Well friends, after a brief respite, I’m back with our final organization post. The dreaded pantry. In all transparency here, my own photos show that even I, the proudest of organizers, do not have a perfectly organized pantry. I mean, for the majority of us, this is the single most utilized space in our homes. It is the closet whose doors open and close the most frequently, and the one that is used by the most people. It is IMPOSSIBLE to keep this place perfect. Oy. I am sweating already from being sure it wasn’t too jacked up to share in photos (I kid, I kid. Sort of.)
Before you see the pictures, here are a few things I think of when it comes to my personal system:
- How often do you shop for groceries? This will determine what type of organization system you use. We shop every week, but buy bulk paper products. For us, that means I need storage for small quantities of things like canned goods, cereals, lunch supplies, and baking goods. But I need large storage space for things like paper towels and toilet paper.
- What types of groceries do you always have on-hand? I keep dry cereal for kids’ breakfasts, granola bars, fruit snacks, and lunchbox supplies, and canned beans and tomato sauce for dinners. I also buy herbs in bulk to make tea, so I need space to store those as well.
- What items should be readily accessible? I keep flour, sugar, and my loose tea in canisters on the countertop, so those don’t have to be front and center in my pantry. But spices for cooking, peanut butter for sandwiches, and baby food need to be right where I can find them (and also where I can see that they’re running out). I also want easy snacks available for my little people, so I need a space for raisins, gummy snacks, and granola bars.
- Does your pantry serve any other purpose? For us, our pantry also needs to house our garbage can and recycling bin. So those things need to be where they won’t come into contact with our food, but are also accessible enough for little hands to help with clean-up.
Alright, with that being said, check out what I’ve got going on!
See a pattern here? I really like containment. On the top shelf you see big storage bags of mixed herbal tea. This is AMAZING stuff that the hubs makes me on the regular. And it’s much more affordable to buy the herbs in bulk and mix them ahead of time. It also makes it easy for me to give a bag to a friend in need of some of those lovely herbal benefits.
A few other things I like to keep in containers: dry cereal (so I can see how much is left), kids snacks (so I don’t find empty boxes left in the pantry), and baby food. I literally just bring those babies through the checkout in their boxes from the store. It beats the heck out of trying to make them stand up on their own, and lets me store stuff (like oatmeal cereal) behind them.
You’ll also see my little turnaround full of vitamins. That is a fabulous reminder to take my vitamins or fish oils or whatevers either with my coffee in the morning, or with dinner at night. Bonus.
For canned goods, I like to use a little stacking shelf. I think this shelf was meant for spices, but I like it for cans nonetheless. I also can put boxed broth beside it, along with little snacks for the kids lunches.
The big ones here are my spices and oils. I keep oils with oils and spices with spices. There’s not really a reason for this, except that I am OCD and have a serious proclivity for keeping like items with like.
Up top I keep my baking supplies, since I don’t use them too often, and like I said earlier, I keep flour and sugar on the counter in canisters. At the bottom, in that yellow bucket, I keep tortillas and tortilla chips. We do tacos or burritos or taquitos every week, so naturally I like the chips to be at the ready whenever I reach for the tortillas.
See how I don’t have cute and clever chalk board labels, or a whole bunch of fancy-schmancy glass containers? (That’s right. The first picture is NOT from my house.) A long time ago, as I stood in line at Target buying wooden hangers, someone said “are you spending a bunch of money on something no one will see? Because that’s what it looks like.” And at first, I cursed at that person in my mind for being such a judgy jerkface with no manners. And then I realized that person was a genius in disguise, saving me from a lifetime of bad spending habits brought on by too much Pinterest. I pretended to go and get more wooden hangers, but really, I put them back and bought a bunch of $3 plastic ones. I’ve never looked back. When people come over, the pantry is not included on the grand tour. I want it to be neat and accessible, but it doesn’t have to feature museum-quality food displays. Ultimately, it just has to work.
You were probably expecting something a little more exciting than that, yeah? Well you’re in luck! Because later this week, I’ll be revealing my bucket list for the next year, along with a little peak at my hot-mama Valentine’s gift for the hubs (and also to myself) that checks off one of those bucket-list items. Stay tuned!