Thursday, August 16, 2012

When Creativity and Housekeeping collide

My home will never be minimalist. I just don't do Spartan. While I yearn for clean lines and open spaces, what I excel in is comfy clutter.  But at the same time, the urge to organize always emerges, triumphantly creating systems where piles and chaos try to reign. I'd never given this much thought, until the other day when a friend assured me it's one of those "wow! why didn't I think of that? " ideas.

Take my pantry stocking habits -- Virgo meets domovoi-in-trickster-mode (minus the grey beard, tails little horns, and male part). When cans, bottles, or little packets of stuff come into the house, I use a permanent marker to write the expiration date on the top.  Saves me making the dreaded last-in-first-out mistake when I open a can of coconut milk.  It's also handy when I do buy sauces or condiments. Sometimes I get all set to try a new recipe, knowing I do have this one specific ingredient tucked away, because I made something with it not long ago.  When I finally do locate the jar and  pull it out it's easy to see that the lid says 08/08 on it, letting me know that 1) maybe I don't use this particular substance that often and 2) maybe I don't want to be using it right now.  It's also really a really helpful guide if one ever does clean the pantry.

I do buy bulk for grains, beans and nuts.  For a long time, I just put a piece of tape across the the container lid and let my sharpie do the work writing information there.  For beans etc, it wasn't so much an expiration date; more what the little legume was, since some of those suckers look remarkably similar. But then I discovered chalk board paint.  When painted on the top of the glass jars I use in my pantry and refrigerator, I can do all sorts of things besides telling mung beans from pigeon peas. And for the jars for the nuts I keep refrigerated? It helps me remember when I restocked the jars for freshness, especially when something gets pushed to the back of the fridge into the Science Project zone.

I have little tins for my spices -- those are falling to the brush the next rainy day we have.  As to how I plan to (once again) organize all the recipes I've saved?  Look out world!


  1. Oh, I like this pic! It makes me happy :)

    I've just been storing stuff like this in old jam/jelly/salsa jars. I write on the jar in Sharpie, but I also have a can of half-used chalkboard paint. Maybe I should give it a try!

  2. When I did these, I intended to do just a swipe on the lid and a square patch on the glass. But I got sloppy and ended up doing the whole lid.