Have you watched that show, “Hoarders” on TLC? The one with all the people who live in homes full of years of junk they can’t quite part with. That’s me, on a smaller scale. I hoard non-perishable food. In my teeny, tiny pantry. I just can’t throw things out, you never know when I might use them.
Recently, we had a little fruit fly situation. I thought it was from some fruit on the counter that had gone bad. Got rid of the fruit, still had fruit flies. Sean traced it to the cupboard and some Celestial Seasonings herbal tea that had been in there about five years (and has been through at least one, probably two moves). I went through a phase where I drank it for a while, then I stopped. But I couldn’t throw it out, just in case I decided I wanted some someday. It’s tea, really, does it ever go bad?
So, since he had to rummage in the back of the pantry to find it, and pull a bunch of stuff out, he decided to clean out my pantry for me. I thought I’d take you on a tour.
Here is my pantry before. Notice how I stack things Tetris style.
You can’t see the top shelf because Sean had already cleared it out. Here are the contents of the top shelf. One shelf.
And here are a few things that were in the pantry. Stale fortune cookies. Great grandma bought these for the girls for Easter. We ate a couple from the other box before they went stale. According to Sean, even though they’re individually wrapped they go stale quickly. But, they were a gift, and unopened. Just because I had no intention of never using them, you just never know. What if I ran out of food, then I’d regret throwing them and wished we at least had some stale fortune cookies to eat. Plus, is it bad luck to throw out a fortune cookie? Sean threw these.
Here are some more gifts we’ve received, none recently, that I just couldn’t throw. Oreos. My kids have never had an Oreo. That white gunk in the middle bothers me. Yet, I keep them. Like I’m going to change my mind? And the other are boro boro (?). They’re little Japanese potato ball things. Sean loves them. The kids love them. They taste like crunchy baking soda. I don’t love them and I don’t like that I can’t read the ingredients because they’re in Japanese. I rarely give them to my kids. In fact, only if they see them in the pantry and ask for them do I give them out. So, why keep them? Because they were a gift. The Oreos got thrown, but no way Sean’s tossing those other things.
Here’s some BBQ sauce. Also a gift to me at Easter time. (Sean’s family gives out a lot of food gifts for some reason.) It’s supposed to be really good. The problem, we don’t use BBQ sauce, ever. We just don’t make anything in BBQ sauce ourselves. This bottle was expired (by about 4 months) so it got tossed.
Here is part of my collection of cookie and cake decorating supplies. I make cookies or cake and think I need a certain color sprinkle or what-have-you to do it well, so I buy it. Then I use it once and keep it forever. I bake such an item two or three times a year, otherwise I don’t have much use for them. They just take up a lot of space. These were kept. You never know.
And my favorite. A container of infant formula. We got this one from the doctor after Penny was born in the little goodie bag they give you the first time you go in with a new baby. It’s unopened because we don’t use formula. Cool if you do, but we don’t. In fact, I have never bought a container of formula myself for any of the girls. Penny is now 9 months old. I have successfully breastfed her this long and went over a year with my other two no problems. I make a lot of milk. Pretty sure I’ll make it three more months until she can have cow’s milk. So, why keep it? Just in case. What if I dried up suddenly and she was starving and I needed formula? Never mind the fact that this formula is for babies under 6 months and I would need the formula with iron in it. It’s an emergency! She can go without iron until I can get to the store! This, I kept. Not worth the risk.
Here is the final result. Isn’t it pretty? Sean even fixed the doors that have been broken for FIVE YEARS since we moved in. So now I have a clean pantry that I can actually find stuff in.
When you have a problem like hoarding, it’s best to get someone to help you. Thanks, Sean. By the way, this is your new job. :)