Hello all! Hope you had a great weekend! I was sick the whole time with all kinds of crud. All kinds of fun. It's that functioning sick -- sore throat, cough, cold. You know? When you should be resting but you feel just good enough to feel guilty about doing that? I was a little productive -- in spurts. :)
I am a force to be reckoned with lately -- I have been purging and cleaning and organizing like mad. Back to school is the second "new year" for me anymore. I have this deep desire to nest and make things super functional and streamlined in preparation for the school year.
I do this every year now and I love the feeling. I just wish I had more hours in the day because I've been working on it for a couple weeks now. The biggest project of late was our pantry -- it was in desperate need of a cleaning. It had been way too long.
When I started I remembered why I hate doing this -- I feel like the worst person on EARTH when I clean out our fridge or pantry. Does anyone else feel like this? If you are super on top of things you may not get it, but if I let it go too long and have to throw out food I hate how that feels.
It makes me feel all sorts of horrible. I've actually taken on a on a different approach to our food in the past few years and it helps -- I started planning out our meals (more than usual at least) and then buying specifically for those so the pantry is never overflowing. I got away from that and now it's time to get back.
Here's the reorganized pantry:
Last time I shared our pantry I got a lot of comments from people wondering where the food is. ;) One, the pantry goes back behind a bit on both sides, I'll show you that in a minute. Two, we go out to eat often. With our schedules it's easiest many nights. Third, there's only three of us and I've determined over the years that we don't need a ridiculous amount of food piled up. It's actually something I struggled with, for real. I think because of how I grew up I always felt like I needed to have food stockpiled "just in case" -- in case of what I'm not sure. (Being prepared for emergencies is a whole other topic.)
So I used to fill our pantry, we would waste food, I would feel like an awful person, repeat. I stopped doing that a few years ago and it works so much better for us. (Like I said, I did let it get out of control this summer.)
I know the trend in pantry organization is to put everything in containers, and a few years ago I got a little carried away with that. I found we were wasting food because I wasn't keeping track of when things expired. So I've gone back to keeping most things in their original packaging. I do keep a few (baking items and snacks especially) in containers (these are my favorite -- I got mine at Walmart).
I found the simplest little stickers to help with that at IKEA last weekend:
Brilliant!! I labeled the containers we do have with one:
It would be easy enough to just put a homemade label on the containers -- I just didn't do it till now. It helps that these are cute. ;)
Because I'm pulling down a few kitchen cabinets soon, I've been finding new spots for things that were in them. I think it's going to work out perfectly, and I was able to put the spices from a cabinet in the pantry too:
I also use a few baskets -- a big one on the bottom for chips and crackers, one for tea and hot chocolate and this one holds random small stuff:
Those tall containers hold food for lunches -- they are helpful when packing them every morning. :) I have a few of those little shelves you see as well -- I think I got those at the Container Store? They make it so I can access things easier than if I had just stacked them up.
Last time I reorganized I started using a shelf for serving bowls, but I found a new spot for those. I was able to take advantage of that extra space and move some small appliances from a cabinet. We don't use these super often so it's going to be great to use the cabinet for things we use every day.
My husband cleaned out the fridge while I worked on the pantry and when he was done I put a basket in there with items for the Bub's lunches:
I used to use this basket idea for my own healthy snacks and I need to get back to that. This is to help make lunch making more efficient for me in the mornings -- hopefully it will help. This way I can just grab items and put them in lunch box throughout the week. I'll let you know if it helps!
I've made our pantry it's own little statement in our kitchen -- I love function but love to make things look good too. Years ago I replaced the solid door with a glass door from Home Depot, then I put a super cheap privacy film on the panes and we added rope lights around the door frame inside:
I also replaced the wire shelving a few years ago with regular shelves and I LOVE them.
What looks like a tiny pantry actually packs a big punch and holds quite a bit! We do keep some foods elsewhere -- the appliance garage usually has bread in it as well (next to the toaster) and baking items like sugar and flour are in containers on the counter for easy access.
Of course now I'm determined to keep it up. Usually around December things go a little crazy again, and then in the new year I get organized…again. Wouldn't it be something to keep it up ALL YEAR? One can dream.
At least it looks pretty from the outside no matter what the inside holds:
Ha! I'll always have that. ;) (To see more about those hanging utensils, go here.)
Do you have any pantry organization tricks that you've found to be helpful? Do you use lots of containers? Do you feel like a horrible person when you clean out your pantry?
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