Sunday, February 24, 2013

Organizing the Pantry

Our new house came with twice as much pantry space as our old house, and four times that of our apartment. Unfortunately, this was translating into 2-4x the mess of it's pantry ancestors.

To start the process, I took everything out of the pantry and put it on the countertops (and floors).

I don't typically have multiples of the same product on hand, so in order to maintain a sustainable system I decided to sort everything into broad categories. Here is the final product!

Each shelf is divided in halves. Here are the categories I used, from left to right and top to bottom: 
  1. Re-usables: dishrack, shopping bags, water bottles 
  2. Disposables: paper towels, plates, cups, little paper bags. I plan to use up and NOT replace all of these disposable items, but we don't go through paper products very quickly and right now we have these lingering extras. In the right corner, I also have a stack of things in boxes I don't use very much, such as an electric knife, apple peeler/corer/slicer, kitchenaid attachments, and a frosting piper.
  3. Breakfast: cereal and smoothies

4. Snacks: Chips, cookies, crackers, pretzels, nuts, granola bars. Shelf almost empty ... as ususal.

5. Bread and Pasta: mmm carbs. Tortillas go here too.

6. Wet things: Oil, syrup, vinegar, canned goods, honey, molasses, peanut butter, barbeque sauce. I feel like I am playing outburst ... "wet things in the pantry." I am stumped trying to think of a better category name.

7. Baking: ingredients and cookie cutters. This side of the shelf has everything from shortenening and chocolate chips to cornstarch and coconut.

8. Canisters: I use these for white and whole wheat flour, oatmeal, sugar, powdered and brown sugar, quinoa, brown and white rice, and cornmeal.

9. Bulk items: storage of pantry staples that don't in canisters.

10. Cleaning supplies: I have way too many of these. We got married 2.5 years ago, and our church had a shower for us where we got a lot of cleaning supplies. I think I have enough windex to last at least 5 more years. The left half of this picture is all products I'm hoarding storing, (dusting spray, countertop spray, Bona floor system, dishsoap, toilet cleaner, windex).  The right side is products that I'm using, stored in that blue plastic caddy that I take from room to room when I clean.

It's been a few weeks since I organized the pantry, and I'm really pleased with how it has held up. I think this success is due to the flexibility of "the plan" so that new items are easily incorporated.

Any other pantry organizers out there? Windex hoarders? Is your snack shelf chronically depleted?

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