Making Progress on the Pantry

Otherwise entitled :: It Might Get Worse Before It Gets Better…

OK, the pantry has been done for a few weeks now, but hey! Let’s pretend this is in real-time, shall we?

Some of my favorite people in the whole world came to visit for two quick days in January to help me out. It was such a short visit that I felt bad in possibly wasting our time cleaning out the pantry when we could be doing much more interesting things like watching Downton Abbey while sitting on the couch, but I gotta tell you, Ms. Heather is an organizing machine. Do you have a friend like that in your life, someone who thinks organizing is fun? If not, I suggest you find yourself one, because they are so much more than awesome!!

A few weeks (possibly months, but who is counting) I sent Heather a few images of the mess in the pantry and asked her for some advice. Here’s what she wrote back in ten minutes or less ::

Quick fix that will hopefully give you a “there’s hope” moment and tide you over till we can do more.
 
Read this suggestion and before doing anything consider two things:
 
1. Will the items in their new home be too high up? Will it make retrieving them a pain in the ass. I think you will be okay because you’re tall, but just in case…
2. Is there enough room (left to right) on the suggested shelf for all items to fit and not be squished so that it looks bad and is not actually practical. If this is the case let me know. I have a back up plan.
 
Suggestion:
 
1. Clear off the top shelf on the left side of the pantry where you have pencils and paper towels and cook books and baskets. 
2. Anything that has a cord (mixer, panini press, ice cream maker, coffee pot, slow cooker, cuisinart) should be lined up on this shelf left to right. Things that you use more often should be on the left closer to the door. And things that you use less should be further down. I’m not sure if you have chafing dishes, but if you do leave them out for now. Those are things that should go high high up. 
3. All the stuff that you took off from that shelf shove into the now empty spaces. 🙂 It’s a process. Sometimes you have to “shove” and “stick” stuff in temporary homes.
 
Take a pic if you do this and let me know what you think!
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So, ask me now, did I do anything she suggested? No. Not one doggone thing. The suggestions were brilliant, and the questions she asked totally helped frame some of the problems I was having, but somehow I couldn’t get started. I waited until she got here and this is what she did ::

Enter the Madness

Make a Plan

Who knew thinking up a plan could be so adorable and stylish? Maybe I should get out of my yoga pants and throw on some make-up when it’s time to clean up…

But seriously, where I was paralyzed with inactivity and feeling overwhelmed with all the decisions that would have to be made, she dove right in. We started moving things around, putting them in “temporary” locations, so we could start with a “fresh slate”.

Jump On In

And it’s here that I’ll mention two things : One, it’s embarrassing to have your dearly beloveds come to your house and dig you out of the messes you’ve gotten yourself into… while Heather worked on the pantry, Ashley worked in the playroom; and two, they were the very epitome of grace while doing it, and managed to put me and my neurosis at ease and make the process as fun as it could be. They are good peeps, those two.

Make a Bigger Mess

So here’s the thing; with this type of project, as with most on this scale, it all gets worse before it gets better. It reminds me of the mess the movers made a few years go when we first moved up to the Boston area. If the gals weren’t here, I would’ve probably stopped right here and started to cry. Then waited a month of two to get started again.

Any Shelter In a Storm

I wasn’t the only one feeling a titch overwhelmed. Some of the youngin’s felt they need protective gear to get through!

Wear Protective Gear

Try Not To Look

See Past It

Seriously, this is the moment that I realized how important it was to have someone helping me through the process that isn’t emotionally attached to the stuff. Heather is able to see the end goal; she envisioned where things were going to go and what needed to be moved around and in what order. I saw growing piles of unfulfilled dreams, an encapsulation of all the things I wanted to do but haven’t made time for. Piles and piles and piles of teeny tiny little failures. It’s no wonder I couldn’t jump in and organize it on my own.

Hallways Are Awesome

Heather doesn’t see the unmade gourmet meals I had planned to create to nourish my family. She doesn’t see unbaked cookies, an unconstructed lasagna, loaves of bread that were never kneaded into life, a fear of being without, of not having enough. She sees the clutter for what it is, and she has the personal distance from my symbolic mental contortions that it’s much easier for her to stay focused.

WHITE SPACE

And focus she did, with a laser-like clarity. Looky at this image above… actual WHITE SPACE! It was such an amazing thing to see only a few hours into this task. One shelf almost entirely organized, and glorious, beautiful, fabulous white space, space that has nothing but air and clarity and fulfillment and promise.

I didn’t think that organizing the pantry would be quite so cathartic, but I will tell you, it was one hell of a therapy session! And it only cost me dinner!!

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18 thoughts on “Making Progress on the Pantry

  1. ” I saw growing piles of unfulfilled dreams, an encapsulation of all the things I wanted to do but haven’t made time for. Piles and piles and piles of teeny tiny little failures.”
    Story of my house (life). Do your friends make international house calls? I’m sure they would love me too 😉

  2. All I can say is—is that the 4th child with her pj’s on backward?? Oh my, I thought I collected things. It is all done right?? Yay Heather!!!!!!!

    • Of course she has her PJs on backward; it’s either that or naked baby in less time than it takes for you to blink. It is all done, and has been neat and tidy since they left. I’ll post that later 😉

    • “an organizing mood”… pray tell… what does that feel like. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced it. Does it feel similar to birthing a fifteen pound baby?

    • Ha!! I despise sorting socks, and with four kids, it’s a huge chunk of time. I buy several pairs of the same white sock, a different type for each kid, and that makes it so much easier!

  3. What a great pantry space you have! I can’t wait to see the finished pics (you are going to post some right?) so I can drool;) I don’t mind organizing, but the middle part is overwhelming and I start to just stick stuff…one day I’ll get back to it! You have great friends!!!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment! And absolutely I’ll post the ‘finished’ pics… that’s the best part! I have amazing friends, fer sher. I’m glad other people get a chance to see how wonderful they are as well!

    • Anna! So good to see you here again! Yes, I highly recommend organizing friends. If you need a few, I suggest starting at the library 😉

    • Oy! Closets!! I can’t even think about closets without hyperventilating. Well, actually, I guess there’s only one that really, truly terrifying… but it’s scary enough to make me hink all our closets are scary! I better get that done soon as well I suppose. Sigh. It never ends, does it?

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