if you read my 2011 organization projects list, then you will recognize this BEFORE photo:
[pantry BEFORE, with edward :) ]
there is no rhyme or reason - everything is just thrown in there. we used to keep all our food in one of those corner cabinets with the lazy susan shelves. bad idea. we kept forgetting we had items & losing them back in the corner where we can't reach them.
before thanksgiving, i moved all the food items to the pantry, which previously housed all my serving dishes, vases, candles, etc. [which have now been moved to the built-in cabinets in the living/dining room].
ready for the AFTER?!?!
[pantry AFTER, still with edward, now in coordinating apron!]
i thought i'd break it down for you in case you have a pantry that needs organizing, too.
1. clear out pantry
[empty, dirty pantry]
[really gross 46 year old shelves]
[my pantry items & extra stuff on my table]
2. organize items by category
[salsas & canned items] [pastas, rices, & sauces]
[chocolate chips & nuts] [extra nuts & dried fruit]
this is also a good time to see why it's so important to have an organized pantry - look at all these duplicates! in the top left picture, you will see seven jars of peach salsa that have seven accompanying spice packets to make the most amazing layered nacho dip. shaun & i loooove this stuff, but it's been in the back of that round-about cabinet, & we couldn't see it to crave it! [our cousins - okay, really aunt nancy - give us two of these every year for christmas, for which we are deeply grateful, but we haven't been taking advantage of it - so sad.]
i also have three boxes of the same flavored couscous, three open containers of brown rice, three open bags of chocolate chips [plus unopened bags], five cans of chickpeas [that's a bit much, even for us chickpea lovers], & two boxes of coarse, kosher salt! [the bottom right picture also shows multiples of the same thing - pepitas [shelled pumpkin seeds] - but that's on purpose because i stock up when in north carolina.]
3. clean & freshen up the pantry
i did a thorough deep cleaning of the pantry, including an intensive scrubbing of the floor because there was something nasty sticky down there... i decided while i was at it, i should paint the dingy white walls, & i chose the leftover green paint from the office.
[the painted pantry]
it's not the best paint job i've ever done, but you don't notice so much with everything back in there. shaun was sweet enough to paint several fresh coats of white paint [also leftover & therefore free!] onto the shelves.
[pantry ready for reloading]
ahhh! it already looks tons better!
4. choose organizational aids
it took me a while to settle on still using my double-decker wire bin for veggies & then purchasing the rest new. i really like oxo containers for their modular quality & the fabulous sealed lids. they can be pricey, so i use them sparingly. i decided they were just right for my pasta collection because of all the sizes they come in & because they're clear. fortunately, i found them at meijer for $2 off each! i also bought the three baskets while i was there - i have a slight [matching] basket fetish...
the surprising element of my organization was repurposing the old coke crate. i bought it for $7 at a local thrift/consignment store over a year ago, planning to hang it on the wall to display cookie cutters & knic-knacs, but the compartments are too small. so, i decided to repurpose it for its original purpose!
5. load everything back in
[the top shelf: bulk/extra items]
i put baskets up on top with rarely needed extra items. everything in the baskets has an opened twin out in our cabinets or fridge. the baskets keep everything corralled & make it easier to get things down for this shorty!
[condiment basket + applesauce]
[salad & relish basket]
my pantry has these "wings" on either side of the door frame that aren't visible from straight on & are more difficult to access, so i put even more rarely used items in the wings.
[the right wing of the top shelf]
notice the old stains that seeped through the multiple coats of white paint... oh well. i'm too short to see it!
[second shelf: canned goods]
i organized the canned goods by item, with only that item in a row so that i can always see what i have. those seven jars of salsa & packets of seasoning are on the right wing of this cabinet. we don't eat it on a regular basis, but i can still seeee it!
[third shelf: pastas, rices, grains, & sauces]
[pastas & rices] [gnocchi, couscous, sauce, & stock]
aren't my oxo containers so nice?! i put the rices in the left wing because we don't eat that nearly as often as pasta. i ended up also incorporating this shelf extender from my old organization, too. and in the right wing, there is enough room for six boxes of stock [a major staple in my kitchen].
[fourth shelf: juice/soda, fresh produce]
there is nothing in the wings of this shelf because in the summer we'll move the soda & onion/potato basket over & use the middle to store all our fresh garden produce! [the juice & sparkling water is what i use to make my own soda, lower calorie!]
we enjoy keeping different kinds of sodas in bottles around, mainly for when other people visit. we also "import" cheerwine [a cherry soda] & blenheim [a spicy hot ginger ale] from north carolina, as you can see on the wings. i love getting to use the coke crate & the pop of color it gives!
well, there you have it!
i'm looking forward to adding labels [can anyone say colored vinyl?!], an errands list board on the inside of the door, & a chalkboard menu on the the front of the door. so stay tuned!