I was gone one of two days this past weekend, so I wanted to make the day I was home really count. I still have some things to do in the bathroom, but decided that working on my pantry would take more time and was a better weekend project. Besides that, after a MOPS mom asked our group what we all spend a month on groceries, I had a reality check on how much we spend in that category, and though I already think I do really well, I was motivated to try and do even better. (But that discussion is for another post.)
In January I shared my pantry organization, but since it’s usually organized and just needs tidying up most of the time, I don’t think I made many changes to it at that time (I simply shared the process I had gone through in the past and what few additions I had made). But some things just weren’t working very well, so I decided that while I was about to add some cute labels to my containers, I would clear everything out and take an inventory, and maybe rearrange some things. (Taking an inventory also helped me see how many extra things we have that maybe we don’t need, and where I can do better with grocery shopping.)
Here’s what it looked like when I started…
One of my biggest challenges here is the depth of the pantry. It is difficult to organize and maintain that organization, because stuff almost inevitably gets put in front of other stuff, making it difficult to see what’s all there. Another issue I was having this time was that I had bought some items and didn’t yet have containers to put them in (like quinoa, chia seeds, etc.). Putting bagged items in containers that can be stacked not only looks so much nicer, but it makes it much easier to organize your cupboards and keep things from toppling over and becoming one big pile.
First I took everything out of the pantry, wiped down the shelves and lined them with shelf liner. I failed to get a pic of any of those steps, but let me say that, as usual, the shelf liner alone is a nice touch. (I also wanted to paint the inside of the pantry, but it was kind of a last minute thought, and Brad said that based on whatever’s on there now…some sort of contact paper or wallpaper…that we’d have to wallpaper it. It would also require removing all the shelves and the brackets, and since I hope to gut the kitchen in the next year, I said, “naaaaaaa…”.)
Often when I organize the pantry, it also involves organizing a couple other cupboards as well. In this instance, especially, I wound up swapping some things around and rearranging not only the pantry but the other cupboards that hold food items. Some of the issues I was trying to address were:
- Prevent having things in front of each other in the pantry so that everything is easier to see.
- Ideally remove the rolling carts from the bottom of the pantry because it’s not easy to see what’s there and I think that has led to some overbuying and waste.
- As I remove processed food from our home I wanted to get the healthier options where they were easier to see, and move the other stuff to a less prominent place until we are rid of it.
- Get the new “staples” into containers and out of their original packaging (quinoa, chia seeds, coconut, powdered buttermilk, etc.).
- Add cute labels to everything.
- Was already there: Kids’ stuff (Popsicle maker, etc….I really need to go through this box!, koozies & bottle openers, corn & grilling items (corn butterer and “stickers”, meat injector, etc.). Added to this shelf: Crisco & vegetable oil (because I’m going to try to omit these from our diet in favor of coconut oil, olive oil and butter), cake decorating supplies & cake flour (these used to be at the top of the cabinet above the stove – things didn’t fit very well and it was difficult to access, so I swapped our “extras” (extra ketchup, sauces, etc.) for the cake supplies.
- The 2nd shelf down stayed pretty much the same, but we typically have only three cereals on hand, so I removed the extra Tupperware boxes. This shelf is cereal, oats, (now) steel cut oats, baking mix, (now) waffle mix (homemade), and I relocated our boxes for candy up here. My “chocolate” box is empty, but when I do have some dark chocolate on hand for a treat this is where it goes. Faith also has a box for her never-ending supply of candy, but I go through every couple of months and toss a lot of it (she never misses it, either). My hope is that with the boxes higher up, she’ll be less likely to think about it. (Ha ha.)
- The 3rd shelf remained the same on the right half. The spice carousel, vanilla, and extra spices stayed put. I decided to take the baskets of cooking oils, vinegar, peanut butter, Nutella, molasses, honey, etc. and put them here. The pasta containers that used to be in this spot got moved above the stove where things can’t be put in front of them.
4.The 4th shelf has been our snack shelf, but since I am trying to steer more towards homemade snacks and fresh produce, there really aren’t many snacks available in the pantry anymore. I left the Tupperware with tortilla chips (and put the queso bean dip in front of it so I wouldn’t forget we had it). The containers with raisins, dried cranberries, granola and sunflower seeds remained, as did my container with Wasa Crispbread. (I put the can of salmon in front of that so I would think of that as a snack option.) Recently I purchased the two handled baskets from The Container Store, one for garlic and onions, and one for potatoes. Prior to that, those items would sit on my counter until we used them up. If I put a bag of potatoes in the pantry it would often get forgotten (and go bad), but I was tired of loose produce sitting on my counter. I usually only have one or two bulbs of garlic, and they had just sat in a cupboard between two baskets, but since my Costco trip I have several more and a storage solution was necessary. I also put coconut oil on this shelf so that it’s in plain sight (I plan to start using it daily), as well as a container of protein powder that I bought and almost wasted. (Wasn’t a fan of the taste, but I’m doctoring it up with some other ingredients and am able to drink it that way.)
|Garlic/onion and potato baskets from Container Store|
The door organizer didn’t change…I just put some of the cans from the rolling carts here. I used to have a holder for packets, but I decided earlier this year that it was too bulky for what I had in it, and I often forgot I had the seasoning packets. I now have them in the door in front of my soup bases. Not pretty, but I won’t forget them.
|Closer view of pantry shelves & labels (ain’t it pretty?)|
|Cupboard above stove|