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Thursday, January 19, 2017

34 Weeks of Clean: Week 2- The Pantry



Some of yall might remember (it's been a while) when I tried to participate in the 34 Weeks of Clean challenge hosted by my friend Michele at Family, Faith and Fridays.  I didn't start at the beginning and kinda jumped in the middle but never really stayed with it (although, I DID manage to clean up my spices and keep them that way for the last two years because of it.. haha).    Well, Michele has started the challenge once again and I get to start from the beginning.. YEAH!!!

The timing on this was perfect for me as we're probably going to be moving in the next few months.  I wish I could say we were moving to another base but alas, it will just be to another house in the same neighborhood on the same base.  However, they are in the process of refurbishing the housing and will need to us move to a newly refurbished house so that they can begin the process on this one. So eliminating the clutter and getting things cleaned up will help with that.  ( I also mention this because, as we move through the house, if there are pictures with stacks of clothes or boxes, it's because we're sorting through stuff to donate, ect..)

If you'll notice, however - I am jumping in here at Week 2.. I promise I'm not cheating or skipping.. Week one was to clean and put away all the Christmas items - which we had already done, sealed the boxed and put in our garage. However, there's spiders and other critters in the garage, so I don't like to go in there, so I am NOT going in there just to take a photo of a couple of boxes.. LOL (Sorry Michele)..

So here I am jumping in with week 2..  and if you're at all interested in joining up and jumping in as well, I invite you to do so.. Just click on the button which will take you over to Family, Faith and Friday's webpage and you can link up with us.

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This week, we were assigned the pantry area.

One of the not so great things about military housing is that they really don't think out the functionality of the cabinets, ect when they design them - they just throw some low cost cabinets in and you make due with what you have.   Because of this, the cabinet that I assume is suppose to be the pantry has turned into an appliance storage and a cabinet on the far side of the kitchen is our pantry.  It's not ideal, but as the cabinet can barely hold two can goods deep, it doesn't hold a crock pot or a bread machine and there's not enough counter space to keep it out so it is what it is.. lol

Here's what probably was suppose to be the pantry
And here's what we actually use for a food pantry

Now, to be honest, we don't use a lot of canned goods..  I usually keep a few cans of black beans and diced tomatoes, some tomato paste and stuff like that but outside of that, I rarely use canned goods.  I also tend to shop for a week at time, which means we don't keep tons of food on hand (I mean, come on, look at my pantry space!!!)..   When we get to the freezer and fridge, we'll have a different discussion, because I cook most of our food fresh or frozen fresh. However, I'll be honest, it's been a while since I've gone through the pantry, since most of the time what I'm using is on the front of the cabinet.  So it was time to start pulling everything out so I could wipe down the counters and start sorting things out.. 



Yeah, the shelves and walls of the cabinet definitely needed some wiping down.   After getting the crud out, I gave each shelve a few squirts of LA Awesome and wiped them all down until they were sparkling and started the process of checking expiration dates and trashing anything questionable. 



I had to laugh that had three cans of Oceanspray Cranberry sauce - all three expired from 2014, 2015 and 2016..  Again, we don't use can goods often and my husband makes fresh cranberry sauce each year for Thanksgiving.  However, almost every year Operation Homefront passes out Thanksgiving bags to military members which have food items to help out with holiday meals and they always have a can of cranberry sauce.. Really wish I had donated these to the food bank or something when I got them rather than tossing them out when they were of no good to anyone. 



I was SOOOO glad that we kept this box of Lipton's tea so that we could make some tea.... Oh wait.. IT'S EMPTY!!!   I guess the last person to make tea couldn't be bothered to toss the empty box into the trash can that is exactly one foot away from the cabinet.. LOL  I don't even want to know how long this empty box has been there, since I keep tea in another cabinet.. LOL 



Also glad someone saved these twenty or so popcorn kernels.. I mean, I doubt whomever put this back in the cabinet just couldn't have fit these last few kernels in the pot when they were popping popcorn last.. So thoughtful of them to leave some for the next person ;)



Overall, I really didn't have a whole lot of wasted foods.. Outside the three cans of cranberry sauce, I also found four cans of can goods that were expired, two boxes of brown sugar that was rock hard that I went ahead and tossed, a bag of nuts left over from two Christmas's ago, a bag of pancake mix that a friend gave us probably five years ago (it expired in 2012) when they moved off base and the popcorn and empty Lipton's box.  We also had a couple of bottles of alcohol that poured out - a 12 year bottle of Dewalt's scotch (do NOT buy 12 year old Scotch - YUCK!!) and a bottle of Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon that I have NO idea where it came from.  



So, granted, it's not a HUGE difference, but it is more organized..   Charles said cleaning it out and rearranging it seemed to open up more space, I don't know about that but at least it's clean inside and when it's time to move to the new house, I can quickly just put everything in a box and transfer it quickly to the new house (which I'm sure will have the same stupid cabinet configuration).. 

