Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Examining the Store-Closet, Cellar & Such ~ Odds and Ends Series


"Second. Examine the store-closet,
and see if there is a proper supply of all articles needed there."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873

Welcome to the fourth installment of our monthly home maintenance series where we attempt to follow some old fashioned Victorian Era advice. This step involved checking our pantry supply of inventory and preparing a monthly grocery list based on our findings. You can print our "Essential List for a Stocked Pantry" here if you are interested. Once this was completed, we moved on to the following instructions.


"Third. Go to the cellar {or pantry}, and see if the salted provision, vegetables, pickles, vinegar, and all other articles stored in the cellar are in proper order, and examine all the preserves and jellies."

  • We checked our supply of canned goods to make sure all the lids were still properly sealed. We inspected our ferments to make sure that none were ready to be consumed or refrigerated. We  went through our brewing extracts and infusing tinctures to see if any were ready to be strained and bottled (we also gave them a nice shake to help with the macerating process). You may also need to restock your cleaning closet which was shared in our last post.
  • This is a great time to organize and straighten up your pantry (here is a complete set of pantry labels should you like to make a project out of it)! You will want to make sure all your goods are straightened nicely in rows with the contents legible for convenience. Remove any items that are expired, etc. 
  • This is also your opportunity to do some fall food preservation preparations which you will find here: Canning Day Checklist ~ Six Ways to Plan and Prepare.


"Fifth. See if there is a supply of dish-towels, dish-cloths, bags, holders, floor-cloths, dust-cloths, wrapping-paper, twine, lamp-wicks, and all other articles needed in kitchen work."

  • We went over our supply of dish-towels and retired the spent ones into our rag bin. Other household supplies were written on our monthly list to be purchased (such as additional dish-cloths).
  • We also went through our aluminum foil, parchment paper, plastic wraps and plastic bag section to make sure we had adequate inventory of those disposal items (we don't purchase paper towels or napkins as we use cloth but that would be included in this area if you do).


"Sixth. Count over the spoons, knives, and forks, and examine all the various household utensils, to see what needs replacing and what should be repaired."
~ Catharine Beecher & Harriet Stowe, The New Housekeeper's Manual, 1873

  • In this last step, we chose to organize our utensils, silverware and such. Instructions for how we straighten up these items is found in detail here.

Although some of these measures don't have the same meaning to us as it did in the 1800's, I went through the motions just the same to be in touch with my Victorian Era self (although forgive me for not counting the spoons as Ms. Beecher had recommended!). The simple weird reason for following her advice as close as possible is that homemaking is a hobby of mine and I enjoy it!

Here is what we have accomplished thus far on our "Odds and Ends" Monthly Home Maintenance Series (note that some steps were placed together and altered to make for modern day needs):


Are you ready to begin your monthly home maintenance?


This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sHomestead Barn HopAmaze Me MondayMonday's MusingsMarriage MondayTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 Tuesdays, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersMake Bake CreateWise Woman Link UpWow Us Wednesdays, Wildcrafting WednesdayThe ScoopCoffee and Conversation, Whatever You Wish WednesdaysSo Much at HomeHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeHearts for Home ThursdaysGrowing in Grace ThursdaysHome Acre HopFrom the Farm Blog HopFarmgirl FridayFront Porch Friday Blog HopSimple Meals FridayCultivate NourishingSimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. Jars pictured at the top of the post are these: 5 liter Fido jars.

18 comments:

  1. Jes,
    I have been doing just this in the pantry area. Have not made it to utensils yet as many are still out for canning season. I might be seeing the light though:)
    Also, where do you find your jars with the 'old fashioned' wire sealing lids. I have a few, but they are an odd shape. I love them.
    Keep well.

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    1. How fun! Glad you are in on this :) I shared the link to the jars on the last sentence of the post. They are the 5L Fido Jars (I was fortunate to find them on clearance for $3 at a local hardware store and bought them out!)... Happy organizing!

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  2. Be still my heat! I love this series. And I love, love, love pictures of pantries--almost as much as I love babies. And yours are beautiful...swoon ;) Now, I'm off to happily go check my canned goods and other provisions.

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    1. I love, love, love, pictures of pantries too! :) Can't get enough of them, especially in pretty jars! Thank you for taking the time to comment Katie... Have a lovely week!

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  3. Love this series! I always store things neatly, but then the first time I'm looking for something that I can't find easily I install bedlam where my neat rows of jars used to be. I'm trying to do better though as your awesome posts are so inspiring. Last weekend we were out antiquing and ran upon a benefit sale where I scored another 2L Fido jar for 50¢. I cleaned it up, installed a new seal, and now it's holding a batch of kimchi. I love those 5L jars you have though and be on the lookout for them. Sadly our last remaining hardware store closed its doors last year - a great loss for this homemaker.
    Have a great Wednesday!

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    1. Oooh, 50 cents! I love a great bargain! :) But very sad about the local hardware store... Seems like Home Depot ate them all up :( Thanks for taking the time to share, I always enjoy hearing from you!

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  4. Many years ago women used to keep an inventory of their household

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  5. What a fun and useful post and series! I love your large jars w/ beans and such... looks wonderful. I like having things organized and used to do a better job of it than I am right now... Too many " irons in the fire " and working hard just to do the minimum at the moment w/ sick kids, tired mom, etc. Someday soon, I hope to start going back through areas of the house and organize again... we DO have organization, but it is in sad need of attention right now! Thank you for the encouragement and the beautiful pictures. :)

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    1. Oh, do I understand that Joy(!!), which is why I started this series! I had many "irons in the fire" for awhile and this was my way of catching up on the things that had to fall to the wayside. Part of being a prudent homemaker is knowing not too push our limits (and maintaning health) and knowing when the proper time is to regroup our household again... We simply can't do it all, but we try and maintain order to the best of our abilities during whatever time and leave the rest to a peacefuller time :)

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  6. This series looks great! I am going to be checking it out! :) Also your pantry is cute! I need to start using a similar system!

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  7. We have a tiny pantry, yet somehow things still seem to get out of place! This is a great reminder to tidy it and reevaluate if we need anything. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you Shannon for taking the time to comment. Have a lovely week!

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  8. This is great! The timing is excellent as we prepare for the colder months.

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    1. Hoping it is useful, thank you Jacki! :)

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  9. Great advice! I'm in the midst of doing pantry maintenance! Thanks for sharing your post on the HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you again tomorrow! - Nancy
    The Home Acre Hop

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    1. How fun! I love those kinds of organizing projects :) Hope this helps!

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  10. Great post!
    Pinning on our HomeAcre Faves board :)
    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Those labels are really cute. What a fun way to organize. Thanks for your submission to the HomeAcre hop. Please head over to www.PintSizeFarm.com or one of the other host blog to submit another this week :)

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