Pantry Makeover

 
Earlier this week, I posted on my cabinet pantry.  You can read about it HERE.

This week, let’s concentrate on making over our pantries, regardless of whether they are in a closet or within cabinets.

If you do have a closet pantry, you can also read HERE about how I organized my friends pantry last year.  It is pictured below.

Kitchen Organization

1. The first step to organizing the pantry is to get everything out of the pantry.  Yes, everything.  This will allow you to think fresh about new ways of storing your items.

2.  Secondly, create 4 piles.  One pile for expired (trash) items, another pile for unopened items that can be donated (like the 4 cans of cranberry sauce that you buy as a backup just in case your recipe for the fresh one fails), a pile of daily used items, and lastly, a pile of rarely used items.

3.  Clean your shelves and allow them to dry before placing items back inside.

4.  Look for baskets or containers around the house that you can use to unite like-items.  Below, I have a picture of one of my bins that holds asian condiments.

5.  Finally, re-stock your pantry.

PANTRY Organization

A pretty label never hurts.  If you decide to containerize items by type, add a label.

PANTRY Organization

Turntables are great because everything is viewable with a simple turn.  There are different sizes, so be sure to take measurements before purchasing.

In the picture below, I have a large one towards the back and a smaller one right in front.  This way I still have space to place the boys’ cereal beside the turntable.

Pantry Organization

Stackable bins are great to put towards the back of deep cabinet with large items such as canning jars.  I purchased these at Target.

Canning can take up a lot of room and you don’t do it everyday so it doesn’t need to be center stage.

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Once you place them in the back of the cabinet, you can label the front of the cabinet so that you don’t forget that you have 20 cute mason jars waiting for fresh salsa!

PANTRY Organization

You can now place items that are used more frequently towards the front.

OXO Containers are my favorite for dry storage.  The containers holding the green snacks are from a brand called Sistema.

 

Pantry Organization

As you are re-stocking your pantry, create zones whenever possible.  Maybe you can have a baking zone, a breakfast zone, and a snack zone.

I have my baking station right on top of my refrigerator.  You can read about it HERE.

Baking Organization

I hope these ideas are helpful and can help you custom-organize your pantry to fit your space and lifestyle.

And don’t worry about keeping extra cans of cranberry sauce.  Fresh cranberry sauce always turns out and sometimes people don’t even touch it!  😉

Happy organizing!

Maria

 

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Kitchen Organizing – Before and After Photos

This is not my kitchen.  Unless I am sleeping and dreaming.  In that case, this is my kitchen.

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I have missed you all this week and I wanted to share what I have been up to.  A friend of mine recently moved into the home of her dreams (and everyone else’s dream for that matter) and she quickly unpacked like we all do.  She was yearning for some real organization in the home to make her life easier.  The home is beautifully decorated and completely uncluttered but she never got around to fixing the drawers, cabinets and pantry.  She has three little kids…you understand.

She recruited me for the job.  I concentrate on the blog but since my passion is organizing I decided it was a good opportunity for me to do what I love while taking pictures to later share with you…my fellow order seekers!

Don’t you love a good “before and after”?  I used to record the show Hoarders and I would completely fast forward through the middle just to see the after photos.  All the drama is in the middle and that stresses me out.  No matter how bad you think your house looks, you feel like a domestic goddess after watching the show.  Am I right?

Well this home is nothing like Hoarders, its more like a home featured on Better Homes and Garden.  It just needed a couple of baskets and some turntables and the results follow.

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The pantry is HUGE and from this picture you can’t even see the side shelves or the drawers on either side.  My friend is blessed.  Yes she is.

We emptied the pantry and made the kitchen look really bad before making it look really good.  We discarded anything that had expired and set aside items that they didn’t like or use.

I created stations for everything so that she could quickly find what she needed.  The items that were kid related I placed at the very bottom and without lids so the kids could easily access snacks and juice boxes.  The kids love cereal and they all have their favorite so we purchased matching cereal containers.  They serve a dual purpose since the cereal stays fresh and it looks so much better.  Here is the after {music please!}

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Many of the OXO containers pictured above she already had but wasn’t using them.  You can find the containers {here} in the amazon store and sometimes you can get lucky and find them at Homegoods and Marshalls.  OXO containers are awesome but undoubtedly expensive so if you can’t go out and purchase them, any other matching container will do.  If you don’t have matching containers you can make them look cohesive by adding the same label to all of them.  In this case we used chalkboard labels and the label maker (which at this point I wear around my neck).

