Contain Me!

Never never never go into a place called “The Container Store” if you’re me. Never. I am constantly teased about the state of my kitchen. Incoming items rarely stay in their original packaging. I have cupboards with matched and labeled bins for baking supplies and a tea cupboard where small matching canisters line up with my colorful selections. I removed the tea cupboard doors just so I can stare at my pretty shelf of jars. I am fairly certain “The Container Store” would be the end of me, so I’ve never been.

I’m the one who will buy containers for my containers. I will buy cute containers and then find something to fill them with. It doesn’t matter what with…the containers need a reason to stay.

I re-purposed an extra set of clear glass salt and pepper shakers. Now they hold bobby pins, safety pins, and buttons. I use mason jars for toothbrushes, cosmetics, etc. Notice my containers are all clear. I used to do baskets and boxes and tins but then promptly forgot what was in them.  Tiny little memory bank, remember?

In the long run, this method has reduced the sheer volume of “stuff” in our home. In addition to the questions “Do I use this?” and “Do I need this?” when I toss things out, I ask “Are you so cute I can’t stand it and need to see you every single day?”

You want to see the pantry? Yes, yes you do.

There is a little broom cupboard tucked into a corner of the kitchen that came lined with pegboard. Hubby cut some melamine triangles “just so” and we filled the whole closet with shelves. Now you can open the door and see rows and rows of cans and jars, all matched, labels turned forward in tidy little bundles of yummy goodness. It’s almost too pretty to eat. If there’s a gap in their ranks, I know right away to go buy more spaghetti sauce or I won’t sleep at night. But only one or it won’t all fit.

I will stand there and dither for a half hour, literally, angsting over where to put the extra jar so it won’t mess up some other row of cans. Pathetic.

At the bottom are the onions and potatoes. They are my kitchen rebels. I keep the door closed on them.

My onions have sprouted and the potatoes are threatening to explode with little green shoots coming out of each green “eye”. I have explained to them that this is not acceptable food behavior. Food should remain cleverly disguised as food and not remind us that they used to be agricultural products, ie: in the dirt. My chicken no longer has its head or feet attached; it sits prettily packaged in the freezer and it’s clearly labeled “picnic pack”. How nice. But you cannot convince my root veggies that they are not still living in a field in Idaho someplace and now it is spring, so time to grow. Naughty potato.

Which brings me to the containers I grew up with in our kitchen windowsill. We didn’t grow herbs in them; those grew in the massive garden outside. These were mason jars with yellow plastic mesh lids, tipped upside down in a wooden rack. The idea was, you put chia or alfalfa seed into them, and swirl fresh water around in the jar each day until you have sprouts.  This was before the whole green smoothie, read the labels, wheat grass shot boho movement. This is what you do when your parents are throwback original hippies.

Around day seven, the sprouts are at the peak of nutrition, and you eat them in your salad or sammie or forget about them until day nine when you are officially sprouting mold instead.

Which is fine if you’re growing your own penicillin.

Which would have pleased my maverick parents no end.

Comment (6)

  • Esther| May 28, 2014

    Wow that’s a lot of each thing! I try to eat our way through my whole pantry every so often so things don’t get forgotten and we actually use any weird and random items I’ve purchased on a whim… Wish you could come organize my kitchen storage… I would post a picture of my ‘system’ but it might keep you up at night! Ha!

  • Nini| May 24, 2014

    Great article! Amazing organizing! WAY too much Spaghetti sauce, unless you’re stocking up for Kids Camp. 😉

  • Abbie t| May 23, 2014

    To be fair, this blog could be describing me, mom, Sarah or Meggie. All 100% to the “T”…or to the “OCD” …or to the “DNA”. Ha ha! Ur canned food shelves are a thing of beauty. Makes my heart sing.

    • Jolie| May 23, 2014

      Could be worse. Could be alphabetized. Or color coded. But it’s definitely one of my tinsy little happy places.

  • Pat Tunnell| May 23, 2014

    I enjoy reading your thoughts, you are a great writer. I can’t wait to show Lyn, he gives me a hard time for reorganizing our cupboards..

    • Jolie| May 23, 2014

      Sadly, I will cheerfully clean and organize anyone’s space. Sad, because it’s compulsive. Cheerful because it makes me so happy. Shall I come over and help? We can have tea after!

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