Thursday, February 19, 2009

Organizing the Pantry

Does anything feel better than an organized pantry? Okay, some things... but an organized pantry is high on my list. Here are a few tips & pics from my recent organizing adventure. And what an adventure it was. Let's just say that the pantry had gotten a little... full.

And the trash can isn't even in there!

The most frustrating thing about organizing a pantry? All the expired food that you've forgotten about. The next most frustrating thing? When you have boxes that are 3/4 empty!

But that's all part of the organizing process. I grabbed my trusty organizing tote (yes, I have a tote dedicated to helping me stay organized. I use one of those plastic totes with a handle and have 3 old "camping" mugs inside it to help the organizing tote, well, stay organized. You can't have an unorganized Organizational Tote, now can you? The mugs are plastic and therefore lightweight. Inside the tote I have have labels, lots and lots of 'em. Hanger thingy-ma-jigs from Post-it. Velcro ties, twist ties, pens, markers, tape, and ziplock baggies (in two sizes). Oh, and post its and my label maker... which seem to have crawled out of the tote in this pic: I grabbed my tote and got to work. I tossed out at least a dozen boxes. For that half bag of croutons I simply ripped the top off the box, folded the bag down several times and then put the box top over the folds and used a clothspin or two to hold everything shut. These bundles (yes, there were more than just croutons!) were then placed in a plastic basket, labels facing out! Ahh, organized as last.

But wait... what about that half empty box of rice that has no bag... and no hope of staying fresh without some help? Suction containers to the rescue.

I simply cut the back of the box off and taped it to the container. (Great package design, btw. i was able to cut the type and cooking instructions all at one time and it fit perfectly.)

Now...if I could just see everything in the back. It's not that I'm short, it's just that too many items are the same height and I only have one of those two shelf can organizer things. So until I can get more, I recycled the empty boxes. Yeah, remember the twelve from the trashcan? I also grabbed my stash of grocery bags. We keep these around for scooping kitty poo. So the empty box turned into this:

I taped it shut. And then it went to boost the back row:

See it there below the oatmeal, raw sugar packets and kosher salt? Another thing that I did was lay all unopened boxes on their side, label out. See them laying there on the left? That way I can see at a glance what is open and needs to be used and what is those two boxes of cake mix. *sigh*

The next level down is items we use most often...cans, oils, vinegars, etc.

I use those slim plastic tray/boxes to keep smaller like items together. This makes it super easy to grab items from the front of the shelf and see what's going on in the back.

Now you see them, now you don't:

On the next shelf down we have a plastic tub for snacks, breads, and chips. There's also a container for pasta.

On the shelf below that, oh boy, all my baking supplies. I organized those after the holiday baking frenzy.

And on the floor I have a cute basket for onions and potatoes.

So... now I need to take pictures of the back of the door, where I keep all my spices, but here's the after picture. A little tidier I think. It feels tidier!

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