Floor 21: Tackle the Food Closet of Doom

In the month of November, Mr. DebtFreeJD and I plan to tackle a big category of our expenses: grocery store spending.  We’ve made a pact not to throw away any food in the month of November.  More generally, we’ll try to keep grocery store spending way down.

On the theory that the first step to solving a problem is figuring out that you have one and that the second is figuring out how big of a problem you have, I began with THE FOOD CLOSET OF DOOM.

There are many bloggers out there who have beautifully apportioned and meticulously organized homes.  I sometimes work 14 hours a day.  Ergo . . . we do not.

Despite my work schedule, we cook most nights.  We have a pantry.  Before tonight, I was never sure what was in there.  I waited until Mr. DebtFreeJD was out for dinner this week, bought some frozen Eggo Waffles for dinner, and (heart in hand) set out to tackle the FOOD CLOSET OF DOOM.

That white blur in the bottom right is Dog DebtFreeJD photobombing this picture.

That white blur in the bottom right is Dog DebtFreeJD photobombing this picture.

I took everything out, cleaned the shelves, and re-organized.  I found:

  • Actual, useful food (beans, canned tomatoes, beans, etc.)
  • Various purchases made during a misguided heath-foods phase (quinoa, macha powder, etc.)
  • A ridiculous amount of spices, including a possible life-time amount of nutmeg
  • Four aprons.  Why do we have four aprons?  We don’t even like to clean. I got rid of two of these.
  • A dog bed.  Dog DebtFreeJD has eaten all previous dog beds and has sufficient fluff that she’s happy sleeping on the floor/cramming herself into our bed in a pinch.  We don’t need this. It can go.
  • An old vacuum cleaner.  If we don’t need four aprons, we certainly don’t need two vacuum cleaners.  Goodbye, old vacuum.
  • No clean towels.  (Laundry is running right now).
  • The bedsheets I was looking for over the weekend when we had houseguests.  They’ve been moved to their proper place.

After these and sundry other discoveries, I re-organized all the food so that we’ve got a sense of what we have (and don’t).



Even enough space to move Dog DebtFreeJD’s water and food bowls to a location where we won’t constantly be tripping over it.

OK, so the DebtFreeJD household won’t be on Pinterest anytime soon.  But, I am pleased with the results of the initial legwork of preparation for Grocery-Bill Reduction November.

6 thoughts on “Floor 21: Tackle the Food Closet of Doom

  1. Judi

    Good for you! This is our biggest obstacle in the way of paying off debt in our household. I get so mad at myself if we waste food because we spend an absurd amount in our grocery budget. Maybe I’ll get inspired by your food cabinet and get organized too.
    Have I ever told you how much I appreciate your honesty with this blog? I also often work 14 hours a day, and sometimes when I read debt blogs I am overwhelmed with an immense guilt for my lack of a well organized food storage or lack of craftiness. Although I admire these bloggers and will pick up some of their tips I know they aren’t all practical for our lives. With your blog I’m just blown away by your debt pay off! And your tips always seem practical for my lifestyle.

    1. Mrs. DebtFreeJD Post author

      Judi, my feeling is that I can only concentrate on about three things at at time: my job, my family, and debt pay off. If I had to add craftiness or carpentry skills into there, my head might explode.

      Also, I’ll confess — we employ a cleaning lady. She’s expensive. She comes twice month. But she’s still cheaper than contracting malaria, which would be the result if she didn’t come.

  2. Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom

    Wow the after picture looks like it’s sparkling!

    We had a pantry meal tonight, quinoa chili, to use up the quinoa I bought a looong time ago. I actually like quinoa, but rarely make it because it sounds too healthy I guess.

    1. Mrs. DebtFreeJD Post author

      Good for you on the quinoa front, Emily! I LIKE to eat the following things:

      -various refined grains

      Everything else I eat out of a sense that now that I am an “adult,” eating vegetables and fruit is required. Alas. I may just throw away the quinoa.

  3. Cecilia@thesingledollar

    dude, how do you feel about putting the quinoa in the mail instead of tossing it? I love it and it’s expensive 🙂

    But seriously, that closet looks *amazing*. It’s incredible how taking the time to do something like this can transform your whole attitude to life — after two straight weekends away, I finally had time today to run errands, rake the yard (a really big job), and do some cooking and laundry. Tomorrow I’ll clean the bathroom, the kitchen, and, yes, probably sort out my pantry closet a little bit. I can’t wait to feel squared away again.

    Congrats on getting it done! And good luck with keeping up with it!

    1. Mrs. DebtFreeJD Post author

      Upon further inspection, that jar turned out to be full of chia seeds, rather than quinoa. Ugh. Even worse. Want some chia seeds?

      It does feel great to tackle this projects. I won’t reveal what the rest of our place looks like – let’s just say that the pantry is now the most organized space in our apartment.

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