This isn't the first time I've tried to organize my pantry. It's something I seem to do at least once or twice a year. I pull everything out, wipe down the shelves, discard out-dated food staples, and then, put everything back in, nice and neat.
But for whatever reason, I can't seem to keep it organized. Within a few weeks, it always ends up looking like this again.
And each time I go through the process, I find it becomes increasingly frustrating. But, just last week, I read this pantry organizing post from my girlfriend Laura Orgjunkie, and something clicked for me.
I don't know why I hadn't thought of this before.
I mean, I did, sort of. I'd used one large, rectangular basket to hold my baking supplies but, that was it. It never dawned on me to use baskets to house the other items in my pantry.
So, with a firm determination to get my pantry organized (for good this time!) and with Laura's before and after makeover inspiration forefront on my brain, I went to work organizing my own.
Laura suggests getting started by removing everything from the space you are organizing. So, that's what I did. I removed everything.
She also suggests that we not panic.
I didn't panic. (Well, maybe I did, but only a little.)
Then, I wiped out the shelves and began the process of placing everything back inside in an organized fashion.
When Laura was working on her sister's pantry project, she opted to use baskets and containers that she already owned. I thought it was quite likely that I'd have suitable, un-used baskets and containers stashed somewhere in my house so, I decided that I would try to do the same. I love being able to reuse items already in my home for two reasons.
1. It saves money. And seriously, who doesn't like to save money?
2. I'm working toward living a less "consumeristic" lifestyle. Reusing and re-purposing items that I already own is a great way to support that.
So, with a "re-use mentality" I took a stroll through my house and discovered that I did indeed, already have the perfect storage solutions. First, I found a second, identical basket to the one I was already using for my baking supplies. I'd had it stuffed in a spare room closet with junk inside it. I decided that it would be perfect for keeping chips and rice cakes neatly stored on the top shelf, I also sourced these vintage, wire swimming baskets that weren't being used ideally. I thought they would be perfect to house loose snack items and individual packages of noodles and pasta.
These work so fabulously because not only do they contain like items, their wire construction allows me and my family to see exactly what's inside them for easy, visual perusal.
I find it easier to look through my cans and jars if they are loose, so I just arranged like items together. I'm perfectly happy with this bottom shelf the way it is.
And in the bottom half of my pantry, I ended up raising the middle shelf just high enough so that I could get all of my Tupperware containers in the bottom section.
It was a really simple adjustment but it made such a difference in the space.
I'd already had some dry goods stored in glass jars and containers but I emptied a few more packages into additional jars, and recycled the packaging.
I love reusing assorted jars to store pasta, beans and grains. It keeps food longer and fresher, and stays much neater inside the pantry. Plus, I think it looks so lovely!
I'm really pleased with how this pantry came together. And to top it all off, this morning, as I sat here writing this post, my daughter sauntered into the kitchen and opened the pantry looking for the peanut putter.
"Wow!" she gasped! "This looks so nicely organized, mom! Good job!"
Not bad, if I do say so myself.