Some of you were probably confused yesterday by the strange pantry post. In my rush to sneak in some blogging time during E's nap, I accidentally clicked the publish button and sent a very raw and completely unfinished post your way. Much apologies, everyone!
So yesterday I was reading Jen's post from IHeartOrganizing about organized pantries. My own pantry had undergone many changes as well, and I thought I'd share some of my tips of what worked best with you.
Mine isn't the biggest or the deepest, but that's actually what I like about it. It keeps me from over-buying and having items lost and forgotten. (By the way, I love my "Enjoy" plaque that I found at Marshalls for $5! It reminds me to enjoy the Lord as my real nourishment everyday!)
The first thing to do when tackling any kind of organization project is to clear everything out and start with a clean slate. This will prevent you from just shifting things around and ending up with pretty much what frustrated you in the first place. I then sorted my items and came up with 3 main categories: snacks, dry goods, and mixes + sauces. Since we have a little one who has a sweet tooth and is extremely curious, I decided to put all our snacks on the top shelf. Yes, I admit, we have enough snacks to fill up an entire shelf ;). Some are healthy, I promise! We also have our teas and hot cocoa mixes up there.
Another tip is to use clear containers for storage. They make it easier for you to spot your items and look more uniform than a random stash of packages. Before I would keep them in their original packaging and seal them with clips. Not only did my dry goods get stale easily, the packages took up a lot of space and sometimes I ended up forgetting that they're even there. To avoid spending a fortune on buying clear containers, I simply reused all my glass jars from juices, teas, and sauces.
Clear labels are also important in organizing and identifying your items. They do not need to be fancy; the simpler the better.
To show expiration dates, small labels with scotch tape can be attached to make it easier to change out.
You can see them being used below to hold my baking items.
So to review:
- Start with a clean slate.
- Reuse clear jars and containers to have easy visual of what you have.
- Label items clearly.
- Re-use boxes to add additional storage and shelving.
- Everything should be within reach and easy to access.
- Do a monthly inspection of your pantry and throw away any items that are expired.
- Organization should NOT be costly. Reuse things around your home (ie. jars, cardboard boxes, fruit cartons, etc.)
Like Courtney, I also plan my meals weekly to avoid over-stocking the pantry. This way I buy fresh food that I will actually cook, rather than wasting my time and money on my usual random spur-of-the-moment trips to the grocery store. I also had less of the "Ahhh, what am I going to cook tonight?!" freak out that usually came around 2 p.m. everyday ;).
Thinking about organizing your pantry? Or have you already recently tackled it yourself? If so, I'd love to hear from you! :)