Thursday, September 29, 2011

Project Organization #1–Pantry

Our pantry was stressful.

It is the most used cabinet in the house and yet we fight a disaster every time.  Things tumble out.  I purchase multiple items because I can’t find what I have. It was a mess. Chaos!

2011September 005

After reading some organizational blogs, I was super motivated to get in there and attack it!

First, I removed ALL contents and put them in categories on the counter top.  (I forgot to take a picture of this! Darn it!)

I had one area for canned/bottled goods; one for anything in a box; one for anything in a bag; and then a trash area for anything that was expired or empty (I won’t tell you how many empty boxes and wrappers I found in there!).

Once everything was out, the shelves got a good scrub down.

Justin came in for the sorting and putting everything back in the pantry.  We sorted the food and placed it on the shelves based on what we use together and how often.

For instance, Justin fixes our clients breakfast every morning and packs their lunch every day.  So, anything associated with breakfast and lunch was placed together and on the top shelf so it would be easy for Justin to access (except for bread and we keep that in a different cabinet).

The second shelf was filled with food related to “meals we fix often”.  Placing these items on the second shelf down makes them easy to get to and easy to see when we are running low.

The third shelf was used for bottled goods; salad dressings, BBQ sauce, etc.  We also used it for snack type foods: crackers, nuts, popcorn, jello, etc.  I gathered all the small items and placed them in a bin that we can easily slide in and out so the little things can quit getting lost in the back of the pantry!

The fourth shelf has two bins on it filled with all things associated with baking.  These items get used the least and are located on such a low shelf that putting them in bins that easily slide in and out make them much more accessible and I can quickly see at glance what I have and what I need to get before I start baking. Instead of my current system which was guessing while I’m at the store and ending up with TWO bags of sugar and FOUR 1/2 empty bags of brown sugar and SEVEN cans of Pam!

The bottom shelf contains our indoor grill along with a bin filled with the left over items caused by purchasing in bulk and dividing into smaller containers.  I also put all tortillas in there as well.

The bottom shelf also has the tall containers that wouldn’t fit on any other shelf (without having to adjust all of them, which we didn’t want to do).

I have already mentioned the use of bins and containers.  I didn’t have very many of these things on hand though.  After Justin and I put everything back the way we wanted, I stood back and looked at what I could do to make certain items easier to manage.

I made a list of most of the things in bags, the items we buy in bulk and then all the small items that often get lost because we can’t see them.  Then I headed to Target and purchased my containers and bins.  It was a little bit of an investment, but one we both feel is totally worth it.

2011September 008

For my containers, I chose to go with the OXO brand.  They were a little pricier than some others, but I really liked the air tight feature.  By pressing the button on top, you are sealing the lid to the container. Then you just press it to release and remove the lid when you are ready to use it.

2011September 012

2011September 011

For the bins, I went with the same bright green color Jen used in her pantry, which was my inspiration!  I had looked on and they showed a red bin, which I LOVED, but when I got to the store, they only had white, black or green. So, green it is!

2011September 008

It was such a great feeling to clean out the pantry and put everything back in an organized and visually pleasing manner.  Justin and I were very proud of ourselves!

Let’s look at another side by side:

2011September 0052011September 007

I can’t wait to tackle all other cabinets and drawers now!

Does anyone else have FOUR junk drawers in their kitchen?

Also, our lazy susan (who is Susan?) contains an empty ice cream bucket. When was the last time we bought ice cream by the bucket.  I’m pretty sure it was in the 1900’s.  Why are we holding on to that keepsake?


  1. umm i bet i know why you held onto that bucket- because mom and dad have kept every icecream bucket they have ever owned. they have tons of them. maybe you channeled them and kept the bucket.

    it looks great! i love OXO brand. we have a lot of their kitchen stuff and i esp love their air tight containers. Bed Bath and Beyond does 20% coupons like every week- you can get them there too :)

  2. Good job! Don't you just love when things are organized? It's like a weight is lifting and you can relax a little more. Just like with cleaning. I love it!