Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Take it off. Take it all off.

Have you ever wondered why lining kitchen shelves with new contact paper is such a rush for some women?

In defense of those who aspire to line their shelves with flowered or checkered ticky-tac paper, I say, you go, girls!

I did some research and found that shelf liner is so popular that a web search produces nearly 3,900,000 results. Not only that, there are nearly 1.5 million shelf liner blogs. Who would have thought?

Now, don't get me wrong; I am not patronizing what appears to be a simple task. I speak from experience. In December, I began relining my cupboards and I'm still not finished.

It had been so long since I last installed shelf liner I had forgotten all that's involved.

First, take photos of where everything is in your cupboards and drawers. I'll explain why later.

Then, remove all the pots, pans, plates, glassware, bake-ware, bowls, appliances, cutting boards, cooling racks, Tupperware, Tupperware, more Tupperware, and all those gadgets you haven't used in the last 15 years. It's a noisy, tedious job, but somebody has to do it.

Take out all your silverware, spatulas, spices, towels and dry goods.

When your drawers and cupboards are empty, take off all those old tattered sheets of shelf liner and scrub what you can of any caked-on food.

If you come across some dried up baby food from when your 16-year-old was a toddler, try not to get overly sentimental. Just scrub it and move on.

Vacuum all the crumbs you find. Or, sweep them into a dust pan and put them out for the birds. But, resist the temptation to stretch your next meatloaf with them.

The technical term for this extensive in-depth process is "deep cleaning." When you deep clean, you may find out some pretty scary things about your house that you really don't want to know. It's similar to watching a movie with three-D glasses; sometimes, it's much more than you can take.

Deep cleaning makes you realize that certain stains are there for good and no amount of elbow grease or "Spic & Span" will remove them. So just get over it, because those stains are going nowhere fast.

Next, carefully measure the new shelf liner with a retractable tape measure, mark it using an erasable pencil and cut it with sharp shears.

Caution: If you experience post-traumatic stress, punctuated by a primal scream from your previous experiences with contact paper, never fear, Duck [as in Duck Tape!] Vinyl Liner is here.

This is not your mother's shelf liner, not even close. Today's contact paper is a sleek new product that smooths out like a dream when you accidentally crinkle it and easily removes if you place it wrong.

And, there's no need to settle for plain old yellow or brick-red. Nowadays, there's vintage scented songbird liner, cork liner, wire liner with locking tabs, ribbed liner, lace window film design liner, clear liner, black and white checked liner and the list of liners goes on and on.

Ladies, as you apply your new liner, please contain your excitement, as your work is not complete. A few "woohoos" and high-fives will do.

Finally (deep sigh), return all contents to their proper places.

Warning: Put everything back in your cupboards and drawers exactly where you found them. Not doing so could be dangerous to your health. Unless, of course, you enjoy answering the proverbial question, "Where'd you put that...?" for months or maybe even years to come.

I salute shelf-lining women everywhere. Let's elevate lining our kitchen shelves to the same level as claiming a monthly spa day, learning to say "No!" and, of course, not wearing a bra. "You go, girls!"

2011 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email pauladamon@iw.net, follow her blog at http://my-story-your-story.blogspot.com/ and find her on FaceBook.

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