Day 30: The Pantry

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone on the East coast dealing with Hurricane Sandy. I spent the better part of the morning glued to the online news sources and twitter feeds. There are no words.

I was supposed to be working on the pantry. It wasn’t something I planned on doing, but since the doors were off I figured a quick purge and declutter was in order. I got off to a late start thanks to my inability to step away from the hurricane updates. By mid-morning I worked myself into a frenzy thinking of the homeless people and animals who wouldn’t find shelter. Everyone kept telling me there were plenty of impromptu shelters going up, but that didn’t do much to calm me down. I was pretty much a wreck and didn’t want to work.

One more quick scroll for updates, I thought as I scanned Twitter. It was a bad idea. I became increasingly annoyed by the advertisements (I really need to unfollow corporations), self promotion (likewise bloggers who don’t engage with their readers), and updates on breakfast. It seemed so bizarre to read that Halloween decorations are on clearance at Michael’s while people evacuate their homes. It was when I read a tweet by someone lamenting the arrival of fall because she really craved a kiwi that the top of my head popped off and bounced around the room like a pinball.

I’m going to take a wild guess and assume she can’t live with floral wallpaper. Then again, I suck at geography and can barely keep all the continents straight in my head. I shouldn’t judge.

The good news is that I was so annoyed I had to step away from the computer before I mouthed off online, where it’s very hard to delete your Italian temper once it’s published. I finished that pantry in record time! Even Buddy and Buster were impressed.

Yes, that’s the previous owner’s contact paper. I remember this pattern. I think it’s from the late 80s/early 90s. Not my favorite, but not my priority, either.

I bought a pan/sheet organizer. It doesn’t fit everything, but I have enough room on the shelf to accommodate couple more in the future. Above it is my baking station. Most of my flours are in the freezer, so that shelf mainly holds the sugars, nuts, and baking powders and sodas.

Next is all my canned foods. I know this image suggests Hunts is sponsoring this post, but I usually buy tomato sauce by the case (!) a couple of times per year. I go through a lot of it, especially in the winter. It’s for homemade pasta sauce. I should really learn how to can tomatoes, but before that I need to learn how to grow tomatoes.

The top shelf holds a couple of boxes of crackers for school lunches. I transferred all our minute rice (perfect for puppies and little boys with upset tummies) to a BPA-free canister. That was a smart move on my part, if I do say so myself, because the rice boxes are too tall for the shelf. I always had to move them around or store them slightly sideways. Of course, it took me 7 years to buy the canister, so that part of the move wasn’t so smart.

You can see where I store the rest of my grains in this post from last year.

The last shelf holds all my cookbooks, and I did put quite a few in the donation pile. That helped clear out some room.

Last day is tomorrow! This month went fast!


New here? For the next 31 days I’m living according to the famous William Morris quote, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” You can learn more about the project here, and catch sneak peeks of my projects by following me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (I’m @pancakesfries).

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Maria says

    My whole family and most of my friends live up and down the east coast and, sitting in London, I am deeply worried about them. But, they are not as worried about themselves. Yesterday, they posted about all sorts of inane things ranging from Halloween to Grey’s anatomy. People cope in different ways.

    I love how the theme of this years William Morris project has been making changes in your house that matter to you and not to what we are told to care about – like pretty contact paper. Great work!

  2. says

    A little more than jealous of your organized pantry. And I love your rant. My post went up very late today because I was glued to the coverage of the storm as well. Absolutely devastating. I am finally going to try and sleep and it’s EST here!!

    For the record, the card catalog is done. How many days left in Oct?? :)

  3. says

    Ooh, an organized pantry–love it! Seriously. And your rant–love it, as well. I was much the same way yesterday (and I’m glad I’m not the only one who worries about the animals, too). Alternating between being a wreck and being annoyed, I took it my sign to shut Facebook when a friend posted, oh-so-nonchalant-like, “Well, there go the sirens . . . and the crazy train begins”–and I had a nervous breakdown.

