Now blogging at THIS SIMPLE HOME.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pantry Organization

When we built our home three years ago, we tweaked the original floor plans for a few things, including two things that I knew I wanted: laundry on the second floor and a pantry.  (Oh, I really wanted a mud room.  REALLY.  And I still do. However, the price tag was one that was not logical to me.  Some things can't be a priority...even if highly desired and practical.)

My pantry is tiny, but I am thankful for it.  Up until recently, it was also a wreck, though I cleaned it out about once a month.  A couple weeks before the baby was due, I realized that a baby sitter would never find anything in that pantry because my dear husband always has to ask where something is or have me find it.

The solution...labels.  (Maybe not what you think.)  I did not go out and purchase lovely plastic bins to keep all my dry goods looking neat and organized, though that would be nice.
Instead, I just figured out exactly what should be on each shelf, and created labels to make sure that I knew where things should go, and hoped that my husband would use them, too.  Here's how.
  • I emptied all of the pantry shelves.  Maybe I should say that first I cleaned off my island and table so that I could empty the pantry.
  • Then I made a pile of items that were duplicates or so rarely used that they could be stored in the basement.   I also decided that the few baking items that were in the pantry should be moved to my baking cupbard.  Only sensible, huh?
  • I also checked the expiration date on some items that I knew I had not used in ages.  It was a good idea since something was a couple years past expiration.  Please take note that they expired after our move.  I did not relocate expired foods.
  • As I put items on the shelves, I grouped them together by what made sense to me, I used masking tape and Sharpies to make temporary labels.
  • I used the temporary labels for a couple of days in case I wanted to make adjustments.
Then I made my labels and attached them to the wire shelving.

The picture below may not look like an "after" picture, but it is.  Trust me.  It is organized!
Simple, right?
(Well, except that shameful pile of snacks!)
Wondering if it's been successful?  How about this?  On just day two or three, he asked where an item should go.  (It was a packet...not so obvious.)  I love it, and it has continued to work for over a month now!

It may not look all neat and tidy, but it is organized.

Did you notice that there was no "before" picture?  Well, I didn't touch the floor of the pantry.  It looks awful, because it is.  Proof?
Let's see.  Cereal.  Empty egg carton (to take to the farm to purchase more).  Brown plastic lids for kid painting.  Bread maker.  Two tubes-one for parchment paper and the other is a mat for kid crafts.  Random reusable bags.  Plastic shopping bag.  Cut cereal box for kid crafts.  And other unknown items.  Shameful.

Did you like the look of the labels?
They came from Just Something I Made, and she has other colors, too!  
I printed them on tan cardstock for a neutral look in my kitchen, but they could be used for countless things.  Love them.  And I didn't even laminate them!

I finally figured out that keeping some of our frequently used workbooks and coloring books lying horizontally on the bottom shelf was taking up precious space, but I didn't want them to be moved to the bookcase.  In the pantry, M and E know they can pull out a book and their crayon/marker box.  My solution was a magazine holder.  (This was also about the same time that I decided to recycle ALL of my old magazines.)

Now, can someone please help me figure out how to keep baby bottles organized?  They just can't be tidy!


Ticia said...

My Mom moved when I was in college and she moved expired things, it was rather hilarious. Of course she had our church youth group helping her pack at the time........

"FAITH" said...

Great idea Annette, I love it. Now I just need the Time to do it : )

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