About two or three years ago, I started small-batch canning. I was strapped for cash and it was a great way to make my CSA produce last and to create comparatively inexpensive holiday gifts. Plus, the product is so much tastier than what you get at the store. But there is a downside.
As you can see:
My mom has this nice built in shelving in her basement where she puts all her pantry items. I do not have such a thing. I have a section in a basement that the Blair Witch would probably be at home in. Basically, I have this table. In the winter, it also needs to hold the window a/c unit.
So usually what happens is that I force my brother to come over to help me move the a/c unit downstairs, and I do a panicked amount of tidying and then we get it on there. At Christmas time, I make multiple trips downstairs, trying to distinguish the jars meant for gifts from the jars for home consumption. Also when I am putting up preserves, there is usually a lot of rummaging around trying to find empty jars.
The other big problem with canning: rings. See when you can something, you’re supposed to remove the rings because they can rust and then you can’t open the jar. Only when you give a jar to someone or open it, do you put the ring back around. So they usually have to hang out somewhere.
Okay. The container drawer was a success. Rather than attempt to sort everything out in the nasty Blair Witch basement, I thought about doing it KonMari style.
Please understand there is no joy to be sparked with this stuff. I mean one Ball canning jar is exactly the same as another Ball canning jar. But if I understand her correctly, it’s important to see what you have and to handle everything you have.
I saw a few reviews and a few blog posts of people critical of this kind of process. I get that. At the same time, sometimes it helps to see just how much you have and moving it to another space allows you to do that.
By going through everything, I was able to put all the holiday gifts together. I now know how much I have of everything else; that next summer I will need to go through the hell of making green tomato relish; that I have more than enough apple butter for the winter; and that I have three jars of stuff I should probably use because they are approaching the 3-year mark.
9 empty cardboard boxes got broke down and tossed–even if half of the people I gave jam to gives me the jars back, I won’t be able to fill 9. They’re in the recycling bin.
The lids are now in one of my plastic containers and in one of the few empty cardboard boxes I kept.
I also came to terms with the fact that if I haven’t used quart jars in 3 years, it’s unlikely I will ever do so. They’re going to a friend.
And maybe if I didn’t verbally say goodbye to those quart jars, I was able to acknowledge internally that having them taught me I don’t need to waste my money on them in the future.