  4. Jeanne says

    Looks great and I checked out your grain storage in mason jars. I just pitched all my grains and more due to an infestation of moths in my pantry. Really gross and I am crossing fingers they are gone. They were even in tin container of brown sugar. Ewww! One bag of cereal is in the fridge and I am keeping opened pasta boxes in the basement where I hope there are no bugs. The pantry now has just canned goods and beer. So I’m thinking about jars and also wondering what exactly you put into those jars. You seem to have a lot of them. Can you please elaborate on that? Have also stopped buying snacks in bags until I think bugs are gone or figure out how to seal bags better. Thank you!

  5. Susan G says

    Looks great! I always have lots of tomato stuff (sauce, paste, diced) for pasta sauce, chili, etc. Never occurred to me to buy it by the case.

    I’m with you on the hurricane and other not-so-important issues. I have family in that area and we’ve been very concerned. I know they will be fine – but I also worry so much about those who don’t have resources and protection – the vulnerable people and animals. :(

  6. says

    beautifully organized. and i have two siblings up there in the storm, who are both OK as far as i know, so i totally understand the annoyance with silly twitter stuff during it all.

    I don’t want to be ‘that annoying person’, but i thought i’d share something i recently did. the BPA issue–those canned tomatoes. the acidity of the tomatoes is leaching tons of bpa into them from the cans while they sit there waiting. I started buying tomotoes and sauce in BPA free packaging and boxes, because i think its worth it. the rice doesn’t matter nearly as much. i’d love to find boxes tomatoes by the case. my husband is a cancer doc and i’m a doc too and we aren’t super ‘crunchy’ or anything, this change just seemed worth it.

    love your series this month. i’m totally motivated to join you on your thursday link-up. maybe i’d get more done. i’m finishing up a novella in 31 days right now on my blog and am looking forward to taking a break from fiction writing on there for a while.
    carry on!

    • Karen says

      I was debating being “that annoying person” too. :-) We use a lot of tomato products in sauces, soups, lasagna, etc., so we switched to tomato products in glass to avoid the BPA in can linings (which apparently is a bigger problem with acidic foods). We’ve found some in a mom and pop store that has some imported foods (from Italy). Whole Foods also carries tomato paste and tomato sauce in bottles by the Bionaturae brand.

      Your pantry looks very tidy and your laundry room looks great!

  7. YJ says

    Checking your blog from NYC! Power is out south of 39th Street in Manhattan, but all is somewhat well. (I’m taking refuge in my office and checking non-storm related things like your blog makes it better!)

    Agreed about the homeless–but I think police were sweeping the streets to take them indoors/to shelter yesterday.

    PS. Love the pantry re-org.

  8. says

    Since moving to the West Coast seven years ago, I’ve noticed that the majority (not ALL, but a large amount) of people I’ve met are very focused on their microcosm in exclusion to the broad world around them. As in, if it’s not in California, it doesn’t exist. And … if it’s not in Los Angeles, it doesn’t exist (these people blow my mind). It bothers me a lot how native Angelenos blow off the majority of America as “flyover states” and seem completely unaware of current national/international events. I’m sure this happens everywhere to some degree, but I’ve lived in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and this is not the overwhelming attitude there. Anyway, I didn’t mean to hijack your comments or go on a rant, just thought I’d share my thoughts on your social media observation.

    (I’ve been posting a lot on my personal Facebook account about the hurricane, mostly to check that all of my friends are safe. My blog Facebook page … meh. I doubt more than three people even check it, anyway!)

  9. says

    Thank you for this. We live in New Jersey and are currently on Day Seven of no power. I have been taking to twitter to spread word on collection centers, areas to find gas and food, and more ways to help. I lost some followers this week no doubt because of this, but I don’t care. People lost their homes. My kids and I have been sleeping on the floor of my office, where we luckily regained power there two days ago. We have been relying on the kindness of friends whose power returned for hot meals, hot showers, and a general distraction from everything that’s going on. It’s a heartbreaking situation, and continues to be, and seeing twitter parties and tweets about such nonsensical topics right now really is hard to swallow. While I don’t expect everyone to automatically understand what we’re going through or to be affected, compassion is good too.

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