Before and…Before?

Thank heavens for friends.

Himself and I are away. Yes, away! After some super-saver scrounging we got ourselves a few days alone. There is a hotel room on the coast with a fireplace with our names on it. (Not really. Cause that would suggest we are rich, famous, and/or weirdly possessive people.)

And since I had an under-the-weather kidlet to deal with, there was no stockpiling of posts. Thankfully a couple wonderful friends came to my rescue.

So I am proud and honored to present the first ever guest post on In Pursuit of Martha Points, my wonderful, dear friend Nichole, from In These Small Moments.

 
So, during the Great Internet Outage of 2010, after I cleaned the house, went to Target eight and a half times, read an entire cookbook, gave myself a pedicure, and watched some paint dry, I ran out of things to do.

So, asked myself how many Martha Points I would earn if I tackled our long-neglected pantry.

It was in complete disarray, so I was sure that I would earn at least enough to get me out of the red.

This was going to be great!  Martha Points would surely fall from the sky!

Here’s the before shot:

What a disorganized, unruly mess.  I couldn’t take anything out without three other things falling to the floor.  Who lives like this?  Geesh.

So, I spent an over an hour tackling it.

I took most everything off the shelves and moved everything to my kitchen counters, arranging by type of food, how often I use each item, etc.

I was on fire, fueled by visions of a tidy, well-organized, and super-efficient pantry.

I threw away no fewer than four boxes of expired crackers. Why, oh why do I buy hors d’oeuvre crackers? Who do I think I am?  At my house, you get chips and salsa.  If we really like you, we make guacamole.

I threw away two bags of expired flax seeds.  Yes, I make my family eat flax seeds.  But seriously, did I think they would no longer be available?  Why did I have three bags of flax seeds?  Why?

I tossed two stale boxes of cereal with no more than a quarter of a serving in each. Again, why?

I put the remaining items back, ever so carefully lining up the boxes, dreaming up easily-prepared, nutritious, and delicious meals as I went along.

I believe I may have been whistling while I worked and had a spring in my step. (Bonus points for a great attitude?)

Once I was done and I stood back to survey my work, this is what I had before me:

Wait, what?

Nope, not that different, are they?

So, if I get positive points for tackling it in the first place, but negative points for the end result only being marginally better than it was originally, where does that leave me?

I need numbers, people.

So what do you think everyone? How many points for Nichole’s efforts? Does she get points for the organizing if you can’t tell that any actual organizing happened? Today, you get to decide.

And then, make sure you go over to her blog and read some of her amazing posts. I love “How to Break Up With Your Hairstylist in 10 Easy Steps,” despite the fact that I am more likely to actually LOSE a hairdresser than pursposefully leave them. But the ethereal, “Because It Was Grassy and Wanted Wear” will take your breath away.

31 comments

  1. Lori adds a whole additional layer of complexity to our lives, doesn’t she? Because even when you think you are doing something good, it turns out that really you’re earning some negative points at the same time.

    1. I see the tidiness of it as well. I think most pantries are unorganizable. Really. I’ve tried to do this with ours a few times as well. With much the same result. But you have to have gained *some* points just for making the boxes tidy & throwing out a bunch of expired food…right?

      1. When I was growing up, we didn’t have a pantry. We used the kitchen cabinets for food and I’m convinced that it was more efficient that way.

        I’ve cleaned that pantry out more times than I can count, with varying levels of success. ;)

    2. Cheez-Its are unhealthy snacks that we’ve had in there forever. Craig likes them as a quick snack when he gets home from work, but a box lasts forever. They’re close to their expiration date, too.

      But don’t worry, no children were harmed in the purchase of the Cheez-Its. We don’t let Katie have them. ;)

      And if there is ever a dried pasta emergency, you can all count on me!

  2. Personally, I think it’s a good improvement, you can easily see things and all looks neat and tidy so I would not deduct any points myself.

  3. Lori you lucky dog…have fun!
    Nichole, ha ha ha thank you for that. I have attempted this same feat many a time. The best was at 39 weeks preggo, standing on top of a step ladder digging out expired 4lb cans of beans…and then I thought my water broke…classic!
    I’m with KLZ, I assign you +4 for honesty and +11 for guest posting.

