I’m super excited to be contributing at Gluesticks today. When Brandy sent out a message saying she was looking for posts about organizing, I knew I had to jump on board.
This was just the motivation that I needed to finally organize my pantry. As you can see, it was a complete mess. (Yes, that bag of marshmallows is open and yes, they were completely dried out).
I made a few rules for myself before I began to help me stay on a budget.
1. Only throw away things that were expired
1. Out with the old: The easiest way to start is by cleaning out out any expired food. Who among us doesn’t have an old box of oatmeal or a half eaten box of stale crackers in their pantry? Once all the expired/spoiled food is gone, you can start to decide how you are going to organize.
2. Establish zones: I started with the top shelf and worked my way down. If you have small children, you may want to reserve the top shelf for things that shouldn’t be in their reach such as the bag of sugar or flour. I used the top shelf for the things we rarely use.
3. Downsize bulky boxes: You can see in the “before” picture that I had boxes and boxes of crystal light drink mix, tea bags, and hot chocolate. I emptied all those boxes into a cute little basket that I got for $1 from the Dollar Tree. Doesn’t that look so much better than a bunch of half empty boxes? The tub of hot chocolate mix is hidden behind the basket until winter.
As I began organizing, baskets quickly became my best friend. I already had this basket and I would love 10 more just like it. This one now holds all those pouches or dry mixes and instant rice that were just laying on the shelf.
4. Make most used items visible: If there is one thing I learned from this project, it’s that I should stop buying noodles every time I go to the grocery store. I’m really bad at buying what I need for a meal without consulting my pantry to see what I already have. This is mostly because my pantry was in such a disarray and it was hard to find anything. Now that I can see everything, hopefully that problem will be solved!
I combined all my partial boxes of pasta into these beautiful glass containers that I picked up from the clearance aisle at T.J. Maxx for $4 each. ($9 total if you’re still counting).
If you look closely at the top basket, you can see that it is actually hanging from the shelf above. I bought a hanging planter (also from the Dollar Tree) and put a napkin in the bottom so nothing would fall through. I emptied all the boxes of granola bars and breakfast bars into the basket and ended up saving a ton of room. (More pasta in the bottom basket)
On the last shelf, I organized my canned foods into bins based on the contents. Since there is really no getting around having ugly cans in my cabinet, the least I could do was dress them up a little by separating them into bins. (Notice more pasta on the left) I even had room on the floor to make a feeding area for our dogs!
5. Don’t forget about the door! Your pantry door offers additional space for storing small items. I added this adorable wire rack ($7.99 at Ross) to the door to hold smaller items like extra condiments. You could also use something like this for spices too, unfortunately, my pantry is on the wrong side of the kitchen to hold my spices.
When it was all said and done, I did go a over my budget by a five dollars but I have to admit, the extra $5 was well spent and will probably save me from buying groceries that I already have in my cabinet now that I can see everything!