Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
When I moved here last summer there were lots of spiders. Everywhere! I believe they may have been attracted to the meat eating ants in the kitchen and the carpenter ants in the backyard. I’m pretty sure there were mice around here someplace too because mice almost always follow the ants and spiders. A vapor barrier has been installed under the house to help control the ant population. Last week I saw a couple of ants in the kitchen that were too small to be carpenter ants and too big to be meat eater ants. They must be sugar ants. I’m glad I’ve only seen a couple of scout ants who don’t find any food around.
I have a suspicion there are mice checking out my house. My furry kid hears them but I don’t. I don’t want to wait until I see them to start mouse proofing my house. When you actually see a mouse it’s too late to prevent them you must start killing them. Really no house can be made totally mouse proof. The best anyone can do is make a house less attractive to mice as they seek out new living places.
So I’ve decided to do as much as I can to prevent mice (and rats) from being attracted to my house. Warm weather is the best time to start. The store carry bag holder for my trash is frugal but it was also the first step to making my house less attractive to rodents by getting into the habit of taking all trash outside everyday. The less I have available for critters to feed on and the more difficult it is for the critters to get at the food the more likely they’ll look for houses with easier pickings.
I use my baking and food prep area daily. It seemed logical I get this cleaned and critter proofed. In this photo it doesn’t look too bad. Its not stuffed and its sort of organized.
I did a little better organizing when I put everything back after cleaning it well. The top shelf will eventually be only for seasonal item storage because I need a step ladder to reach anything.
Last month I had spotted three small turntables in a discount bin for $3.50 each. I hadn’t planned to buy turntables but I splurged and spent some of my Christmas gift certificate to buy them. These were just the right size to fit the cabinet. No more pie pans and marbles, which did work as a decent turntable but still looked like pie pans. These turntables hold more than the pie pans did.
I moved the small blue top containers from the second shelf to a donation box. I’ve had those containers for a long time and never used them so its not a big deal to put them in donations. The roaster pans went to the cooking items area next to the stove. That left me room for more baking items in this baking area so I pulled some from the food storage area and put here. Yes, that looked better. I have all the flours in one place along with powdered milk and sugar and all my spices. Those plastic containers from Dollar Tree crack very easily. Every one of them has packing tape over a crack to hold it together. A new house deserves some fresh organizing things.
I decided it was time for some better quality containers that don’t have to be repaired with packing tape or replaced every few weeks. I pulled out my gift certificate again to use for new containers. I wanted containers that fit the cabinet without stacking. I settled on getting plastic because glass breaks too easily if I (or Ladybug) should drop it. They should be air tight to keep out pests like ants or mice. They should hold one whole bag of flour or sugar or corn meal or whatever and easily fit my hand. I found just what I needed at a price I could afford with these rubbermaid containers. I had my eye on a different brand but the price was much higher. Maybe someday.
These new containers fit the cabinet just right. Each one is accessible without having to remove two to get to the bottom one. I have ten containers in there now instead of the six before. I made the labels by cutting it from the package and taping it to the container with packing tape. I ran out of packing tape so I’ll finish the other labels later. The cabinet has all the baking needs within easy reach to get and to return. In this cabinet I keep: all purpose flour, self rising flour, sugar, bread flour, corn meal, instant milk for drinking, instant potatoes for baking, instant milk for cooking (currently empty), oatmeal, and pancake mix. The cracked blue top containers have been moved to the shed. I may use them as flower pots or something. Its only one small area cleaned and organized but it sure feels good and works great. Everything is easily accessible and easily put away.
I realize I can’t do the critter proofing all at once but one little step at a time will work. Plastic won’t keep mice or ants away completely but it certainly will be a deterrent. No need to hurry about organizing because I’m gonna be here a long, long time. I’ve drafted a couple of posts about preventing mice and rats in the house. They are taking longer to write than I thought because doing prevention things is better than writing about doing prevention things.