Real Organizing: The Pantry
My Pinterest Pantry is beautiful. It has matching clear storage containers, double doors that open wide and it is even painted white on the inside with a beautiful wallpapered back.
My Reality Pantry is the exact opposite. It is disproportionately deep and wide, the door doesn’t open wide enough, and the shelving layout is awkward. Oh, and it is coated with faux-wood contact paper.
Our other hurdle is that we are renting.
My inspiration started with some white wire baskets, and the goal was to keep our dry goods organized and visible. I started my storage bin hunt at Walmart and scored two boxes of various sized containers with sealed lids. I also scoured Target (over-budget for this project) and Cost Plus World Market (no plastic containers, but I did find some glass jars with gasket lids).
With all my containers washed and ready to use, the first thing I did was clear off the top three shelves and wipe down the pantry. This is a good practice to get in to every six months or so. Despite food being sealed, crumbs still find their way in! A damp rag will work fine. Taking everything out also allowed me to check the expiration dates on our lesser-used items.
Our small baking supplies, herbs and spices and small miscellaneous items all went in to the three wire bins. The baking bin is quite full, but when I am baking I pull the entire basket out and set it on the counter so I can have everything I need at my fingertips.
We buy our herbs in bulk to save money and then transfer the contents into empty spice jars. We do not need to get into the big packages very often, so I was less concerned about easy access. For spice jar storage we purchased a spice rack with pullout shelves. This really helps us to see what we have on hand, while keeping a handle on the clutter.
The middle shelf is where most of the dry food is stored. When we buy pastas, rice, and other grains they are immediately poured in to glass jars. Using clear containers not only looks nice, it allows me to view our food inventory with just a glance. Due to the deep shelf, I find it best to push the containers to the perimeter, in a U-shape. The free space in the middle is where I store our breads and other baked goods.
Our daughter’s bottles, medicines, and mesh-feeders are all stored together in a plastic bin. Eventually we will also store her utensils and sippys in the same bin. Keeping “like with like” keeps this mama sane and helps daddy know where everything is stored.
The ‘floor’ of the pantry is home to chips, flour and sugar, a few heavy miscellaneous bulk goods. Our canned goods rotate between storage in the garage and the pantry door.
Even if you don’t have the pantry of your dreams, taking the time to organize and evaluate your pantry space can make you feel so much more in control of your kitchen space.