    1. Thank you! I’ll happily take those points!

      When I was 39 weeks pregnant, I was at the store, stocking up on everything, including, if I remember correctly, a 4lb. can of beans.

  4. We have that same kind of crappy pantry. The shelves go so far back you could lose a small child in there. And you can never find/see anything, which is why you had all that flax seed.

    And if I took the same before and after pics, my pantry would look exactly like yours. But I know how much work it takes to do all of that cleaning and rearranging, so I’m giving you 852 points, plus and additional 500 for helping Lori out ;)

    1. Exactly!

      I mean, I used to have three kids. Now I only count two. Hmmm…maybe I didn’t clean it well enough? ;)

      And I love how liberal you are with the points in Lori’s absence!

  5. Ugg! Our pantry is a MESS too! I look at the same box of stale fill-in-the-blank-here every damn day! I say you get +15 for tackling the project no matter WHAT it looks like in the end and an extra +5 because you took pictures and shared. Plus also? +20 for guest posting for Lori! Woot!

    Hope you’re having fun Lori!!!

  6. I live like that. I do. If I cleaned it out, I’d just put most of it back to look slightly more organized.

    Also Lori– hope you’re having super fun on your lil trip.

    1. That’s mostly what I did!
      If you look closely you can see two jars of Fluff in the back that are in the same spot in both pictures. I took them out, just to put them right back in. -5 points?

  7. I think that it’s a testament to your survival skills that your pantry is still so full – you need to have adequate sustenance, right?

    I give you +15 for tackling the project and +10 for providing for your family like you were on the Oregon Trail [I do the exact same thing. With TWO pantries. For three people.]

    1. I’m sure that you aren’t old enough to remember this, but there was a show called “Let’s Make a Deal” when I was a kid.

      The host, Monty something-or-other, would ask for random objects from the audience and if someone had the item in their purse, they won prizes. Like, if anyone had a pair of toenail clippers or some other odd object, they would win something.

      Well, we could play that game in my pantry. You could say, okay…hmmm…show me a bottle of blue cheese-stuffed olives. And I sooo could.

      Should an emergency ever occur, my family would be fighting the good fight. ;)

  8. I think the positive attitude of whistling while you work gives you +20 points in addition to the +20 for tackling the project. I would have been calling my whole family asshats for leaving the 1/4 serving of cereal in the boxes because surely it would not have been my fault.

    1. Thank you for your generous awarding of points!
      I agree, whistling while I worked and not bringing harm to any of my family members should earn me mega bonus points.

  9. Nichole, I didn’t realize at first that this was a guest post, and when I saw your first photo, I thought “No wonder I couldn’t find the cat food (when I needed to cover the Demon Cats)! Then I thought “I’ve never seen baker’s sugar in the pantry”…slowly it began to dawn, and I had a wonderful time reading your story.
    (Actually, I couldn’t find the cat food because it’s kept in a container with NO hints as to its contents. No “cat food”, no cat pictures, no “MEOWMEOW”, nuthin’….
    Thanks for the smiles,
    Lori’s Mom

    1. Okay, here’s the funniest part about the baker’s sugar:

      Our lovely neighbors recently moved and called me and asked if I’d like any of their pantry items, as they were putting their things in storage for a while and didn’t want to store food.

      I was over there in a flash. My husband was stunned when he came home, because not only do we have our own fully-stocked closet of doom, I was cramming the contents of someone else’s in there too.

  10. I say, 100 points for getting rid of the flax seed at all, whether it was spoiled or not.

    Crackers? Aren’t worth their weight unless adorned with cheese of some sort, which doesn’t do well in the pantry (unless it’s cheese-in-a-can). More points there.

    Extra points that you love chips, salsa, and guacamole.

  11. Lori,

    Thank you so very much for allowing me to come over and hang out on your blog for a day.

    I immediately felt at home and I appreciate how friendly your readers are!

    You are a wonderful friend and I’m so happy that you were able to escape for a bit.

    I love you!

  12. Nice attempt. I’ll give you an A for effort. Oh wait, wrong system, so here:
    +10 for the effort
    +15 for guest posting
    +15 for guest posting yet again at Katie’s
    (all the while cleaning the pantry?? How do you make that happen?)
    +5 for the extra decluttering boost you gave me (I failed this week, go read if you’d like)
    TOTAL = 45 points. Not bad at all!

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