Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments. It is hard losing a loved one. Nan was with us for so long that you like to think she will always be there.
In times like this I find it easier to keep busy. My mind can then process what it needs to without the irrational, neurotic part taking over and making my feel worse.
I have decided to spend the next couple of weeks sorting out the house and getting things re-organised. We have de-cluttered a number of times over the years but general living can leave you with a disorganised household with clutter sneaking back into the house. I also read Alison’s post at Before Our Time and decided that the New Year is an excellent time to clean out all the mess from the previous year.
So, yesterday I did the pantry.
I forgot to take a before picture of the pantry but let me assure you it was not pretty. Things had been put on any shelf and I was having a hard time finding things, which meant I was buying things I did not need (I have accumulated 3 boxes of loose leaf tea – they must have bred).
I pulled everything out and checked that the containers were in good condition and not damaged, I checked use by dates and disposed of anything that was past it’s date (keeping the jars or containers of course). I had a couple of cheap plastic containers that had damaged lids from opening and closing them and they have been moved to the shed where we can use them to hold bits and pieces that don’t require a seal.
I have a small stockpile of grocery items but it wasn’t separate from the things I was using. I have now put opened items or 2 cans of things I use regularly like tomatoes and beans on the pantry shelf and all my stockpiled items are on the bottom shelf. I am also going to start a stockpile list based on how much I use a month. Then I can keep an eye out for specials and make sure I am only buying things I actually need – it doesn’t matter how big a saving it is, if you don’t need it you are wasting your money. Rhonda at Down to Earth has recently written about stockpiling here if you are after more information.
Once the shelves were wiped down I put everything back. I have my own system of where things go in the pantry based loosely in groups but also on size of containers. All Miss Berry’s things are in a group as are the teas and coffees. Dried fruit and nuts and seeds are together as well as small baking items like vanilla essence, baking powder, citric acid, etc whereas my baker’s flour is at the bottom of the pantry and the other flours are grouped together. I am sure everyone has their own system of where to put things in the pantry. If you don’t, have a think about how you use pantry items and begin grouping them together. You should begin to see a pattern – this is now the beginning of your system.
Having an organised pantry makes cooking a lot easier. You can quickly get ingredients without having to rummage through things and it will take you less time to write your shopping list as you can see what you already have in the pantry and what your are low on. I also find it immensely satisfying when you open the pantry and it looks so wonderfully neat – you can pat yourself on the back for being such a wonderfully organised home-maker and pretend just for that moment that the rest of the kitchen it as neat and tidy.