We have two small pantries for our kitchen. One is a really thin space with a narrow door, The other is about twice as big, and around the corner from the kitchen, just a little ways down the hall. Our kitchen does not have enough cabinet space to store all the food and cookware for a normal kitchen. The pantry around the corner was supposed to be used for things lesser used than stuff stored in the kitchen for obvious labor-saving reasons, but over time, stuff just accumulated in both pantries, started to fall down, and was a terrible mess. So today, I totally gutted, sorted, and restored everything.
One of the biggest piles of mess were those plastic bags you get at the grocery store or supermarket. I use them for all sorts of things. Mostly they get used for trash bags for small messes, small wastepaper baskets, cat box liners, or if I am collecting stuff scattered all over the house to be carried into one area. I hate to just throw them out if they come in useful, but I seem to collect slightly more than I use, and after three years, they were everywhere, man. When I was done, I had enough to cram a 13 gallon trash bag hard-packed full. I should really recycle them (the food store has a recycling area just for those bags).
Next were tons of spices. Many times, when we couldn't find a spice, we just bought more. Many times the reason we couldn't find a spice was it had fallen down somewhere, or was put away in the wrong area. I threw away the older spices (some we got when Mom died in 1998, and she could have had them since the 1960s... no really!), and combined spices that looked the same age into the older bottle (so I knew, at max, which was the oldest later on).
I also cleaned up a lot of stuff that had burst open and leaked. We have an ant problem, but we can keep them away from our pantries by liberally scattering whole cloves everywhere. Most of what leaked was rice, flour, and things that come in envelope packets (Ranch dressing mix, rice side dishes, gravy mix, etc.). I wiped or vacuumed up quite a lot.
Next, I noticed that at one point, some cat used one of the pantries to pee in, taking advantage of the pantry door that people keep forgetting to close. Luckily, the cat peed on some carpet scraps the previous owners left behind, so I tossed those out and used the space to store a lot of "graveyard appliances" so there was no room to pee in.
Ah, yes, "the appliance graveyard." I stole that term from Bill Cosby, who said he buys a lot of kitchen gadgets he only uses a few times, then never uses them again. Christine was a QUEEN of such items, until I teased her so much, she pretty much stopped buying these things. What do we have? A 1970s style toaster oven, used, but we have no counter space for this behemoth. One sandwich maker, which used to be used a lot until my friends Sean and Louann bought us a better model for a housewarming gift (which we do use enough to make it a "priority appliance," that is, one that's easy to get to when needed). We have a 1970s hot air popcorn popper which we don't use anymore because we buy microwave popcorn bags these days. A set of mini-bundt-cake (like cupcake-sized bundt) pans. A cookie press (my fault). A "blooming onion" maker. Many broiler pans. A spring mold set with various disks to leave shaped impressions in your cheese cake or whatever. An large ice cream maker that does not fit a normal-sized kitchen freezer (it fits our deep freezer, but we only use that occasionally, and keep it off the rest of the time). An ice cube shaver to make slushies and such, which was being used, but no one ever cleaned it, and it started to be a mildew hazard, and so I hid it. An incomplete "as seen on TV" microwave cookery set and matching "browner." A Tupperware traveling cake case. From the makers of "The Crockpot," a Crockpot potpourri cooker (this was a gift). One of those "apple peelers" that works via a crank and a suction cup. The suction cup never kept the suction, and so the peeler can't be used unless one person holds it while the other cranks it. There were a lot of plastic Jell-O molds, too, shaped for various seasons.
We had a beautiful heavy glass cake stand that was a housewarming gift, but sadly, it apparently broke at some point, and I had to throw it away. Much sadness. The crystal punch bowl set was okay, though. Whew!
There was a lot of trash, including decaying Halloween candy (yecch!), a box of saltwater taffy that had gone moldy, spilled coffee and tea, various empty boxes and wrappers, and a few items in cans and jars where they looked ready to explode. I gently wrapped a lot of those in several layers of the supermarket plastic bags before I threw them away in one big bag, and then put the whole bag of them out on the deck, just in case they did blow up before trash day. Two of them were cans of condensed milk! I bet that will stiiiink!
Now everything is neat and reorganized, and there is so much extra space! But, in three years, I will probably be doing this alll over again.
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