Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pantry Clean Up

Pantry....what a laugh. I am sure you have heard me complain or mention on my blog or perhaps commenting on your blog; I have a very small house. I recently had a small group over and wanted to use certain plates. I had to pull out over 38 other dinner plates just to get to the plates I wanted. It made me rethink some things. I will NEVER (EVER) say or admit that I have too many things. I can see my mother smirking as I type this. It did occur to me that.........maybe. Perhaps. Possibly, I have too many things for the size of THIS house. THIS house will most likely be the only house we have. It's 1,200 square feet for a family of four. Tight squeeze. When we moved back from France prices were on the rise....going up tens of thousands of dollars each month by 2003. Not to mention this is California. SO, we bought quickly, worried we would never get our foot in the door if we waited. We did all the right things, 30 year fixed. Put a lot of cash down (bye bye cash.....all gone) and now, of course, it's worth about half. So, we'll be here for a long long time. When I told my mom that I have just the right amount of stuff for the house I WANT she just laughed.

Whatever the reason, whatever the excuse........I have do something with my collection. My kitchen has become totally overcrowded and therefore even smaller and more frustrating to deal with. I have decided to not fully purged....small steps. I have relinquished some control and agreed with myself to put some things in the garage. It was an instant decision on a Saturday morning that Stan had gone to work with a friend.

Here is where I started:

Embarrassing, but it gets worse.

Just shoving things it......gross. This is supposed to be all dishes, however cereal ends up here (no other shelf in the kitchen big enough for it....that will be my excuse???)

I had to move all the dishes above to get to the checkered dishes I thought I had to have one evening.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A totally empty box of cereal. Thanks.

Two shelves out. Overwhelming already. I am joking and poking fun of myself, but I am not going to lie. There were tears in this process.

Wahhhh wahhhh. It's like I have done nothing. So gross.


Table is getting full.

I love these, but like the checkered dishes, it would take forever just to get these out to use. I have four deliciously big mugs that another cupboard. These are now in the garage until a butlers pantry magically appears.

Believe it not a lot of these are in the machine as I am piling everything up.  I collect bits and pieces as I go on this one. It does look cute on the table.

This is what started it all.......William's Sonoma garage sale :)

Sick. Two bags of far!

The dishes I use every day.....maybe because I can get to them???

Pulling the platters out now.........oh my.

Some of my platters.

They match nothing. I love them. I will not let go. Help.

Stupid cupboard in a tight area. Had all the pots and pans and baking dishes here.........such a hassle to get to all of it. I NEED pull out drawers. Someday.

Progress. I'll keep all the platters here. The pasta set is to the right.

My 1950s Descoware, Belgium. Finally off the stove top.  6 perfect pieces.....$14.  $9 for 5 pieces at a garage sale and then later found the matching smaller casserole (inside the large one) at GW for $5.99 Score.

The rest of my pots and pans next to it. Easy access. That's the point of all of this!

One set of dishes. Pots and pans an some goodies on top!!!!!! Much better.

Sprinkle in a bowl I didn't want to give up....cupcake wrappers in a jar...and some staples that only fit in here. Don't  you love chalkboard contact paper...cut, peel label. Wanted to print a nice template, but was too impatient.
So, I have cleaned up my act and got rid of some Martini glasses, a Margarita set, that salt and pepper shaker with brown grapes...lame.

I will not put my wedding dishes in the garage. It would free up a lot of space, but I want them in the house, I can't let go. So, they continue to take up two big shelves. Can you believe that I only have four more shelves like this? For all the food and glasses, etc.

It's messy too. I usually hide good snacks up here. See the box next to the wine glasses? Those are marron glaces (Candied chestnuts) from France......I'll clean this up next. Can you imagine though? two other shelves like this and three on the bottom like the one I ended up putting the platters in and that's it!!!!!!!!! Not a lot of space. Can you believe I had these dishes shipped over from France? I got really lucky......someone moving home had them shipped with their things. Their company paid for it.

I tackled my spice cabinet too before Stan got home......finally broke down and bought the goofy plastic spice steps........It did help and I had a tin of expired spices. So I am feeling better.

Didn't get a before...but believe me. It's better. See my goodies up above? More things I can't let go of. The blue depression glass candy it! Too bad I have nothing blue in my house. :)

Okay. I have aired my dirty laundry. I feel better. I have accepted that I do have too much for this house. That's a huge step for me. I am coming to terms with it and trying to accept that we will probably be here for the long haul. By the time we can afford to move I'll be close to old and would rather get a small place in France to retire 6 months here 6 months there........we'll see.
That's enough for today. I'll another small project that came out of this that same day!


