Monday, January 21, 2013

Home Organization 101: The Pantry

Well, here we are! The end of the long weekend and the end of week #3 of the Home Organization 101 Challenge. The Pantry. To be honest, I think it still needs some work, just like the kitchen, but this week has been a great start! I just love how I feel after everything is organized and has a place of its own. And trust me, this was not an easy one. Ask my husband. I am pretty sure I reorganized, just this week, three different times before I was satisfied.

But, here it is! Our newly organized pantry where we can actually find what we're looking for! What a concept...

 The Pantry

 To start, I took everything out of those boxes we had laying on the floor of our pantry for 2 months just taking up space. The appliances were not getting used since they were hard to get to and still in their boxes instead of easy to reach and accessible. We put them on the top shelf (and the coffee maker on the bottom) so that when we need them they are visible and reachable, but also out of the way making room for the green drawer chest we found at Target you will see below.

Next, to keep the shelves more organized, I kept canned goods on one shelf with beans, soups, jarred sauce and our oils and vinegar at eye-level. I grouped them together in rows so they are easy to locate and easy to see what we have to stock up on.

One of the reasons for all the clutter was lack of room for everything. So, eventually things became piled on top of other things resulting in us digging for things we needed. In the drawers I put baking items which I don't use that often. The flours and sugars, baking soda and baking powder are all on the bottom drawer. I keep them on the counter in white canisters, but the extra supply stays out of sight and out of the way.
The top drawer holds snack foods. Pretzels, tortilla chips, nuts and dried fruit. 

Two shelves above the green drawer chest I have 4 green baskets I found at the Dollar Tree for $1 each! They hold items that are easily get cluttered. To the left I have our oatmeal, next a basket with to-go breakfast things--our granola bars and apple sauce cups. Then, I have a basket with condiments and seasonings we don't use often. Then, a box with instant meals like Frank's beloved mac n'cheese and boxed soups. 

Then, on the last shelf I have all of our grains and starches. We have pasta in a neat stack with quinoa, brown rice, and barley in great air-tight containers from Dollar Tree for $1 each. And cereal in containers from Shoprite for $2.50 each. (clearly we need to stock up on cereal). I set extra bags of grain behind the containers so that when we run out, we can pour more right into the container. I love these containers. They keep everything nice and fresh and super easy to see what needs stocking up. 

We used an old trash can I had when I was in college that is bright pink and doesn't go anywhere else in the apartment to hold all of our grocery bags. When that basket is full, that's it--the rest goes in the garbage. No more having trash bags taking up our entire pantry floor! We have our garbage bags in boxes in front of the grocery bags and the coffee maker (in case we need it for when we have guests) to the right of the drawers. 

On top of the drawers is a mesh basket I got from Dollar guessed it-- $1. It's the perfect size for holding potatoes. We don't eat them often, but when we do, we now have a clean accessible location to keep them so they don't get forgotten or squished. 

What a change! It is so nice to open the pantry and not instantly feel anxious! I can see everything, reach everything, and I know where everything is--it's lovely. If you haven't given your pantry a make-over--do it. It seriously has made making meals so much easier. And I'm sure it was have a positive effect on my grocery trip planning as well!

I still have some ideas I did not have time to complete this week. I'd like to make labels for the green bins and the drawers as well as labels on the grain containers with simple directions on how to cook them. For example, 1 cup water for every 2 cups quinoa (or something like that). 

I'd also love to get either an over-the-door contraption or broom hooks to go on the pantry door to hold our broom, mop and dust pan. I may also try to find a way to put up a small cork board to hold a grocery list I can update when I am running out of something. But  all of those things can wait for another week!

Next, I must think about the next challenge! Week #4 is coming up!

A Bowl Full of Lemons
A special thanks to A Bowl Full of Lemons for such a great challenge! We are really enjoying the inspiration and motivation to get our apartment in order. Once we complete the challenge we can focus less on the mess and more on decorating projects!

Visit A Bowl Full of Lemons to join the challenge or to see what other bloggers are doing for the Home Organization 101 14 Week series (here).

Thank you for reading! I'll be posting before photos of our home office in a few days, so stay tuned!

How have you organized your pantry? Any tricks or tips?

Have a great week everyone!

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