My Stone Castle


Reflect, Reboot, Reset, Rejoice

Susi Stone

It’s 2021 finally and time for a reboot. 2020 was hard and I fear that if I am not imaginative and self-motivated January may feel like more of the same, a big holding pattern, and a good time for a lot of nothing. It’s too early for spring, the holidays are over. The ground is frozen, the movie theaters are shuttered, and sunny vacation is a distant memory. But what January does offer is a fresh beginning; an opportunity to reflect on what didn’t work, and ditch it! Then turn our focus onto what did work and hit reboot, reset, replay!



I decided to take a look at my list of things ready for a home-based reboot; my closet, my resolutions, my sock drawer. My beautiful kitchen deserves a fresh beginning. Built barely a year ago, it’s already showing signs of neglect, overuse and is bursting at the seams with clutter, mismanaged pots and pans, phone cords, flashlights, dog brushes, band-aids, – not a single thing placed strategically to be found in the event of an emergency.

I chose my pantry for the initial reset. I use it multiple times a day, abuse it relentlessly and curse it for its misplacing. It’s a double-decker cabinet where I store my dry goods, oils, bottles of vinegar, spices, baking stuff, pasta, and canned goods. I would shove the kitchen sink in there if I could get the door closed. 



Rebooting the pantry required a bit of strategy, climbing around, and good intention. My approach included, first, taking everything out and tossing anything I haven’t used in a year. I was ruthless. Next, I consolidated open bags of rice, boxes of oat, sacks of flour, and combined things into categories that suited my approach to shopping and cooking. Based on Samin Nosrat’s series, [ Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat ] I created those categories (minus the Heat of course) and added a few like sweeteners, baking, and the necessary rice/pasta and canned goods.

There is no right or wrong way to organize a pantry. The entire process helps consolidate our thinking about what we eat, how we cook, and what we buy.  The best logic is our own, and it may take some time to figure that out. Just keep in mind to keep as much visible as possible. If you can’t see it, it’s a goner.  Clear, airtight, storage containers (with a handy roll of painter’s tape and a sharpie for labeling) are invaluable. Rectangle-shaped containers are the best.



The NY Times ran an [ article ] about organizing a pantry and breaks it down into three levels: Essential, Expanded, and Expert.  It’s a great read and my recommendation is to start at the beginning. Buy and use things you are comfortable with. And slowly, as your confidence grows, expand accordingly. And rejoice in a well-stocked and organized pantry!


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