  1. Hello,
    Thank you for visiting us and following Red Rose Alley. I am from Northern California too. It sounds like you are tired of your small house, but I would hold on to it right now. I know so many who have lost their homes or didn't make much when they were sold. You are doing a great job little by little sorting things out in your house. Whenever I buy something, I always like to give something away. That way, things don't pile up on me too much. I love the red rooster in your kitchen. I have been looking for one for some time now. The black and white checkered plates I would definately keep. Good luck with the organizing. It's a process, but it look so nice when we're done.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  2. Thanks, Sheri! I love your blog. I am glad I found you. My red rooster was a post a while back....I spray painted him. He was a couple dollars! We aren't going to sell. Sometimes we wish were rule breakers and could go months and months not paying our mortgage and walk. We could never do it, though. Cleaning up sure helps!!

  3. My husband claims I have the only walk in pantry that you can't walk into because I have too much stuff too and I do need it all. Don't worry. Your house will go up in value. Might take awhile. I live in Southern California and it's not a good time to sell so we are waiting for the market to go back up too.

    1. Awww...a walk in pantry. :) Yes, it would be a great time to be a first time buyer or investor...we'll just wait it out. Maybe someday. :)

  4. One step at a time, right? It looks like you've made huge progress in organizing and de-cluttering. You have such a fun collection of dishes and I don't blame you for not wanting to part with them, so putting them in the garage where they're not in you way everyday is a great idea. The central valley is in horrible shape too with home prices still dropping. If I could reach into the deep dark corners of my kitchen cabinets, I'd be shocked at what I come up with...that's a project for a rainy day.

    1. Yes, I know we won't be moving. The big house next to us just sold for $100,000 less than we bought our tiny house for. We talk about adding on, adding a bay window off the "dining room" it's just one room.....but our table is there lol so we'll call that 8 ft space the dining room. Or, even a Veranda/sun room. Whatever. For now I just need to keep it clean and organized. I am getting closer to the idea of getting rid of some of the non-collectible dishes. That's a step forward. :)

  5. Small spaces force us to be creative when it comes to storage and even display. I've shared a bit with you on how I do it. I live in an old 1954 home with a small galley style kitchen. I think you and I have about the same kind of cabinet space. and I'll admit I've many shelves that are holding my "pretties" that I just cannot part with.
    Pantry is looking good. Little by little...

    1. Thanks, Rechelle! You're right, little by little. :)

  6. Karen, we live in a tiny house built around 1920. The cabinet storage is abysmal. Actually, all the storage is abysmal. One thing I use is over the door racks and this kind of basket that hangs on the bottom of a shelf. The over the door racks come in a big variety of styles. The one on our back door has a dozen hooks for jackets and bags. There are others that have small shelves, ideal for pantry items. Maybe you can search the Container Store online and get an idea of what's available and find something that could help you with your current situation. Your clean up job looks great. Good luck!

  7. You have such beautiful things though, especially those window plates. It is so hard to let go of things because, obviously you liked enough at one time to buy them. I do know what you mean though. We downsized from a 5 bed house to a boat! I had to let go of everything except for a few cherished things which are now in storage. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Karen,
    I know exactly your situation. I outgrew my house a while back. It's hard to find a place for anything new. We never have had enough storage space here. Silly me, I'm back again not waiting till fall... Have a great day.

    1. :) I am glad you're back!!! That was quick! You missed us!

      I figured when I need to get a storage space then I've gone too far...I am pretty close.

  9. So many "pretties", so little room. Several years ago, I went through all the items I had too many of - crystal, glass dishes, china, platters, Teacups/saucers and more...and gifted it all to a friend who LOVED all of it and had room for it. It felt so good.
    Congratulations on what you've been able to do - and Good luck to you on doing more.

    Jan ♥

  10. Such a pleasure to meet you, Karen..I am so glad you stopped by! I am loving your blog, and I am faced with a very similar situation. We are in a small apartment...but I love my dishes, glassware, etc. So hard to give up lovelies! Just the other day, we were driving by a garage sale, where I spotted some gorgeous vintage daughter says..."keep driving, keep driving, mom!" heee....she knows my weaknesses.
    Again, lovely blog you have...the organization looks fantastic, I am inspired!
    Will be following you...
    Wishes for a beautiful weekend!
    - Irina

    1. Your daughter sounds like my mom. I've gone garage saling with her a few times and everything I look at, she says, "No. Don't get it" lol Speaking of which, it's a quarter to 8 on Saturday and I am not out looking for treasures. It's killing me :)

  11. Doesn't it feel heavenly to get organized? I must confess I need to do the same! Maybe soon. So many lovely dishes! Have a wonderful weekend! Traci

  12. Just so you know...I had a plate addiction. I finally got rid of most of them. At Christmas, I put pretty cookies on them with a note saying I did not want the plate back and they could feel free to pass it on or keep it. Made my cookie plates look prettier than plastic and I like the idea of my plates being free and circulating in the world somewhere!


Thanks for your feedback! It makes my day getting comments!