It’s not the apocalypse but according to my pantry, I’m ready for it

Are you sick of me writing about the arduous task of moving yet? I hope not because there’s plenty more to come.

I’m over the speculating and ruminating about what will happen and when my life will take permanent form again. I’m over the keeping-the-house-cleaner-than-any-mortal-should-have-to mode. We’ve just about sold the house. We’ve just about bought the new house. So what’s left to write about?

First, the good stuff. The new house. I don’t want to jinx anything because a deal is not a deal until the ink is dry. I’ll just say (with fingers crossed behind my back) that the new house is a new house or, as I like to call it, a blank canvas.

Maybe I’ve never made it known but I love, love, love decorating, especially on a dime. I literally had people coming into my house recently to view it saying, “Oh, a decorator must live here.” If I had a hobby, this would be it. I’m excited about creating a new space. I just might document it too.

Now, for the tedious stuff….

the packing.

If you’ve ever moved, you know that packing is almost the worst part of the move, just shy of the actual physical moving. I’ve done three major purges this year with yard sales and donations and I still don’t want to take it all with me. I’m going through everything with a keen eye and preparing my piles for “THE FINAL MOVING SALE.” And yes, that is how I will advertise it.

But now it’s time I face a problem in our house. A serious problem that I’ve known about for quite some time. A problem that I attribute mostly to my husband but I’m sure I play a fair part in it too.

It’s our pantry.

The problem is that this house we are still currently living in has a big pantry. And my husband and I like to cook and we like to eat. So naturally, we grew into our pantry space. Wanna see?

The other problem is that I’m in a constant state of wanting to simplify our lives. This is not a simple pantry.

It may look nice and neat because I also have an addiction to Tupperware and labeling. But I assure you, this is more than any 3-person family should have in their home.

These are the spices. YES. We have two and a half shelves dedicated to spices. Incidentally, if you need whole nutmeg, garam masala, or the beans from an actual vanilla bean, we can help you out.

These are the dry goods. The things I think I need to have on hand but need to keep nestled in a container so it will stay fresh because I don’t use it often enough. Things like sugar cubes, and cake flour, and cornmeal, and mini marshmallows.

These are the staples. Thinks I use frequently, like flour, sugar, baking soda, quinoa, panko breadcrumbs. I think I’ll need to hang on to these.

These are the canned goods. It may look like we are obsessed with Hunt’s Tomato Sauce and Campbell’s soup. We’re not. I just really, really like Hunt’s Tomato Sauce and I can never be without it. Ever.

But after that incredibly full pantry, I bet my fridge is a safe place to go. Right?

There are plenty of things that will easily go, like yogurt and eggs and wine (who am I kidding, that wine will probably be gone tonight). But we are ridiculously full of condiments.

The freezer is my savior. It’s full of semi-healthy convenience foods. I don’t think I’ll have much trouble plowing through the frozen pizza, Morningstar sausages, or Trader Joe’s gyoza dumplings. But the frozen mystery meat? We have a few problems here too.

So what am I going to do about it? It is not all going with me.

I have this personal challenge I’m giving myself to consume as much of this food as possible before we move. I think this will help me reflect on how much I probably do eat out, how little I’ve been cooking and meal planning, and how much we really do have. In fact, it’s a bit embarrassing. I seriously do think of the starving children in Africa every time I waste something in my house. I think about how much we truly have and how it seems like so much. I won’t even go into the things we end up throwing away because it expires before we use it.

We’ll eat what we can. We’ll give some food away (I’m all for distributing baked goods) and we’ll donate what we can to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. And in a month, I’ll tell you how it all turned out. Because my new house (fingers still crossed) has a much smaller pantry. And I think that’s a good thing.

  • Lisa G Theall

    Let me know when your final moving sale is..I need some new things and could use some things to fill up my new pantry.  Being a single Mom is tough and I love to cook and cant wait to finally have a kitchen to do it in. I cant wait to decorate as well…so please dont forget about me!!!! You have ALWAYS had a beautiful house and I love love hosw you dcorate!!!!

    • FadraN

      Thank you, Lisa! I wish I had known with my last yard sale but I will definitely set aside anything I think you can use!!

