It’s not really fair to blame this week’s home organization project on a jar of homemade jam, but I’m going to do it anyway.
It all began this summer when we made jam – and for once we canned it instead of making freezer jam. We needed jam (kids and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches go together, don’t they?) and I couldn’t take paying the prices for jams/preserves made with only fruit and sugar – becasue I refuse to buy fake sweeteners and especially high fructose corn syrup. But I was reluctant to make the jam myself because I was intimidated by the process. The cooker! Sterilizing the jars! The botulism! The, the, the….whatever. It was so easy!
After the jam was a success (and I mean it is so good – made with organic frozen berries from Costco, organic sugar, and pectin that requires less sugar – I had to lay down the law here – no eating the jam out of the jar with a spoon and I mean it. Does anybody want a peanut?) we could not be stopped. The canning bug bit us big time and we got crazy with our canning!
We canned pickles, green beans, beets, and eggs. We vowed to never buy these items again at the grocery store because, why would we? Now, what to do with all of this glorious canned food?
Back to the jar of jam.
All of the canned deliciousness got stashed on our dining room sideboard – until we could figure out where to store it. As you’ll recall from home organization project #7, we had done our kitchen pantry months ago. Since our home is 100-years-old, it doesn’t have lots of storage. The pantry was out.
My Mom had the brilliant idea of storing all of our jars of food in the tool room. As you’ll recall from home organization project #35 (before of the tool room) and home organization project #37 (after of the tool room), our tool room was done and there’s not an inch to spare. When we bought our house 19-years ago, the tool room was where the previous owners stored all of their canned food. It would have been a good spot but the tools were staying put.
Here’s how the deal went down…get ready – it’s major!
Home Organization Project 46
1. All of our preserved food piling up in dining room for months (very good problem!).
2. Rustic bench in the dining room and behind living room sofa covered in library books, college related materials, and magazines. This bench was a magnet for piles.
3. These shelves in the basement were cleaned (home organization project #45) DVDs and VHS tapes got donated/given away and the Xbox game system is getting sold. While our kids bought this themselves, with adult-hood looming, the parents threw down. The gaming system has to go. They can keep the money they get from selling it.
4. The shelves took up a lot of space in our basement – which is also our guest “suite”. The sleeper-sofa pulls out and there’s not really enough room to walk by with the big metal shelves. They’re also deeper than needed since TVs are so thin nowadays.
5. So, the rustic bench moved to the basement and the TV got mounted onto the wall.
6. Now, we had empty shelves. We have shelves in our basement that sit next to our big freezer but there wasn’t enough room on the shelves for the preserved food. You can see why below. Blah!
7. But, there was an empty wall! There are perks to the madness of this year long clean out project! We could put the shelves that had the TV, movies and game system on them in this space – and I measured so I knew they’d fit.
8. So, the shelves got cleaned off and wiped down and the preserved food got a new home.
9. And the empty wall has the shelves. The shelves have all of our ‘non-essential’ kitchen items on them. With a very small kitchen, this is our solution.
Back to the jar of jam….When one jar of jam can make you do all that, you know it has to be good, right?
Whew! It took some time to do this. We bought the TV mounting set and the new DVD player as part of the agreement to get rid of the XBox system. I have the empty boxes they came in because I’m wrapping them up for Christmas and sticking them under the tree.
Next week I’m sorting through all of our magazines – you saw some of them but there are more – and then recycling them or giving them away. It will be an easy week!
What are you working on this week? Do you make your own jams, jellies, and preserves?
52 weeks of home organization