Jean Croker Petke

The Pantry

I always have a list of stuff that needs to be done — not always a written list, but certainly a list in my head. Recently, the nagging item has been “Get the pantry back in order.” Earlier this spring I’d done a lot of baking and entertaining. My once neat pantry had gotten in disarray — because I dropped items in the most convenient spot, telling myself I would take care of it later. The pantry situation has continued to worsen.

In fact, on The Boy’s (four-year-old grandson) last visit he turned the pantry light on (which he can finally reach) and was ready to climb the step stool like he always does. He doesn’t really do anything in there. He just likes to climb the stool and look around. I was hot on his heels. “The pantry’s closed,” I told him in my most serious voice. “You need to climb down, turn off the light, and close the door.” He did exactly as he was told.

The next day, he asked, “Is the pantry still closed?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Gramma’s got too much stuff sitting out in there, things that might fall or spill. I don’t want you to get hurt or accidentally make a mess.”

That was several months ago. The job felt overwhelming and I didn’t have time — until I spilled sugar on the floor this week. The pantry was now an emergency.

As I relayed the situation to a friend a few days ago, I said, “I’ve put it off way too long, but the job probably won’t take me more than an hour.”

“Today’s the day, ” I said to myself one morning. I checked the clock as I began, just to see how long it would really take. I moved the garbage can close to make sure disposed items  wouldn’t stop some place on their way to the trash.

All things are now back where they belong, where they are easily found, where they won’t fall off the shelf, or be a feast for the occasional mice. My goal was to restore order. I threw a few things away, and cleaned a little.

I sent The Boy’s parents a text, “The pantry will be open on your next visit.”

I checked the clock. The entire task took 53 minutes!!

Tasks we dread, once tackled or begun, are sometimes not as bad as we thought, and take less time than we imagined. The burden of carrying them around is often worse than actually doing the work.

Here are my suggestions:

  • schedule a time for your task
  • set the timer, if necessary, to (1) speed you along, and (2) give you permission to quit and move on to other things
  • schedule another time to continue the task if work remains

You will be amazed at what you can accomplish. And you’ll love the lessening of your burden and basking in your accomplishment.

Until next Tuesday . . .