You know those things on your to do list that never get done but constantly nag at you like a pesky mosquito on a hot summer day?
Yeah. That was my pantry. I say “was” because thankfully I have finally organized it.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on 5 things I was going to do to start the year off clutter-free. I was inspired to take these actions after reading an amazing ebook called The Clutter Trap. Clutter for me makes me crazy (sorta like that pesky mosquito on a hot summer day…eek. I really dislike those little insects). Crazy makes me unfocused. Unfocused makes me feel stagnant and eventually my emotional and mental health go down the drain. I feel trapped, suffocated, and caged.
Dramatic? Yes, that’s how I roll. How I really feel? Absolutely!
Any way, in that particular post, one of the things I was going to take care of was my horrid pantry. I had plans to organize it but the piles kept growing bigger and bigger and became more and more unorganized. Before I knew it, I had a mess that I was dreading every day.
You know how that goes, right?
My kitchen is pretty small so organizing the pantry is an absolute necessity. I have 3 drawers — two of which are miniature drawers — and have little cabinet space. For a mama who loves to cook and has a slight obsession with food and kitchen tools, well, a small kitchen can be a little cumbersome.
So, last week I bit the bullet, put a show on for Andrew and took the bull by it’s horns. Amazingly, it took maybe an hour and a half (?). At one point I did feel that overwhelming, “oh my gosh I have so much stuff around me and I don’t know how to organize it” emotion but I took a deep breath and kept pushing forward.
Warning: These photos are of low quality because I have ZERO natural light in my hallway and have only one light making the process of taking photos of my pantry organization extremely crappy.
A few life saving items that really helped aid in my pantry organization–
- small, flattened boxes
- shallow and narrow boxes
- plastic bins with drawers
- 6 quart Sterilite bins
- random baskets I’ve collected
- blank labels
- recycled glass jars
I think stackable matching tupperware like this would work well too if you didn’t mind investing in them. You could put dry goods in it like pasta, sugars, spices, etc in them. Having the option to stack them is nice especially if you have tall cabinets so you can utilize the most of the space.
Small Flattened Boxes
My pantry has the closet organization with wired shelves which makes it really irritating for semi-anal people like me to place jars, appliances and little bags on. I can’t stand how uneven it is!
I found an old, small amazon prime box (thank you Amazon!), flattened it and used it as my base so when I set things on there, everything was straight and not wobbly. Because of this, I was able to bring in my KitchenAid mixer and crockpot in from the garage and place it happily on the non-wobbly surface next to my food processor.
Yes, I could breathe a little easier after that. 😉
Plastic Bin with Drawers & Recycled Glass Jars
I have two plastic bin/drawer unit type things (I know, so technical right?) and was totally not using them to their full potential– I just sort of sloppily threw things in there. Since I buy many spices in bulk, I have lots of recycled jars filled with spices and loose bags rubber band shut. I decided to organize my food pantry by putting all my loose herbs and spices in one drawer. Then I got inspired to do the same for my flour and so forth.
This is how I organized all six drawers–
- Flour, sugar, gluten-free flours
- Herbs and spices
- Blog props
- Zip lock bags (all sizes), parchment paper, aluminum foil
- Freezer paper and jumbo zip lock bags plus
- Oats, oats and more oats… oh and excess einkorn flour and cous cous
I placed a couple random baskets that I have collected this past year in the drawers as well to help keep the jars from sliding all over the place. To my amazement, all the bins actually fit in the drawers and worked surprisingly well.
I hope you get a random stroke of luck like I did when you try but if not, you can find random baskets like this at a discount store like TJ Maxx, Ross or even a thrift store.
6 Qt Sterilite Bins
Prior to my organization, I randomly placed spices, baking supplies and other food items in there. Lo and behold, I wasn’t using the space to the fullest potential so I reassessed what I had after I had organized the plastic bins with drawers.
In the four sterilite bins I placed–
- small miscellaneous kitchen tools that did not fit in the kitchen
- koosies and bag clips
- elderberries, epsom salt and my non-GMO seeds for the garden
Shallow, Narrow Boxes
You know how I said I can’t stand the wobbliness of the wire shelving? Well, I took two shallow and narrow boxes I had laying around and cut the top flaps off, essentially making them into cardboard bins. In these I placed my pastas, jars and canned goods. I don’t have many canned goods except for the box of coconut milk I just bought off of Amazon.
Good organization is not complete without labeling all your things so everyone in the household can easily access them without asking you a million times (cough *husbands* cough cough) where a certain product is.
I just used blank labels that I had laying around but if you really wanted to get fancy, you could use those professional label makers. Since we are on a tight budget, the blank labels I had to manually write on had to do.
If you don’t have labels, you could even take white printer paper, write on them and then tape them onto the jar/bin.
Labeling the tops of the glass jar lids really helps visually pick what I need without having to lift every jar up to see what the contents are.
How I Feel Now…
I’ll admit, once I completed the task successfully, I stood there and admired the work and took a nice deep breath. Then, for the first few (okay, more like 10) times I walked by, I’d look and admire it as well.
So proud of myself.
I even organized the garage and now I get such a sense of relief when I walk out there and can actually walk through without feeling like I was in a mini episode of hoarders.
Experience More Peace in Your Life
If you are needing a little “oomph” to get more organized and less cluttered in any aspect of your life I absolutely recommend The Clutter Trap ebook. Learning to let go of the unnecessary and simplify is one of the most gratifying things you could do and it brings such an immense amount of peace to your mind-body-spirit.
I love the fact that she outlines really easy action steps you can take the moment you read the book. You are left feeling empowered and ready to tackle whatever clutter you’ve got hanging around. It is NOT a boring read and it is certainly easy to understand.
You can snag your copy by clicking here.