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!