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Getting started on the next problem
OK. That first drawer refresh didn’t kill me or drive the rest of the family crazy, so I thought that it might be good to move on to the next problem area. My pantry!
As you can see above, the pantry is in the white door to the left of the refrigerator. It looks like it might be a good size, but this angle is deceiving.
Here it is in actual size
Each shelf is made of lovely coated wire. Everything falls through and it is hard to keep things from tipping over. We made it work for us, however, overtime, it became clear that it wasn’t working for how our family was growing, what we were using the pantry for etc.
So it was time to take measurements and decide what to do. Each shelf was 12 inches deep by just under 24 inches wide. We were able to go to our local home improvement store and find pre-finished shelves in those sizes. It made it very easy to swap them out!
It wasn’t just about the shelves
Those were a big problem, but it really was the fact that we weren’t using the space efficiently. So in addition to swapping out the shelves, I also looked into purchasing organizers and took a look at what we had in the pantry and moved things around.
Really, I had cook books in there. All of my recipes are on the Paprika App (more on that later), or online. So those could go. Also, the plastic storage bags, the plastic forks and spoons etc.
I also had WAAAAY too many plastic utensils.
So I started the pantry the same way we did everything else. We took out all the food items, cookbooks and storage bags and then took a good look at the space. We purchased the shelves, painted the pantry (it had been over 15 years) and then put the shelves back in. Now it was time to put things back.
Organizing the cabinet
There are so many items available to help organize your cabinets and other spaces. How do you choose? I wasn’t even sure where to begin.
Many people swear by the dollar tree items and there are pros and cons- Pros- very inexpensive, cons- my store doesn’t have a lot of variety or the items I see others use. They also don’t necessarily look great. So off to Amazon.com I went.
Want to feel overwhelmed, search for cabinet organizers and then get ready to search! I had specific sizes, because my cabinets were so shallow and I wanted to have the flexibility of having multiple items per shelf.
So here are the items that I ended up getting:
- Motion lights for the shelves (not necessary but makes it easier to see in the cabinet)
- mDesign plastic food storage
- mDesign plastic bin with front handle
- mDesign plastic food packet organizer
- mDesign Can Organizer
Putting it all back
That is a bit of a fib, I am not putting it all back. In fact I moved things around. The flour sugar and other baking supplies are now closer to the stove and the mixing area and are in their own containers. The cookbooks have been moved into my office on a book shelf, they are still available, but not taking up important storage. The storage bags have found a new home near the sink so that I can put away leftovers quickly.
I have even started pouring the cereal and chips/snacks into their own dispensers to keep it standardized and take the variability of the boxes out of the equation. Some were so tall, they wouldn’t fit! I found that the Progressive Pro Keeper line has great storage, with a lid that is attached, and a seal to help keep items fresh. They have different sizes including a large cereal and standard size to accommodate your cabinet or the amount of cereal.
Once everything was clean and repackaged it was time to put it back!
On the top shelf are the bins with the handles. It makes them easier to take out from up high. I keep the items that we don’t use very often up there, the spaghetti and other pasta, bread boxed rice. The second shelf has the quick grab snacks. Granola and protein bars and other dessert items. These are in the food packet organizer. The next shelf are the smaller cereal containers with the chips, pretzels etc. The cans are on the third shelf down, and below that the cereal. The kids always find that so no reason to keep it in view. Not seen in the picture is the floor. We keep our extra sodas, water and other drinks that don’t fit into the refrigerator there.
What have I learned
It is so much easier once it is cleaned and organized to see what you have. For many years we had bought into the idea of buy big so you don’t have to shop as often. We have decided against that for a few reasons:
- I don’t have enough room to store everything
- The kids ended up not liking things halfway through the big bag of whatever it was.
- Think about how much money is tied up when you buy those big packages. It is called opportunity cost. With the money I spent on all of that extra food that I wasn’t using right away, I had less money to spend on other things that I might need.
I have also learned that when things are organized I want to keep it clean. It is so much easier to keep it up. When we get the groceries home, I open up the cereal and put it in the containers, I take the chips out of the bags and put them into containers. They don’t get crunched and you can see what you have.
I did a lot of looking at Pinterest boards and online to try and find something that would work for me, in my house, with my family. I think we did a pretty good job. It is always a work in progress as we have different storage needs depending on the food that we have.
What ideas do you think you will try at your house? What is the item that you have the hardest time finding a place for? Comment below and let me know how you managed to get your pantry organized!