They have a ton of nutritional smoothie ingredients so we purchased a very large turntable to make it easy to find what they need.  If you have the cabinet space to put such a large turntable (which I don’t), you can find it {here}.  Here is the before and after:

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I did the same thing for the oil and vinegar but in much smaller turntables.

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The sodas, the kids juices and snacks are at the very bottom where they can easily access them.  I purchased my favorite Target baskets for this.  I also wear them around my neck.

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Lunch Snacks:

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There were already built-in drawers in the pantry but I added some small baskets to corral items such as bars and packets.  All the small white baskets are from the big red circle as well (I get tired of writing the “T” word).

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I placed the cans in tiered shelves and by the end of the project, even the paper towel looked decorative!

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Here are a couple more shots of other areas in the kitchen that we tackled.  I forgot the before shot of the other drawer.

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After.  This is the first time I use this drawer organizer kit. L-O-V-E-D it!  I added it to the Amazon store and I am ordering one for myself.  You can find it {here} or possibly at a The Container Store (perhaps even Bed Bath and Beyond?).  I don’t recommend it for every drawer if you have a lot of utensils (like me) but I like having one drawer in which items are perfectly organized and accessible.

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Then we organized under the sink.  We took everything out, cleaned the cabinet and placed a pretty liner before placing any items back.

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On one side I placed a baking rack to hold all the cutting boards upright.  On the other side a cleaning caddy with essentials.  In the center dishwashing items.

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Then the spices:

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Using a tiered shelf and two turntables gave everything a home.  If you don’t do this you will end up with 5 bottles of pumpkin pie spice because you will buy one every year around thanksgiving when you can’t find it.  Here is the after:

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I will continue working on her home and I will keep posting pictures to keep you all updated on the progress.

When your pantry is organized you will find that so many things are easier.  It is easier to grocery shop because at-a-glance you can see what you are missing.  It is easier to put the groceries away because everything has it’s place.  It is easier to cook when you are not rummaging around trying to find an ingredient.  Mostly, it is visually pleasing to open a cabinet that looks so nice.  Organizing is definitely work but very gratifying.

Thank you for being patient with me this week and if anyone needs pumpkin pie spice, I have 4 bottles that I can part with!

Let me know what is the next project you are going to tackle.

Until next time,

Maria

Pantry Organization – Rice Storage

The rice that I purchase comes in these cute little plastic containers.  I love the look.  The problem is that I buy different kinds of rice so I stack the containers and they end up falling out of the pantry.  I keep the rice in the highest cabinet in my kitchen and I need the items up there to be sturdy so that I can grab them with no problem.  I am 5’3″ on a really perfect and sunny day.  As a solution to my problem, I decided to move the rice into these “Lock-and-Lock” containers that I had purchased years ago and was no longer using.

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I can make white rice without a recipe but brown rice for example has a different recipe to follow.  Have you noticed that based on the brand of brown rice they will give you different cooking times?  I usually use the same brand and I printed these small labels (that I made on Microsoft Word) and typed the suggested recipe.  I placed it on the outside of the container using double stick tape.  If you have the patience you can laminate the label before sticking it on the container and that will make it water-resistant.  I love and admire patient people.  I really do.

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I did the same for quinoa.  I could do a whole post on how much I love quinoa.

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I used the rest of the matching containers to put arborio rice, cracker meal and polenta.  As you can see on the very side of the cabinet there is a label that says “oatmeal”.  I did that to remind myself that there is a large container of oatmeal behind the rice.  Only do this for items that don’t get used weekly.  They can be stored in the very back of these deep cabinets and the label will remind you that it’s there.  Otherwise, you will buy an item that you already have and you end up with enough granola to feed the church!

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That’s it!  Another quick, easy project to make your life easier!  You like?

Happy Organizing!

Maria