"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...."

No mice in my pantry but the general concept of how one thing influences another - as in "If you give a mouse a cookie he's going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk..."* - kept running through my mind as I worked there last week. For months I had intended to clean out, revamp and organize my walk-through pantry. I had big dreams but to realize them I needed skills beyond my own (with power tools) and so the dreams were dreamed but that's as far as I got. Then I lost patience with that scenario and moved on to Plan B - which I was fully capable of in the best Little Red Hen fashion. Perhaps not as glamorous a plan but do-able. 

I love the concept of a pantry. Well-stocked and ready. Buuut...with very little effort a pantry can so easily become a mess of past-dated canned goods, the relics of meals planned but never made. Yummy treats, evidence of hunger-impulse buying, crowd the shelves and mock. And the odd things that just find a home there because, well, where do you put that anyway? At any rate my pantry was full and (being a walk-through) also busy. More or less tidy, some semblance of order - it worked, sometimes pretty hard. But it wasn't what I wanted it to be - a pantry that was pretty and really worked, the way I wanted. And finally, the real driver I must admit, was I wanted to have my favorite collection of cookbooks a bit closer to the battlefield. In the pantry.

So, Plan B: just clear a spot on a shelf and move in a few cookbooks. I figured that should take about half a day. It took me the better part of a week. Sadly. Because if you move this stuff to this shelf, then you will want to put all of this stuff on that shelf, which will require that that shelf be cleared and sorted. Then you will realize that all the herbs and spices should be rebottled and labels made, so you have to go to the store to buy more sticker paper. Making the labels means looking for the right font and fiddling on the computer. Then back down to the pantry and deciding that after all, it would fit better to put those things on this shelf. Arrghhhhh! You get the picture. Very "if you give a mouse a cookie"-ish.

At the end of the day, the pantry looks and works much better. Maybe not a magazine spread but I was so excited when I finished that I was ready to put a sandwich board out on the street and offer tours of my pantry. lol. (David dissuaded me.) Is there a moral to this tale, some great life lesson? For me there is. Every time there is a 'cookie' asked for or given, there will be a chain reaction. Some of those reactions are ever so small - small enough that I hardly notice. Other times, so great that I am afraid I will choke on even a crumb. The sorting out, evaluating, and rebuilding can take far more effort and time than I had hoped for. The end result may not be exactly what I had in mind at the beginning but hopefully, I will arrive at a pleasant place - with peace and satisfaction. Yes, I am thinking of Merin, our family and relationships.  I'm not sure but I think you want to be a little cautious about giving cookies to mice.


Jonathon said...

First I want all the cool stuff you have. Then I want to organize it just like you have.

Jan said...

I haven't read give a mouse book but I do love to read your version of it. makes me smile to see what you always accomplish so well.

Eden Lang said...

MOM!it looks amazing. so worth all the time you put into it! I agree with Jonathon you have such cool stuff.
can't wait to see the pantry in full effect when we come over today:)

Nancy said...

Cheri, what a cute description of your project. What started small became huge,and I think very satisfying! I wish I had you to help me organize, but first I need the pantry.