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Cleaning out the pantry

I recently realized that I’m not only too busy these days, but that I’m going through a season of chronic disorganization.  It’s driving me crazy.  No, really!  I’ve got my hands in too many things, and it shows.  The worst part is the clutter: books and papers scattered across (almost) every horizontal surface in my house.  Ugh! It’s gotten to the point that I can’t even yell at encourage the kids or my hubby to clean up their own messes, ‘cause they can’t distinguish where mine ends and theirs starts… {{sigh}}


I called my friend Kim, who runs a business helping people “get it together”, and invited her over for a consultation.  I pictured wonderful things happening overnight…painlessly and seamlessly.  Well, wonderful things are happening, and even more than what I’d imagined! (The jury’s still out on the “painless and seamless” part…)

Kim walks into my house, looks around, and opens the door to my very tiny pantry closet.  “Wait!” I said, “That’s not what I want to organize.  It’s the room next to the kitchen.  The one that has a desk in it (which is piled high with papers and junk and currently unusable); the one with the shelves in it (which are filled with food and paper products in some sort of arrangement that made sense last time I unpacked my groceries); the room with the books and piles all over the floor, preventing me from even safely reaching either the desk OR shelving.”  {{sigh}}

But we talked it over and she asked questions and offered suggestions and helped me see the bigger picture.  It was more help than either of us realized.

And in the process of fixing my workspace messes, I learned some things that are helping me clean up some other “junk” in my life.

1) The problem is not always what I think it is!  Seeking counsel always helps.  Whatever the problem is: getting organized, a marriage struggle, or discipline issues with the kids, it helps to get a fresh pair of eyes on the problem from someone who is not directly connected, and has related experience and/or training.  It offers you a much-needed new perspective.


2) The process can lighten my load.  My husband made the recommended shelving (thank you, honey!) and we started putting things away.  Who knew I had 3 bottles of sesame oil?  Or I-don’t-even-know-how-many boxes of flavored rice mixes? (And the kids don’t even LIKE them!)  Not me. Just getting rid of stuff I don’t use or need or want is helping me take care of the things I do.


3) The product creates a ripple effect.  Something starts to happen when you take those first few steps.  Once I stopped doing the “same ol’ same ol’” and expecting different results, and started taking steps in a different direction, I was able to look at other areas in my life that (sorely) needed attention.  With less clutter around me, I can sit down with a clear head and think through my responsibilities and priorities, make some decisions and move forward...

And it doesn’t hurt that I can now find that bottle of ketchup we needed, a letter I had to respond to, and last month’s electric bill!

Monday is the start of a new week…a fresh start…a great opportunity to clean out your own “pantry”!

What do you need to do differently these days?

Shared with: Essential Thing Devotions, The Art of Homemaking, and The Modest Mom

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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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6 Responses to Cleaning out the pantry

  1. JES October 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Hi Pat, I am one of those weird ones who loves to organize so I enjoyed your story! 🙂 Thanks for sharing the other blessings that come with order as well on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    • Pat October 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      Hey JES,
      I don’t think that’s weird at all! LOL Actually, I have a really hard time functioning when my surroundings are a mess…which is NOT to say I’m a great housekeeper tho…

      Love the stuff you’ve been sharing on our Coffee & Conversation, too!! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  2. Jean October 21, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Think I need Kim to come visit my house!

    • Pat October 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      Jean, I don’t know anything about your place…but I do know she’s started magic in mine! Of course, to be totally honest, it’s taking a good bit of work, too. But my major problem was taking that first step! That is THE hardest thing sometimes, dontcha think?

      • Pat October 30, 2013 at 9:42 am #

        Update: things are moving smoothly here! Kim was here yesterday and we cleaned out 1 of the big, ugly, gray shelving units I had in the “room next to the kitchen”, threw out lots of stuff and filed paperwork, while Kim organized the rest of the food supplies in the newly-shelved pantry closet. This week my hubby is installing a new shelf over the washer & dryer for paper products…and Paige Brooks is putting the whole process together for a visual post! Boy…it feels GOOD to get my act together! 🙂

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