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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shelf of shame update

After--ta da

Remember my shelf of shame, my nightmare shelf? It is now my dream shelf. My goal on February 7, for cleaning the shelf was February 18. I am well within my self-imposed limits.

Yes, it was cluttered and junky, a condition that had prevailed for quite some time. In the last two years, I obviously had not thrown anything out.

There were four Ziploc bags, some as large as a gallon, that had a tablespoon of this and that. Two had powdered sugar. That is what I do with opened containers/boxes at some point. Plus, I was fighting meal moths this past year.

Red food coloring and vanilla
Besides spilled cinnamon, spilled toothpicks littered the floor of the cabinet. Way in the back I had a plastic bin from a safari (dumpster diving). It hooked onto one of those heavy cardboard displays. Since this was all clean and usable, I snagged the very clean plastic trays that had only held books in the store. In there and all over the place were bottles of food coloring. Oh, yes! four bottles of red food coloring, maybe from Red Velvet Cake making days? The three boxes of four colors did not have red left. sigh...isgh...sigh. See, I cannot even organize s.i.g.h. in the right order. You know how it goes--do I have red food coloring at home? Well, better to have two bottles than none when I get home and color these eggs/make this frosting/make this red velvet cake.

Candles, food coloring, and cake decoration are held by a little freezer box, old and trash picked. I got about a hundred of these and donated them as organizers. Too bad I did not keep more. See the cardboard box holding 88 cupcake papers? I have at least a dozen more of these. Back in my cupcake days, my mother gave me about two dozen of these boxes of 88. She found them dirt cheap. Yes, I share these boxes with others. The rest are in the laundry room on a high shelf in their own box.

If you are super-organized, just go away. Well, I was super-organized once-upon-a-time. my back is causing an hour's tiny chore to evolve into a week's work.

On to the rest of the shelf. I have an abundance of vanilla extract and empty bottles. Yes, the bottles are saved because they are small and glass. I will tell you the plan later for those. Vanilla was bought when prices were low, on sale, and with coupons. Apparently, I go through lots of vanilla.

Where? There were few bottles or tins of spices. As you can see, a round cake pan is holding most spices I own.

Most of my quart jars are small-mouthed jars. Aha! I just washed a large-mouthed Ball jar, so I opened a new box of confectioner's sugar and emptied it in the newly-washed jar. When I find Confectioner's sugar practically free with a coupon and a sale, I buy it for future use. One day, the sugar canister was empty when I wanted sugar for my oats, so I used the opened box of 10-X Confection's sugar (easier). Combining the empty jar with a box of sugar today resulted in more space in the two shelves above the shelf of shame.

In order to use liquor for flavoring, I just purchase miniatures. Those have their own tiny plastic box on the shelf.

New shelf paper
What? No way! This plastic shelf liner is only 34 years old! Shame on you for thinking those thoughts. This piece of shelf liner from 1977 should last me the rest of my life. Seriously! So, it is a bit wrinkled.

Pick up your jaws and shush the tsk, tsk-ing. Yes, I can hear your tongues clicking.  I did consider some new liner. I was going to get it. But, when I washed this liner, it came almost clean. Actually, it is clean, just stained with cinnamon. The problem with the old liner will exist with what I found--grid lines. These grid lines are what is holding the cinnamon. This slightly stained old piece is clean--hot water, Dawn, vinegar, Clorox, dishcloth, toothbrush.

Right now, this week, I just refuse to go from store to store searching for plastic, smooth shelf paper. We will survive, folks.

I can still hear you.

From store to store I have gone, buying what I thought might work. Nope! So, I made returns. I have returns for today. What I kept--set of three shelves from Walmart. Cost--just under $10. I could have purchased plastic containers for organizing. None were large enough to use on the wire shelf without wasting space. For now, the square brownie/meatloaf pan works.

Additions and deletions
From another shelf I took baking powder, cornstarch, and maple syrup; these went onto the shelf of shame with no trouble at all. After consolidating toothpicks from two shelves, I tossed two empty boxes. I keep toothpicks in a plastic frosting box. Otherwise, they escape and free range in the bottom of the cabinet. For a long time, I have suspected they breed. Quit shaking your head. I needed colored toothpicks once. Someone who came here frequently wanted round toothpicks. Cleaning is best done with the little flat toothpicks. So, that makes one extra box, and I am going to quit sweating and trying to justify one whole extra box. (One toothpick container is a small, plastic jar with a metal screw cap, containing 150 toothpicks. There is a 32 cent sticker on the top.)

We all love the gritty corners of people's lives
Don't deny  I suppose everyone feels better for having seen my shame. You know you do. The perpetual neatniks can be proud of their accomplishments. The messy ones can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they are not alone. The young can use this as a cautionary tale. You-who-just-decluttered-the-kitchen-shelf,  hold your breath and try to hold the line.

Your turn
Do you recognize yourself in any of this? Has less than perfect health caused you to slack up on your chores? If you are young, do you see how your mother or grandmother might need a GENTLE helping hand?

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