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Monday, February 20, 2023

Another Spring Cleaning Task: Lining Kitchen Shelves

Actually, I only lined one shelf, the one that gets the messiest, where I store all of the bottles of cooking liquids like oils, molasses, soy sauce, vinegar, and honey. The oils, molasses, and honey are the worst offenders in the pantry. They drip down the sides of the containers and make a mess of the shelf.

I had put off lining this particular shelf for literally years. I didn't have shelf paper or anything to use in place of shelf paper . . . or did I? 

Remember all of that brown paper that came as packing material during the shutdowns? Okay, maybe you got lots of styrofoam pellets instead. I got reams of crumpled brown paper. I rolled up the paper and stored the rolls on end in a larger box.

I used some of the paper for creating a barrier between layers in boxes of onions, potatoes, and tomatoes harvested from my garden and stored in our cold room. I also used some directly in the garden to suppress weeds among vegetables. And I used some as gift wrap.

As I was cleaning up the "liquids" shelf in the pantry, I remembered my supply of brown paper.

I cut the paper to fit, taping down the ends.

I relined the pie tin that catches oil dribbles.

I made extra squares to go under the honey and molasses bottles so the jugs don't stick to the paper shelf lining. (The squares stick to the bottom of the bottles. As I lift a bottle or jug, the square paper comes with it, but not the shelf liner.)

And when I finished the job, this is how it looked. Nice, neat, tidy, and will be super easy to clean when the paper gets gunked up again. Bonus, I'll be able to compost the old paper and replace it with more of the free brown paper.

Yes, it would be nice if the paper had some sort of attractive pattern. But free is a pretty amazing price.


  1. Smart idea! There are more uses for that brown paper that came in packages. One is to cover mason jars with a rubber band to the top and store that jar on top of my kitchen cabinets. Since I have no bulkhead I have way to store jars filled with dried beans, pasta, salt, baking powder, soda, etc. It keeps the tops of the jars clean. I also used the brown paper as gift wrap. Pattern tracing is another use.

    I had an emergency clean up in my pantry. I have lined mine with stick-on lining paper and I noticed oil on the paper so I took everything out and I found a sprintzer oil bottle that I use everyday had decided to spritz all over the place or it had a leak at the bottom. I saw oil dripped off that shelf to the ones beneath all the way to the bottom. Everything in that pantry had to be removed, washed with sudsy water and the lining paper just needed to be washed not replaced. I have nothing in the original boxes that pasta, or rice come in so I had no soggy boxes to deal with. I put all food into plastic bins when I can home from the store.

    Lili, I curious why you don't just give the honey and molasses jugs a quick clean up in the sink to remove the sticky drips? Seems like a quick rinse vs. a sticky bottle would make more sense, IMO.


    1. Your pantry sounds like it was a mess to clean up, Alice. Not fun. :(

    2. I should clarify on the jars on top of my cabinets. I cut out squares or rounds from the brown paper and cover the mason jar top and secyre it with a rubber band and that is what keeps them clean from dust or whatever floats around up there.

    3. Hi Alice,
      I'm glad your messy clean-up wasn't much worse (no soggy boxes to deal with). Good job getting it all tidied up.

      I do rinse the molasses and honey bottles each time I use them. The issue arises that I have 3 other household members who mostly don't do this. I don't have the time to follow them around all day and clean after them, and I've made the conscious choice not to be a nag (the Proverbs wife who nags, and all). So, I found a solution that works for us.

  2. Lot's of good ideas for the brown paper. I have several cat food boxes in my pantry for organizing things. They are very sturdy and consistent in size. If I get ambitious some day, I may cover them to make them more attractive, but for now they work well.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I have a few of those "if I get ambitious some day" projects, too. I'm glad the boxes work, as is, for now.

  3. It must be clean-the-kitchen season. I washed the outside of the cabinets, the walls, and the floors last week. I need to get to the inside of them, as well as the fridge, soon. I don't use shelf liner or any other kind of paper anymore. Like Alice mentioned, I try to keep my containers clean (although if I'm not the one using them, sometimes that doesn't happen) and I find it just as easy to take everything off the shelves and wash them down. I should add something to the top of the fridge, though, to catch the dust and general ickiness that lands up there.

    1. Good job getting so much of your kitchen cleaned, Kris.


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