Those of you who have been following me will agree that at least two things have been established. Firstly, I often have difficulty in the kitchen. And secondly, I am slightly fussy when it comes to certain things. Like washing. Pegs. Grammar. Dishwasher stacking. You know what I mean.
So it should come as no surprise that when I undertake the weekly grocery shopping, a task I quite enjoy and take somewhat seriously, I also like it to be carried out with order and efficiency. The shopping trolley must have four decent wheels, all in good working order, it must be clean, free of litter, and it really does need to be dry. I don’t see the point of loading a wet trolley with thin cardboard boxes of cereal, dry biscuits and tissues. It will only end in tears. Then the tissues are no good to anyone.
And I always take a list. As soon as something gets low in the pantry it goes straight onto the list. I have too many things going on in my head to remember all the items we need. And I am not The Oracle. I’ve spent the last twenty years trying to drum into Hubby, The Girl and The Boy the importance of the list, and often once the grocery shopping has been done and we are out of toothpaste, I realise that it still hasn’t sunk in. Mind reading was definitely not a gift bestowed upon me by the Gods, and I’ve always told the family that if it isn’t on the list, it doesn’t get bought. I suppose that’s why I get text messages from The Boy with requests for dry dog food on my way home from work every other week.
My meticulous nature doesn’t quite end there. When Hubby and I were first married our kitchen was rather small. Actually, it wasn’t really that bad, it just lacked a few things. Like bench space. And cupboards. It was an old weatherboard, three bedroom number that, what it lacked in things like wardrobes and straight walls, it made up for in character and homeliness. The kitchen was simple. A stove, a sink, a bench and four cupboards. I’m serious. After adding a fridge, a shelf and replacing the oven, extending the bench and wheeling in a small pantry, we were good to go. The one thing I still didn’t have was room.
When a person likes to be organised it extends beyond merely planning your day. Our second home was a new build, and thankfully included a step-in pantry. Not only did it have plenty of room for appliances and a picnic basket, it enabled me to deck it out in my favourite pantry organisational item. Tupperware. Yes, I do love the multi-shaped, colour coordinated Plastic Fantastic, and it really does have something for everyone. You can build, label and stack them perfectly, and with a lifetime warranty you can be sure they will outlive you by light years. Your children and grandchildren will be able to laugh at the retro designs and colours for years to come.
My friends still shake their heads in wonder at my obsession with pantry uniformity, but I am adamant that it helps me restore some sort of self confidence in my inner Domestic Goddess. If I can’t clean, and cooking is hit and miss, the least I can do is organise. And it doesn’t hurt my OCD tendencies either. Our current recently renovated home has a butlers pantry, which is my favourite room in the house.
Now we’ve established that a list and dry trolley are important for groceries, more important is the packing. It’s not rocket science and shouldn’t be that hard but clearly the majority of cashews have not yet mastered this art. So here is my take on things. Items from the fridge, freezer and dairy section go into insulated bags. Then they are zipped closed. Jars and cans may go together, avoiding an overly heavy bag. Always avoid clinking and breakage. Light, stackable things like tissues and biscuits go together and may be supplemented with pasta, dried fruit and baking goods.
Fruit and vegetables should be packed together with heavy stuff at the bottom and lighter squishable things on top. Overly smelly stuff needs to be separated. Simple. Nobody wants their raisin toast smelling like Omo.
And seriously, there is no need to bag up the 8kg sack of dry dog food or the 24 bottles of water. Don’t laugh. I have seen this happen. And you can leave the pack of twelve toilet rolls out too. Because the trolley is dry and they will be safe as houses.
Actually, let’s go one better. I am just waiting for our local Coles to install the glorious Self Check Out option so I can pack my own bags. Now that, my friends, will be one mighty fine day.