Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Before and After!

Over this past year, I have become very fond of a fellow blogger who lives in Texas. Elizabeth is a very special lady. She works very hard to take care of her family and her home. She has a great desire for simplicity in her life. She has taught me much over these few months...about being frugal, but smart....about striving to eat healthier....about excess...and about the difference between wants and needs. Elizabeth has been so kind to post about how she has organized her kitchen and pantry....that she TOTALLY inspired me! So, the other day, I decided to try out a few things. First of all, I wanted to see if shopping for an entire month would save us any money. I usually do one big shop a month (approx $250)for staples and then several smaller ones (anywhere from $60 - $100) every week or so for fresh produce or things that I find on sale. Doing it this way makes me feel like I'm always at the grocery store. On Saturday morning, I went to Sam's Club and spent about $270 (ouch!). Then, I went on to Walmart to get the smaller stuff and spent about $143. All together...I spent about $413. If it works...and I'm able to use up all (or most of) what I bought after 4 weeks.....I think it will have been very successful! I think $413 for one month for a family of 5 isn't too bad. We will still need to buy milk each week...mostly because I don't like to freeze my milk (even though I know that I can).

Once I got home from shopping, I realized how awful my pantry looked! I try to stay somewhat organized...but it had gotten really out of hand. So, I took EVERYTHING out! I threw away anything that was past it's expiration date. If I had more than one of something and I knew I wouldn't use it within the month....I put in a pile to take to the soup kitchen.

As embarrassing as it are my BEFORE pictures....

It's no wonder I couldn't find anything. I didn't even have anywhere to step! Because I don't have a lot of counter or cupboard space, my pantry keeps our food, some extra cleaning products as well as dishes and other kitchen equipment.
Here is the AFTER......not a ton better.....but at least I can see what I have on hand...

Now, before anybody says anything about the Spam....let me just say that our family likes it! I cut it into cubes....brown it, and then add it to things like mac & cheese, rice or even eggs. To me, it's like adding bacon. I bought a bunch at Sam's because it was on special....and we do actually keep a "hurricane kit". I put this together during the spring so we are always prepared.
I would also like add a disclaimer about the instant mashed potatoes....I DO NOT use that to make mashed potatoes!!! I add it to soups or gravy for thickening......!! It was a lot of work to shop for everything and rearrange the entire pantry. I was sore the next day! Every morning, I open the pantry door...turn on the light....and admire my work. If I hear someone in there....I immediately jump up to see what they're doing or what they're messing up!
I can't promise that the pantry will stay neat and organized...nor can I promise that shopping once a month will save us any money. The point for me is that my mind is always working now. I want to find the healthiest and the most simple way to take care of my family. We really don't "need" much. For me, this Lenten season is a good time for reflection on our habits...on what we need versus what we want.....what is reasonable and what is excess....what we have and what we give to others.
Visit Elizabeth's blog (click here) for more inspiration!


Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy,
Thank you so much for your kind words. I love you pantry. You did a great job.

ChrisV said...

Your pantry looks great,Nancy.
I would never mention the Spam in your pantry if you would overlook the jar of Fluff in mine! I have no idea how it got there.

Amanda said...

It looks great... that was A LOT of work! Good for you for tackling it and making your home all the more beautiful and functional!


Abbey said...

That reminds me, I need to clean out my pantry! LOL! Seriously, I know that I have dry goods in there that HAVE to have been there since I moved into this house. WHY DO I KEEP THEM???? You did a great job, and $413 for a family of five is excellent!!


Sarah - Kala said...

Were you afraid, Nancy, that I would say something harsh about your Spam habit? :) Listen, if you like it, eat it. I know it's good. I've eaten it in food items for as long as I can remember (my dad's mom used it) . . . I just won't buy it myself. That said, I think you did a bang on job fixing up your pantry! And, anyway, what is exactly wrong about potato flakes? Nothing. I tried to give my kids "real" spuds when they were little but they would not touch them. Instant it was . . . until a few years ago when I had enough and made some. Pioneer Woman has a great mashed spuds recipe, btw. I think the most embarrassing thing about my pantry is: how empty it seems beside everyone else!

Hugs to you!

Nancy said...

Thanks for the encouragement you guys!
Chris....there's Fluff in mine's just behind a some baking stuff! Yes, I hid it!, I wasn't thinking of you when I made that comment about SPAM!! You see, my goal is to be "healthier"....and it seems wrong to preach healthy...and then have things like SPAM in your pantry!
I mentioned the fake taters because my husband is constantly teasing me telling me that he likes the fake stuff better than the real thing. He grew up on the fake stuff! My mother was from Georgia and admonished me one time when I asked her why she didn't just use the boxed stuff for Thanksgiving.....She came unglued!
I guess I've always remembered that and try to make her proud by trying my best to make "lumpless" mashed potatoes! Even with my best effort at trying to cook healthy.....we are still just a processed foods kind of family!

Colleen said...

Your pantry looks great! I will check out your friend's blog.

Mary333 said...

Looking good! Mine looks like the before picture only smaller :) Actually, my whole house looks like the before picture right now:(

Gramma 2 Many said...

Great job. I had to go back to find the spam. did not see it on the first time through. Now maybe I should copy you and clean mine:)

Therese said...

You are an inspiration, my friend. And for the record, Wednesday mornings were grilled spam sandwiches in our house growing up!