Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Pantry Organization

Well, we got the snow I was hoping for.  It wasn't tons - about 3 inches and it melted quickly, but it was beautiful and enough to give me a snow day making today my fourth day off in a row (thanks to MLK Jr.). And, while I'm certainly not known for my productivity ever on snow days, this time I defied the odds and actually used my time off to wisely tackle some organization projects that have been sitting on my list for a long time...

First up was my pantry.  I could hit myself now for not thinking to take a "before," photo; but, trust me when I say it was a disaster. (Come to think of it, I could probably make a mean gift basket with some of my "discard" items.  Hmm...) Now that Sam is eating the same things we are, and I'm learning (slowly but surely) how to cut coupons and shop like a pro, the pantry is officially over-stocked.  Which, I realize, is a good problem to have; but mama likes her things organized. :)


There were a few criteria I had going in to this project.  One, was that it needed to be easy to do.  I usually have about one hour with a project (tops) before Sam is in dire need of my attention.  I don't have time for making crafty little labels or painting walls.

Second, the project needed to be inexpensive.  Sure, I love the idea of having beautiful, matching mason jars for all of my dry-goods; but those things aren't cheap.  Maybe someone would make the splurge; but, personally, I prefer to spend "splurge money" (if there is such a thing) on new clothes or fun furniture - not containers.  So, I worked with about a $20.00 budget.

And, finally, Jeff was pretty adamant that I make this something that would be easy to maintain.  Although I disagreed with him at first, in the end I think he was right in saying that we wouldn't want to empty our cereal/chips/crackers/etc. into containers every single time we came home from the grocery store.  Our pantry needs to be neat (and cute, of course), but first and foremost - functional.

Anyway, with those three goals in mind and armed with a few supplies I'd been rounding up for a few weeks, Friday morning I set out to make my pantry dreams a reality...  And, by golly, I think it worked! :)

I'll keep this short and sweet because it really isn't rocket science...

- I had a few of the white Rubbermaid containers already, and the green buckets came from the Dollar Store for - you guessed it - one dollar each.  I like using these to hold different categories of food in their original packaging, which makes it (again) easy to maintain, but also nice for those of us who need a reminder every.single.time how much water to use for rice or how long to cook the pasta.
- The little labels came from World Market when I went to visit my sis back in December.  I picked up a pack of twelve of the pre-made labels and a six-pack of chalkboard labels, since I knew there would be some I would want to customize.  (Do you like that even Addy has a label.  Haha!)

- And, the chevron paper (which I think adds a lot) is leftover from my classroom decor and was originally purchased at TJ Maxx. I REALLY wish they had more so I could do all the shelves; but, for now, this will do.

As for organizing, I started by setting out all my materials and then taking every.single.thing out of the pantry for a good clean.  This was stressful, I'm not going to lie.  I didn't throw away much, but I did consolidate and check expiration dates as I went.  Then, I simply started filling bins.  Easy peasy.
I tried to be smart about the way I placed things based on how often we use certain items, etc.  For example, the spices and seasonings that we use most often are down lower than the lesser-used seasonings like "majoram."  What even is that? Also, I put baking items like flour and sugar (as well as boxed cookie mixes etc.) in place for easy reach, and I hid-away items like corn-starch and pumpkin (which we only use once in a while) up top.  Genius, I know. ;)

 

So... I've only used this new set-up for a few days; but, I think we are going to like it.  Now, here's hoping I can keep it organized!

14 comments:

  1. I recently organized my pantry (which is actually more than a pantry, it's also storage for everything else in the kitchen lol). I also did mine on a budget of about $20 and used things I already had around the house. My main thing was grouping like things together and it has helped alot! I like that you have the dog food in a container in the pantry....I may have to try that!

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  2. We're moving in a little more than a month and this may be the way I should unpack our new pantry. My current one, well, it's...less than organized.

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  3. it looks great! way to go lil miss productive!

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  4. It looks amazing! I soooo need to do this.

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  5. Love a good organization project! You totally inspired me to organize our pantry!

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  6. My organization-loving heart is pitter-pattering. :) Great job!

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  7. This is awesome! I am really jealous of your pantry because WE DON'T HAVE A PANTRY!!! Seriously, how does that happen in a suburban house built in 2003? It's tragic. At any rate, though, you inspired me to go through and organize my cabinets today, so...thanks for the nudge in the right direction!

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  8. I am so jealous of your pantry. Ours is a small closet with deep shelves so things get lost in the back and a folding door that just gets in the way of half the right side shelves. I tried to organize it better before Sawyer was born but its hard to keep up with. So I will live vicariously through you for now :-)

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  9. hi looks good ...wish I had the time to clean out my cabinets...my pantry is downstairs in the basement.... and i always end up getting the same things at the supermarket...I am not sure what marjoram is used for but I was told, or read it sometime ago that is was considered the poor man's basil....I plan to blog an intensive post about spices their use, what pairings go well. and their history.... next week my husband is on vacation and he promised me that he will tacke the upstairs bedroom and the pantry downstairs.yAY!!!!!great post!

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  10. Love it! I'm totally inspired to get our snack cabinet under control! I have almost been taken out by a flying box a few times since we usually just cram it all in a close the door real quick.

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  11. Dear Elizabeth, one time I posted a picture on my blog and you were keen to point out the package of Oreos sitting on my coffee table. Now I would like to return the favor by pointing out the FIVE boxes of bakers chocolate and FOUR bags of chocolate chips so innocently sitting in your pantry. Will your next post be about baking a giant batch of cookies? I can't wait to find out. Love, lea ;)

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  12. love it! Really really impressed by how nice a job you've done.

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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