Pantry Update

It’s been two months since I reorganized my pantry so I thought I’d share a “real world” report of how it worked out.  I’m pleased to say that it has been more successful than even I thought it would!  It’s just that I usually get very excited about a project but maintaining it is a whole different matter.

For this one, the whole family bought in immediately.  I think that was key.  I also put the things the children were allowed to access at their level.  Another key point.  The big bins for cereal and open snacks have been great for those occasions when they don’t reseal the bag as well as I’d like.  And they keep everything together where they should be.  Win!

Here is a picture of what it looks like these days. Image

As you can tell, my bin for the lunchboxes hasn’t worked out well.  They still end up on the floor of the pantry.  I think it’s because the bin isn’t big enough to hold them all well.  Either I need to purge, store extras elsewhere or get a bigger bin for that.  We also started buying disposable to-go coffee cups recently because I’m notorious for losing the $10 per mug kind.  Now I have to figure out where to store them.  However, everything else about the system has been very successful.

I hope it helps you reorganize your pantry!


Pantry Re-Org

I’ve been rather unsatisfied with my pantry lately.  See Exhibit A, B, C, and D below.  It has been in a big ‘ole state of confusion for awhile now.  Yet, I haven’t taken the time to reorganize it.  I wasn’t exactly sure where to begin or how to do it.  Enter Pinterest.  Don’t you just love Pinterest?  I do.  It is my on-line cork board for every fabulous idea I see on a blog that brings me inspiration.  Most often, when I find these fantastic ideas, I’m not in a position to act on them immediately.  Then later, when I’m ready to show the idea to my husband, or follow through on the idea for myself, I can’t find it.  Pinterest solves that problem for me.  In addition to seeing several people use containers to organize their pantry on blogs and Pinterest, I came across the idea in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  So, I ripped it out and taped it to my pantry shelf where it’s been hanging for at least a month.

Here are my before shots of my pantry –

Look at that floor!  I couldn’t even close the doors.  How ridiculous.  But I wanted you to see the real deal.

About two weeks ago, I took measurements of my shelves (height and depth) and went to my local Walmart searching for options.  I bought one Sterilite container that I thought would work along with two mini bins.  Total cost was less than $10.  Probably closer to $7.  I brought them home to see what I might make of them.  I decided to purchase five more of the big Sterilite containers and that I was satisfied with my two mini bins.  This past weekend, I finally had time to go back to Walmart where I discovered another size/style of bin that I hadn’t seen before.  I bought two of those along with the 5 original big bins I’d planned to buy.  Total cost for the second trip – less than $35.  Grand total of my pantry re-org is less than $50.  Everything else you see, I already had on hand from other areas where they were no longer required.  All are easily purchased and if bought new would still bring your re-org budget in under $100.

I pulled everything out, wiped down the shelves, mopped the floor and started stacking things back in.  Mostly like-with-like in bins that fit.  I know there are some women out there who know how to use pretty baskets and lovely printable labels.  I just wanted neat, labeled and easy to clean.  This is what I ended up with.

On the floor you see my two large food grade containers that hold my 25lb bags of white rice and white sugar in each.  In the center is my bread machine where I can access it easily.  Hopefully easy access will translate into more homemade bread (which I love).  You can’t see it in the picture above, but I used one of the Sterilite big bins to store all our Easy Lunchboxes bags along with any other lunch carriers I own.

In the picture above, you can see the clear bin that I found on the second trip to Walmart.  Next to it is one mini bin with handle that I found on my first trip.  It holds the dog’s treats.  Above it, you can see a purple bin that I found in Target’s dollar spot at least two or three years ago.  I like the idea of these bins because they prevent things from being lost at the back of the pantry.

My big Sterilite bins are organized by baking items, pasta/beans, open snack bags, disposable utensils, cups, paper plates and napkins, and the final bin contains open cereal bags.  When we buy boxed cereal, we just take the bag out of the box, clip it and stash it in this bin.  This allows a small variety in breakfast but not allow the children access to every box of cereal in the house.  Believe me, they wouldn’t think twice about having them all open at the same time.  This just allows me to manage the cereal consumption a little better.

On the shelves above, it may not appear to have rhyme or reason to you.  However, I let height and visibility dictate where I put things along with stashing things I didn’t want my children to access without permission.  I like the fact that everything is pretty easily accessible and there is still room for me to go grocery shopping for the few items I need to make complete meals come together.

I hope this inspires you to take some time to think through your pantry and make sure it’s working for you.  I’ll update the blog if I find that this is not working for me and how I intend to fix it.  But for this week, I love it!



Clean up – Week 1

It was week one of 31 days to clean at my house. I did not do what the challenge suggested, however I did clean out my family room. I know that organizers and planners have good reasons for wanting you to start in the kitchen but I needed to start in a room that I could clean and might have a chance at staying clean. That’s the family room for me. My problem with starting a seasonal deep clean with the kitchen is that I’m never ahead of the game because the kitchen never stays clean. I could spend all my spare time in my kitchen every day and it would need attention again about 2 hours later.

So, I’m not exactly following the 31 days to clean format but I am motivated for my own Spring Clean. So much so, I was talking with a friend on Wednesday night and we have a bit of a challenge going between us. We will compare trash and donation piles each week to see whose is bigger. It helps to know that although I personally feel like I should be more accomplished at this simple domestic challenge, I’m not alone in finding it difficult to maintain a tidy home.

The friendly challenge came about when I told her that with all the turmoil from weather our country has had lately, I began to think about what it might be like to have a tornado go through this house. That led me to think of my stuff a little bit differently. My standard for my purge this month is this – as I hold each item I will ask myself “would I ever miss it if my house was destroyed?” and if it’s not a sentimental item, “would I replace it if my house was destroyed and I was starting over?” Hopefully these two questions and a little personal honesty will help me have some clarity on the stuff that is piling up around here.

A minor success? Last night a dear neighbor stopped by after my husband posted that he had made us margaritas for Cinco de Mayo. Although my house is a mess, at least we could sit in the tidy family room and enjoy a neighborly chat and a drink. Perhaps I’m not hopeless after all!

I hope you are finding success at your house!


31 Days to Clean

I have a confession. I’m a disaster of a homemaker. My house is rarely clean. If a room is clean, it’s usually only one room. I’ve tried FlyLady – too many emails. I’ve tried purging – suddenly everything is a treasure. I’ve tried other various “techniques” to try to keep a tidy home. So far, nothing has “stuck”.

I do think it’s important. I want my husband to have a comfortable place to rest. I want my children to have a good example of what a house should look like. I know it can be done because I have a friend named Rosaria who does it. I’ve been to her house on a regular basis and it’s always tidy and welcoming. I don’t need my house to be the Ritz, but I do want it to be tidy and welcoming like Rosaria’s house. My mother has a tidy house and gave me that calm growing up. Clearly this is not a hereditary trait. I wish it were.

Just this morning I stumbled on something new. It’s 31 days to clean. I don’t really know what it is yet but I think I’m going to give it a go. I can do anything for 31 days, right? It’s $5 for the ebook or pdf. I can afford $5, right?

I could very well be setting myself up to fail. Again. However, if it would possibly serve one other mom who needs it too, I’m willing to fail in front of you. Again.

Are you curious too? You can find out more here.

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean