No, I haven’t been contacted by TLC to schedule filming an episode of Hoarders but I worked fifteen hours yesterday unpacking 43 boxes and I still have more. A lot more. Mostly kitchen stuff. Who needs that much kitchen stuff? I have a small kitchen. I don’t have a lot of cabinet space so I don’t need nor have room for 43 boxes of kitchen stuff.
My saving grace is that this glorious old house has a huge service porch with lots of storage. In my defense, I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff and will need to get rid of more. I know this to be true because every kitchen cabinet is full and all but a few of the ones on the service porch are full as well. So my trips to Goodwill won’t be stopping any time soon.
Here are pictures of both sides of the service porch. Please excuse the red clay footprints on the floor. It’s a fact of life in the area we now live in. On this side I have cleaning supplies, tons of cleaning supplies, duplicates and triplicates of everything. Above the spare fridge I have stored the dishes I use for large family gatherings, which I don’t host anymore. It could happen again I suppose. Down by the door, above the coat hooks, I have cameras and photography equipment. I still have to find storage for more. But I only use one camera. Why do I keep all the others?
The opposite side of the service porch is the holy grail for a hoarder. The two tall cupboards are now outfitted with custom cut shelving and turned into pantry closets. That’s a good thing because many, so many of the boxes I unpacked yesterday contained pantry items. I just took a deep breath knowing I was going to be putting this all out there for the entire internet to see. Before I proceed, I want to point out that I am not a coupon queen who stocks up on years worth of deodorant and sundries. This all happened with just regular shopping. If I am at the store and I need an ingredient for a recipe I buy it, worrying that I don’t already have it at home. I also buy things on impulse and then hold onto them until they reach their expiration date and I have an excuse to throw them out. Examples shall follow.
This side of the service porch contains mostly food and appliances. I don’t have room in my kitchen for big mixers, bread machines, waffle irons, steamers, espresso machines, etc. They are all stashed in the cabinets below the oh-so-outdated mauve laminate counter. Please enjoy a look at the matching mauve cabinet pulls. Take a good look, because they are on the short list for a trip to the county dump. So, now that you have the lay of the land, let’s delve in a little deeper. Disclaimer: Your continued reading of this post shall serve as proof of your agreement not to alert TLC to what you are about to see.
Let’s jump right in with the pantry cabinets. This one is stuffed with all sorts of things, many baking related things, lots of little boxes of cereal, odds and ends of all kinds. I didn’t even know how to organize this one because there aren’t enough of any one thing to make it a category.
The second pantry cabinet is somewhat more organized.
The top shelf is pasta, lots and lots of pasta. Mostly lasagna noodles. I can’t remember the last time I made lasagna.
The next shelf pays homage to all things rice and rice-related. Canned goods occupy shelf three, and the grand finale on the bottom are my flour bins. I have every flour known to man including one just for pizza dough which I rarely make. I have bleached, unbleached, best for bread, whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, and yes, spelt flour too.
What the heck is this? When did I buy it? Why did I buy it? Why doesn’t it have an expiration date? How am I supposed to know when to throw it out?
How many tubs of candied citrus peel do you have? If you have less than three, I win!
Ground coffee and tea in case I run out of K-cups. Yep, got that covered. One whole shelf worth.
That concludes out tour of the service porch cabinets. Let’s take a peek in the refrigerators. The little beverage fridge is pretty empty. I usually have it crammed full of diet sodas and Red Bull for Michael. If you look closely you will see that a diet root beer has gotten too cold and has exploded all over the back of the fridge. If I didn’t set the temp, and I don’t drink diet root beer, I shouldn’t have to clean it up, right?
The big, new, shiny, stainless steel, French door refrigerator with LED landing lights lives in the kitchen. Things are stacked perilously on top of one another, just a door slam away from catastrophe.
I have blogged before about my tendency to hoard cheese and I am sorry to say it is still a problem for me. Behold the deli drawer. There isn’t space in there for a single tiny wedge of cheese from the Laughing Cow. And what is in that black plastic meat tray? Who put that in there? I’ll check that out before I go to bed. Probably has a single dried out slice of salami.
Freezers? Yep, we have three, one in each fridge and a huge upright in the garage. Right now they are in pretty good shape because I did a huge freezer-burned-food dump before we moved.
Our tour of the food hoarding sites in my home would not be complete without a trip to the spice cabinet(s). You’re probably thinking right now, “Oh, I got her beat at spice hoarding.” Think again my friend. Think again.
This is one of my spice cabinets. This cabinet contains the odd sized containers that do not fit in my Spice Stacks, plus a bottle or two of oil.
The cabinet next to the spice cabinet contains three Spice Stacks. Each one holds 30 bottles of spice. THIRTY times 3 equals 90 bottles, not counting the oversized jars.
You’re probably still thinking you won, right? Not so fast. I opened three packing boxes of spices yesterday. Granddaughter Emily had marked them “spices” “spices” “and more spices.” I had to laugh when I saw the last box. She probably asked me what I wanted her to write on the boxes and I probably said, “Spices, spices and more spices.” Gotta love that girl!
Still thinking you won? Look at what I found today. A fourth box marked “kichen stuff” (sic). Under a pile of table linens, there they were. Bottles and bottles of spices. What was I going to do? The Spice Stacks are full. The spice cabinet is full. I did what I needed to do. I got online and ordered 2 more Spice Stacks via one day shipping. Does this look like more than 60 bottles of spice to you? Maybe I should have ordered three.
The moral of this story is that I have too much stuff. I need to use what I have before I buy more. I need to plan meals better and know what I already have on hand. I don’t need five bottles of cinnamon or six vanilla extracts. I don’t need food coloring at all, much less several little boxes of four tiny bottles. So, I have devised a plan to reduce waste, use what I have, and live with less. After all, there are only two of us living here. Today I put myself on a plan called Operation Shop at Home. The idea is to plan meals around what I already have and use up the excess. I will post about my efforts and share any good recipes that come as a result. If I am to use up the spices I have on hand, the meals are gonna’ have to be spicy! I actually put the plan into action today by making fajitas using a packet of sauce mix I have had for quite a while. It sort of worked. I made lovely beef and shrimp fajitas using the sauce packet I already had. But when I went to the store for the rest of the ingredients to make the fajitas I noticed that Frontera now has a new sauce for carnitas. I bought one! So the best I can say is that I broke even today using up the fajita sauce but adding a carnitas sauce. I will try to do better. Are you drowning in stuff? Why not join me in OPERATION SHOP AT HOME?