Friday, January 25, 2013

Organizing: The Kitchen Pantry

For many years now, it has been my goal to reorganize every room in the house. Now that hubby and I just bought our first house during the Summer of 2012, and I know we won’t be moving anywhere anytime soon, I have finally put my goal in action. It is a slow process, but someday I will get the whole house organized.

We certainly aren't hoarders in our household. Clutter? Maybe a tad. Messes? Definitely a few, but who doesn't have a few of those? In fact, I’m a neat freak. I like order. I like a clean house. I like simplicity. I like practical. I like things picked up and in there place before bed. All dishes need to be in the dishwasher. The kids’ rooms need to be picked up before they go off to bed. Anyway I can make the household run more efficiently, all the better for us.

Since our kitchen is a very central place in our house, and I do a lot of cooking, lunch making, cleaning, meal planning, homework, and projects, the kitchen area needs to be systematic. Our evenings are short and the quicker I am able to get dinner on the table, the better. But in order for me to get dinner on the table, I need to have a kitchen that runs smoothly and items in its proper place. Thus, I started with our pantry.

Our pantry was getting out of sorts. We tried to keep categories like pasta, rice, breads, and cereal together in an area on a shelf, but eventually things were ending up on different shelves. I knew we had mayo, and found it located on three different shelves. My stack of canned soups was becoming just a pile of metal with labels, I didn't know what I had anymore.

So, here are the BEFORE pictures of our pantry:

Game on!

I preferred clear plastic bins and with handles.  In case of food spillage it is easier to clean. I kept my options open while looking in different stores for storage bins and what could work, yet still trying to keep the cost down as much as possible. I loved these plastic weaved bins at Target but the price was way more than I wanted to spend, especially when I needed about 20 bins!

Finally, my last store, I found them at Walmart. Each bin was under $5. They were clear plastic, a good variety of sizes, and even had green handles, just the color I was hoping for. I bought what I needed and couldn't wait to get home and start filling up each bin.

I created my own labels for each bin. I printed them on white card stock, and cut each label to size.

Then put the sheet through the laminator.

Instead of using a gooey glue, or sticky tape, or some other icky adhesive to adhere the labels to the bins, I used sticky Velcro tabs. Genius right? (I love it when my brain works!). As food habits change, I’m sure at some point these food labels will change too. Using the Velcro tabs makes for such a clean and easy switch. You can even reuse the sticky Velcro tabs too, just rip them off the back of the old label and stick them on the new one.

Now here are the AFTER pictures of our pantry:

Together, the BEFORE and AFTER pictures.

Happy organizing!!

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