  • Charisse Oates

    EEEK!!! I love my pantry. I have to have a pantry STOCKED! I blame my great grandmother who lived through the Great Depression and said you always needed to be prepared “for a rainy day.” Just in case. I have hunkered down and tried not to have 7 cans of everything….but…if I were to snap a shot of my pantry right now… would look like a condensed version of yours right now. 

    • FadraN

      So it’s not just me? I’m not really a closet hoarder? I mostly blame my husband and his addiction to warehouse clubs.

  • Cindy Reed

    Fadra, your pantry is a thing of beauty!  You would be all ready for Y2K if, you know, it weren’t 12 years ago and if anything bad had actually happened. Perhaps I will organize my pantry like yours and that will be the magic ingredient for our next home showing :)  Good luck!

    • FadraN

      Actually, people that came to see the house HAVE commented on my pantry. Maybe that’s the secret to selling your house!

  • Stephanie R.

    I would LOVE to have an amazing pantry like that. And if nothing else you’ll be ready for the end of the word in December (at least according to the Mayans lol).

    • FadraN

      I actually thought about making bread today. Seriously. Like with yeast and flour and stuff. Who am I?

  • tammy

    I am so jealous of all the space in your current home’s pantry! Will you still have some space in your new place? (I fully understand your desire not to move everything over!)

    Good luck with the move.

    • FadraN

      We’ll cut that space at least in half. But I think it’s good. If we have the space, we seem to magically spread into it. If we have less space, we’ll buy less. In theory.

  • KeAnne

    I love your pantry and organization!  My mother and I are food hoarders and think we must have starved in a past life.  We purge ours a few times a year and vow to run out before we restock but fail miserably.  Good luck!

    • FadraN

      If your’e anything like me, your pantry is FULL yet you’re always looking and saying “we have nothing to eat in the house.” I definitely plan to scale down.

  • Molly Gold

    Good gracious Fadra!!! You have more food in your pantry than I do with 2 teenage boys taller than me!!! =)  I’ll send them over hungry to help you “simplify” =)  Love how organized it is!

    • FadraN

      I knew you would love the organization but remember two and half shelves are nothing but spices! Ridiculous!!

  • Grace Biskie

    wow, I am equally impressed and jealous of your well stocked pantry.  seriously…shock and awe. =)

    • FadraN

      It looks much better in pictures than in real life. Seriously.

  • April Dorris

    I love, love, love your pantry.  But I understand how it can grow.  I am a house of one that is about to be two and my pantry items have grown! This is partially because I gave up pre-packaged foods years ago and so I now need more raw ingredients in the house.  I love it but I may be facing a move soon and I am not looking forward to the clean out and pair down that you are going through.

    • FadraN

      I love it when I have fresh foods and actually use them. I’d like to get more to that point once I move. I mean, how many cans of tomato sauce does one really need?

  • Mandi McClure

    I have serious pantry envy.  My house didn’t even have a pantry.  But it had 2 coat closets.  Really?   Because in the south we need 2 coat closets.  So I turned one into a pantry.  It’s not my dream pantry but it’s so much more than I had.  I really would like a butlers pantry.  But I digress.  I have found that for a family of 3 we have much more food than we should on hand.  It’s insane really.  Another blogger that I followed was moving some months back and tried to eat using only what she had on hand as much as possible so she didn’t have to move extra stuff.  Right along with her, I tried doing the same thing.  It was kinda fun. You get creative.  She listed what she had and asked for suggestions or ideas as to what to make.  I need to pare down my pantry again.  I don’t want to be throwing stuff out in a few months. 
    PS.  Congrats on the move.

    • FadraN

      That’s kinda sorta what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to see how long I can go without having to go to the store. But we have a lot of baking staples and I just packed up all the bakeware!! I need to control my kitchen a little better.

  • Melisa

    We don’t have a pantry…it is a must in the next house we buy…hell, if the rental has it, even better! It has been awful not having even a small pantry. And don’t get me started on the small kitchen shelves!  We finally resorted to using shelves in the basement to store kitchen items. And meal planning, ever since I have started using emealz…it’s saved me time and money! I throw out a lot less and always have what I need on hand!

    • FadraN

      Big kitchen has always been a must for me, with lots of cabinet space and a pantry. The new house has a smalled pantry but I think maybe that’s a good thing. Besides, there’s a laundry room nearby so if I had to spill over…