Pantry Party… Well, Sort Of…

Pantry Party… Well, Sort Of…

On Monday, my friend, Eileen, messaged me via Facebook and on my cell to see if I had any canned pumpkin for an experimental cake she was making.  (My friend is an awesome caketeer!  More about that another time.)  Anyways, I had to confess to her that I did have one can left but the label had come off of it and the other day, when I was making something for dinner that called for stewed tomatoes, I had opened the pumpkin by mistake… and then trashed it because I didn’t anticipate needing it any time soon. 

I was pretty sure it was my last can, but I wasn’t entirely sure, so I decided this was the perfect excuse to clean out the pantry.

Cleaning out my pantry can be quite an ordeal… the pantry is the entire length of my back room and pretty much floor to ceiling (although I only keep food in the main section of the pantry).  The above thumbnail was taken as I faced the food section of the pantry.   With the doors closed, things look pretty ok.  But once you open the doors…. well, not so ok.  I tend to keep it fairly well stocked (blame that on my childhood – a lack of food then has created in me a need to stray a bit too close to the hoarding side of the line now) but not necessarily all that organized which doesn’t help when I am in need of something fast or when a friend calls and asks for some canned pumpkin.

Here are the before pictures (yes, the pictures are smallish – you don’t need to see exactly what I stock in my pantry… trust me, if it was healthy, it probably wouldn’t actually come in a can or need to be stored in a pantry but if you really must know what’s in there, just click on the image to see a larger version):

Messy Pantry

Messy Pantry 2

Messy Pantry 3

And here are the after pictures:

Clean Pantry 1

Clean Pantry 2

Clean Pantry 3

Here is a picture of the entire food section of the pantry:

Love my cleaned out pantry!

All in all, it took me about 30 to 45 minutes to go through the pantry.  My pumpkin needing friend will be glad to know that I also looked at the expiration date of my pantry products and tossed out the ones that I felt were exceptionally old.  [Confession:  I am not a stickler for “best if used by” dates – again, blame it on my childhood.  We were happy to eat food that came from a dumpster so the manufacturer’s use by date isn’t quite that alarming to me.  Brownie mix should have been used by December 2009?  Holy smokes how did we go this long without making these?  Big whoop!  Bring it on!!  However, I do realize that for some people the thought of using something beyond it’s “best if used by” date makes their skin crawl.  I promise that when you visit me, any food and/or beverage I serve you will be as fresh as possible and will not exceed it’s manufacturers “best if used by” date. I will even save the packaging for you just to calm any fears.]

With a new and cleaned out pantry, I was able to quickly identify what items I was low on and what items I had an over abundance of – which was clearly soup… we don’t seem to be a soup eating family and yet I have cans and cans of the stuff.  I quickly added grocery items to my phone app (OurGroceries) so that next time I am at Walmart or Aldi’s I will have my list with me (woohoo no more paper lists which I would make but then leave on the kitchen counter).  If I was still using my binder system, I’d have updated that to reflect the quantities I had on hand so that I could use the binder for meal planning in the upcoming weeks.

It was odd to see items with store brands on them from stores we don’t even have in our little town (yes, THA’S how old some of these things were – we’ve lived in this town since 2004).  The oldest item I tossed out was a jar of pickle slices that had a “best if used by date” of June 2006.

Next job to tackle:  The Play Room

What about you?  What does your pantry look like?

Jessica

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