The next day, it was time to attack the other "pantry".. It was my hopes to maybe find a way to eliminate some of the stuff in this cabinet and even find better places to store some of this stuff.. The car cleaning stuff, for example, needs to find a new home in the garage where it's easily accessible when he's outside cleaning the car. Why it ever ended up in my kitchen, I have no idea.. Not only did it take up a large portion of the pantry space, but it also took up the entire top of the fridge.. LOL (You'd think we have a high dollar sports car but no, we only have a lil SUV.. I can only imagine the collection we will have when my husband finally buys his sports car in May). 

Sooooo, I boxed all the car cleaning stuff into a plastic container and handed it over to my husband..  I honestly have NO idea where he put it.. And I'm sure it didn't end up in the garage but is probably on top of my dryer or something.. But it's out of my pantry at least!!  



Here's starting to empty out the shelves and get them vacuumed and wiped down with some LA Awesome..  Remember when I was talking about cheap material?? This entire unit is partical Wood /Pedboard and is glued to the wall.. lol 



And since my husband said I was "husband-shaming" him by showing all the car cleaning stuff,  have to be fair and post my own picture of shame..

I call this photograph "I Have A Drinking Problem"..  Yup, it's true.. I can't help it..  All of these boxes are tea bags.. Lots and lots of tea bags of all sorts of warm tea goodness..   I have teas for any mood I might be in.. Can I just say, I love tea???


But, lets face it. That many tea boxes take up A LOT of room..  Room that could be used for other things.. And why the heck I didn't think to do this before today, I have no idea but the stroke of genius came over me and I figured out that I have a drawer that I don't use for anything other than to keep the spindle for my food processor in.. The draw isn't wide enough to do anything else with except maybe dish rags and I have another area for those... Soooooooooo....


And above that drawer is a cabinet that is the same width as this drawer. I typically use it for my boxes of checkbooks and odd stuff like that.. And I had a plastic container that honestly, was too cloudy looking to put food in anymore. So that turned out to be the perfect place for the K-cups for my Keurig.



I love my husband, but it's time to husband shame him again..  The other day, I bought him some cereal. Now, I know he hid this box in the pantry in order to hide it from the kids.. But he obviously took it out of the pantry to pour himself a bowl of cereal, right?? I don't think he poured the bowl of cereal wihle the box stayed in the pantry.. Sooooo, WHY ooooh WHY did I find THIS in the pantry???


YUP, It's EMPTY!!!

So after some more thinking about why the heck were things organized the way they were, I decided to do some more changes.. One thing that always  bugged the heck out of me was the fact the cabinets we kept our plates and cups in, while conveinent to the stove and counters for meal preps, stunk otherwise.. In order to unload the dishwasher, we had to put the plates on the counter or stove, load the dishwasher with the dirty dishes, then close the dishwasher to access the cabinet. It was also a hard reach for me in all honest and many times I have to use a step stool to get to the plates.. Again, why I never thought to put them in the pantry before (maybe because it had ALL of my husband's car cleaning supplies in it??) but as I eliminated stuff, I realized there was more than enough space for the dishes.. So the first two shelves are now for plates, bowls, cups and baking stuff.. 


BTW, see this roasting pan??  My husband and I searched high and low for this roasting pan on Thanksgiving to roast our turkey in..   Since Charles takes care of the turkey, this is his thing and I guess he put it up last year. I checked all the places I could think of where I might have put it, all the logical spots such as where I keep bakeware and pots..  Guess where it was?? Hidden behind all those car cleaning supplies ;) 


Since we have a zoo full of pets, I have to have a designated area for pet supplies.. Foods, substrates, bird feeders, ect.. So the Third shelf is now the dedicated pet shelf..


I ended up throwing a few broken appliances away, such as my old bread machine that was falling apart.. I hated parting with it, it was a wedding gift when I married my first husband 22 years ago and it lasted longer than the marriage did but the motor was getting worn out and the bottom was busted.. Charles bought me a new one last Christmas so it was time to part with it.  I also tossed our old Tassimo coffee maker - also a wedding present from my current in-laws when Charlie and I married.. It stopped working a while back and we bought a Keurig but I just never tossed it..RIP My old friends.. You served me well..


So for a few hours of time, I have both a clean food pantry as well as a re-established kitchen pantry.. I tossed a few extra pounds of unneeded appliances and trash, expired food and a bunch of old Scentsy stuff that I definately didn't need anymore..  and about 10 egg cartons that I was saving for Homeschool projects that just have yet to happen and probably never will.. (watch me need them next week lol)



OOOh, and in case anyone's wondering.. I did do some cleaning of the top cabinet above the pantry, but I can only reach so high with it, even standing on a stool. The top shelf is impossible, but I did get the bottom reorganized and decluttered as well ;)


Can't wait to see what Michele has planned for us on Week 3 ;)  Bring it on!!!!

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