Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pantry Organization- A Work in Progress

Let me preface this post by saying, "I am no expert, nor do I claim to organize to the best of my ability."  In fact, this whole stay at home thing is a work in progress for me.  Someday, I may be closer to getting it right, but we "ain't there yet" folks!  That being said, I am super excited about the progress being made in our household to organize.

With the help of my cousin, the Organizing GURU of Kentucky (she may get me for that one), I have made huge leaps in this process.  Over a year ago, I came home from the hospital with lots of ideas to fulfil.  One was to get things organized.  The pantry was a rough shape.  Especially after being MIA for 2 months.  Thankfully the expired items had been tossed in my absence, but the holes left only added to my instincts to get the space sorted out.

The first thing to accomplish was to completely empty the whole shebang (another Guru tip).  I trashed the items I had not used in years, didn't want, and didn't know I had...  Yes, I know... shameful.  Then, I mapped out a plan of what it should look like.  

My first purchase was from Target.  I found wire shelving on sale. The short, three level kind fit perfectly in the spot left below my installed wire shelving.  

Next, I found the canvas Walmart Bins at the top.  They are perfect for storing categorized items.  I use them for dry pasta, pasta meals (such as hamburger helper, etc.), rice and soup mixes, and baking mixes.  On a side note, since they were purchased and labeled I've gotten a printer and a Cricut.  New labels are in the works!
Below the canvas bins are my canned items.  I don't like to keep too many canned items.  In a perfect world, this shelf would be filled with my canned vegetables from the garden. I'm getting closer, but am not there yet!

On to the OXO shelf, my favorite shelf.  I found a set of the POP containers at Sam's and about had a moment when I saw the price.  After getting over the initial sticker shock I rationalized the price by comparing it to the individual pieces overall cost if  purchased at TJ Maxx.  It was a deal, so I bit the bullet and bought them.  And am I ever glad I did.  I smile every time I need something from one of these handy dandy containers.  With a little help from my Cricut, I even made my first project, labels for the POP Containers.  Like I said, it makes cooking even more of a joy.

Below my happy shelf, I have my three tiered shelves from Target.  The one on the left, is a Little Man friendly zone.  Snacks that are handy for his height.  I have storage for his drinks that have not yet made it to the fridge, a special treat bin (for extra good behavior), a breakfast bar and healthy snack bin, and a LM exclusive snack bin.  In between the red bins, (purchased for $1 each at the dollar store) I have goldfish crackers in another container, and some emptied and cleaned creamer containers.  They work great for a snack on the go of goldfish cracker or nuts, which are also located in this area.  Below the bins I have a spare garden basket filled with melamine plates and cups for LM.  They are handy when friends come over, so we haven't packed them away quite yet. 

On the right side I keep bread, chips, my dutch oven, tortilla shells, and pizza crusts, and extra disposable cookware/ bake ware for "meals to be delivered" without the need to have the dish returned.  Potatoes and onions are on the bottom, as well as extra snap containers.  Someday, I'd like to get a root vegetable bin like my grandmother had in her kitchen.  The kind that are wooden and say Taters on the top preferably.  I'm such a nerd. 

At the very top, I store my slow cookers, canner, pressure cooker, and rarely used items.

As I type this, my mind is racing with ideas to improve upon this most recent version of the pantry.  Alas, it is spring, the garden needs some love, our preschool program is in gear, and sometimes we just need to be silly and play outside.  It may be a while before improvements are made again.  I'll enjoy what is done so far.  After all, it is a HUGE improvement over what was here 1.5 years ago.

What are you doing to tame your mess this spring?  Please share and let me know!!  I love inspiration. 

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