8.20.2014

Cleaning Out My Non-Existent Pantry

I don't have a pantry.

Our house was built in 1949, so there's little storage, little or no closets, no mud room, a teeny entryway, and no counter space in the kitchen with not very many cabinets.

A few months ago I was dreaming about a HUGE kitchen with a mudroom and a ginormous center island and butcher block counter tops and a fantastic selection of pots and pans.

I have realized that I don't need all of that (but butcher block counter tops would be AWESOME, then I wouldn't need a cutting board), and I still want a mudroom (not just for storage but because we don't use our side door and basically, when two people walk inside at the same time, you have to balance yourself so you don't fall down the basement stairs. Not cool).

In any case, I digress.

This morning I cleaned out the "pantry cupboard" in the kitchen.

I threw away old flavored vinegars that expired in 2012 or 2011. I tossed an unopened container of Hershey's chocolate powder that expired in 2010. Into the trash went a box of Bisquick that expired earlier this year.

If we had a pantry, I don't think I'd be able to use half the stuff in it - I would be tempted to fill it up just because I had the space and then we'd be tossing unused food. That's not cool either. That's just plain old wasteful.

In the past few months I've become more conscious and aware of what we have in our cupboards to eat, or at least I thought I had. New items went into the cupboard and old stuff was just moved to the back.

Sort of like our other cupboard with glassware. Somehow we kept getting new glassware and the old stuff just went to the back and wasn't used. So I donated whatever we didn't use on a regular basis (um, I don't drink martinis but we had several martini glasses! I see a drink shaker that we've never used but had for years, that will be going into the donate box today too!).

Food expires. You have to toss it, it's just making the time to go through your pantries and cupboards and cleaning out the shelves. Don't remember when you bought it? Toss it. Expired? Out it goes. Never going to cook with it again? Into the trash (or organic waste bin in our house).

Lately my favorite time to do this is when I'm waiting for a pot of water to boil for pasta or waiting for chicken to cook on the stove. I'm already in the kitchen, why not kill two birds with one stone?

So, the bottom shelf of the cupboard has been cleaned out, I just need to wait until The Monkey's nap this afternoon to do the rest. I'm short so I need to stand on a chair and I don't want her to see me doing that - she may get some new ideas of her own if she knows she can stand on chairs in the kitchen. Aye, the things you don't think about until you have a toddler....

So, if anyone wants to follow along with me... Challenge yourself to clean out one shelf in your kitchen of expired, unused, old food. I think you'll feel great once you've finished!

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