Monday, November 15, 2010

Give a Way

I checked some of the blogs I regularly read today, and many of them are conspiring to give away a Windows Phone 7. There's a marketing scheme at work: Bloggers of Note are asking readers to respond to how they do more with less, and then there will be random drawings all over the internet. I don't have a Windows Phone, and even though it might seem, with all these giveaways, that my chances of winning one are better than ever, my guess is that in two weeks I will still be doing more with less smartphone.

I could also do more if I spent less of my time entering contests I don't usually win. And maybe I will do more if I don't have a Windows Phone to distract me. Look, folks! I have almost convinced myself I already won something!

Anyway, here on my blog, I don't have anything tangible to give away. Except my secrets, and you already have some of them. Here, I found one more.

Instead of a giveaway, I am going to give a Way. You know, a Way. A way to do more with less. It's only one way, mind you, and it's my way, so feel free to choose the highway.

A Way to Organize Your Canned Goods and Jars

You're really wishing I had a Windows Phone to give away now, aren't you? And, if you read a recent blog post of mine, you're also questioning if I have any authority to give away any organizational strategies.

But bear with me.

We've got a very small kitchen in our bungalow, with very little cupboard space, and because I like to store away my pots and pans and plates and bowls (and also because we have a LOT of bowls), we only have two shelves left for food. That is, if you don't count the top of the refrigerator, where we store cereal, flashlights, squinkies, and a picnic basket full of paper plates and plastic utensils.

I have to make good use of those two shelves, and I want to know where (right or left? Up high or down low?) to go deep for the can of diced olives. My good buddy once bought me a label maker, and after I giddily labeled various toy bins in the girls' room ("Plastic Littlest Pet Shops," "Plastic Goody Bag Loot My Kids Won't Let Me Throw Away," "Plastic Polly Pockets," "Plastic Polly Pocket Clothes," "Plastic Animals Which Are Not Pet Shops," "Unidentifiable Plastic Choking Hazards," and "Cars"), I labeled sections of the shelves in my wannabe pantry.

I only need four categories to make my food-finding life easier, it turns out: "Italian," "Mexican," "Asian," and "Beans." We buy a lot of beans in the cross-cuisine category: garbanzo beans go in curry, after all; garbanzo beans can feature in chili. Sometimes, garbanzo beans complement pasta.

I've got canned diced tomatoes in "Italian," and jars of green chile sauce to the right in "Mexican." Cans of pineapple and chutney go in "Asian," because they're for curries. Soup and cans of pumpkin and tuna go in the catch-all unlabeled section. I can handle only one of those "junk drawer" categories before chaos takes over.

So, if you come to my house, you can open the cupboard door, and say, "Fer, let's see you do something with 'Mexican' tonight." And I can hand you a margarita instead of the cascade of cans I would need you to juggle as I emptied the shelf for an elusive jar of refried beans.

It's not genius. It's not even that interesting to read about, my Way of Stereotyping Canned Goods.

And there's probably a smartphone app for it.


Betsy Noel said...

That is totally how I sort my cans too! Only I don't do the bean part and instead have a soup section. Do you think it is genetic?

Jared and Kate said...

It has always amazed me how you manage with only two shelves. If it is genetic, I didn't get it. I hired a professional organizer to do my pantry. :-)