The Oscar for Pantry Organization Goes To…


Gather round, children, and let me tell you about the day I achieved a feat astonishing in both its level of difficulty and its utter meaninglessness: I contact papered the shelves in the kitchen pantry.

With a clever tromp l’oeil plain white contact paper that looks pretty much exactly like uncontact-papered shelves. Because apparently even in this glorious day and age of ubiquitous woodland creature motifs, contact paper with any kind of cute animal pattern cannot be acquired from any store in a fifty mile radius or from the internet. Yes, the same internet where you can buy a banana slicer or a foot tanner or a bag of feces or bacon-flavored anything. That very same internet holds, among its vast store of bizarre riches, not a single roll of cute-patterned shelf liner.

Here’s a million dollar idea, free for the taking: someone invent Spoonflower for contact paper.

So anyway there I was with my roll of boring white paper and a precious day off of work. Before we go any farther with this tale of glory and bravery, I must warn you that this path is not right for everyone. For example, I don’t recommend this endeavor to those with a low supply of patience, those with a life goal of cursing less frequently, or those who have actual Important Things they need to get done.

The lonely, less traveled road I chose on that legendary day started with an epic struggle to remove four-foot-long boards from a two-foot wide pantry door opening, then progressed to wrestling with shelf paper that was, somehow, at once too sticky and not sticky enough, of obsessively attempting to smooth out air bubbles and scotch tape down loose edges, followed by an even sweatier, more epic, and partially failed battle to wrangle the boards back into the tiny door opening without nicking their new surfaces, and, finally, of organizing and purging three years worth of pantry items.

My reward: crisp clean shelves perfect as the freshly driven snow…that stayed pristine almost as long as a South Carolina snowstorm does before melting down to mud. And that, as far as I can determine, no one else noticed.

Why I felt compelled to undertake such a daunting task that day is difficult to pinpoint. It could have been the imminent arrival of house guests, except that the pantry doors generally stay closed, its contents shielded from visiting eyes.

It could be that I’m one of those crazily organized anal retentive types.


College Freshman Maria in her natural habitat raises her eyebrow and smirks at you for having such a notion. A couple decades have taught me to be a little neater than this, but let’s just say I’m still nowhere near a neat freak.

Maybe I just did it for the sheer glory. Except that, had I not told you of it, my epic feat would remain unsung.

No. More likely, this absurd, ill-fated mission was part of my ceaseless battle to feel that I have accomplished something with my meaningless, silly little life. But I take satisfaction in the fact that now at least, my epitaph can read: “She bore no children, never wrote a novel or even a measly short story, painted no masterpieces, invented nothing, made no discoveries in the sciences or mathematics, did not devote her free hours to the service of others–but holy cow you should have seen the inside of her pantry. It was a vision. Absolutely award winning.”


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