things that I don't use very often are way up in the nose bleed section of the kitchen.
3. Yikes. Her food pantry needs a lot of help. Another truth. Hence this week's goal: tackle that pantry and make it a thing of beauty. (Or at least a thing of efficiency.)
Since I've managed to free up a bunch of cupboard space (adding shelves has really helped), I'm re-thinking the way I store the ol' provisions.
One thought that keeps coming to mind is how to deal with the flour and sugar containers. Should I store them neatly away in the cupboard in their current plastic containers or display them on the counter in pretty glass jars? I have the space on my counter, but will they look sad when they're not full?
Where do you keep your flour and sugar canisters? What would you recommend?
Thanks for following along, my friends. With love,
Petunia June (aka The Non-Crafty, Jar-Loving Short Girl with a Really Messy Pantry)