You know when an area of your home is starting to drive you crazy… that it's time to do something about it!
Our kitchen pantry had gotten a bit out of control. It was overstuffed, there were items in there that we hadn't used in almost a year, there were things being stored in there that could probably be housed elsewhere, and it was getting to the point that I was buying items I already owned because I couldn't find them in this pantry! So I took on decluttering and organizing my pantry last week. I only spent 2 hours on this project, and I didn't buy a single thing to help me turn it into this:
You can easily do this too. Here's how to organize your pantry:
1. Do Not Empty The Whole Thing!
Many organizing experts tell you the best way to clean out a closet/cabinet/pantry is to empty the entire thing, clean it and then start fresh. I say that emptying an entire pantry onto your kitchen table is the quickest way to generate a phone call from the school saying that you need to pick up a sick child…. which then leads to an entire week of your family eating off of plates on the family room floor because you don't have time to get back to your project until this cold bug has passed along to everyone! Just don't do it!
Instead focus on one shelf or even one section of the pantry at a time!
2. As You Remove Items Make a Decision About Them:
A. Is this item a keeper? Then put it into a sorted group of similar items on your table.
B. Is this something that no one is eating or has expired? We all buy new things to try that the kids then decide they don't like. There is no sense keeping that stuff around to just age endlessly in your pantry! Get rid of it! If it is still in a sealed container and hasn't reached it's expiration date, then donate it. If it's past it's expiration date- then trash it. Sure you might be annoyed that you wasted your money- but don't also have it take up valuable space in your pantry!
C. Should this be stored somewhere else? I actually had some fairly empty shelves in a cabinet in our family room that could hold some of the non-food items (such as the ice cream maker, snow cone machine, jello pop molds) that we rarely use and get them out of this pantry. Does it seem a little odd to store these things with wine glasses in another cabinet? Maybe. But that cabinet has doors that sta closed and hide everything… so who cares?
3. Clean the Shelves and Return Items in an Organized Way
I drool over those beautifully organized pantries that you see online….
*courtesy of BHG.com
where everything is stored in labeled match-matchy glass containers. But seriously? When I get home from the grocery store, the last thing I want to do is to start ripping open the 27 boxes of pasta I purchased (because they were on sale for 49 cents!) and start pouring them into the pretty glass jars. It's just too much work to maintain!
But one change I did make to my pantry was that I took some plastic bins that I already owned, and used them to corral together similar items. I have 4 white bins that each hold either dried fruit, nuts, or snack items. In the red bin I am storing bags of granola. In the clear bin I store beverage mixes. Storing these items in these bins helps me to pack more into a smaller space, plus it makes it super easy for the kids to find the snack they want because they can just pull out the whole bin and see what's inside.
4. Create Dedicated Areas by Category of Item
Each section of the pantry should have a purpose. I've set up my pantry to have certain areas dedicated to specific types of items. This makes it soooo much easier to find something when you are looking for it!
Want to See My Pantry in Action?
So what do you think? Are you ready to tackle your pantry in only two hours using items you already own to help you to organize it?