Mission: Pantry Organization
One of the disadvantages of living in an old house is a lack of closet space. Lucky for me, a previous owner did some rearranging and found room in our first floor hallway for a pantry. Bless their heart. Unfortunately, it’s not actually in the kitchen so when I’m putting away armfuls of stuff after making dinner I tend to just toss it onto the shelves so I can make as few trips as possible. Then I have groceries to put away and that stuff just gets shoved onto other shelves and before long I have fourteen cans of chicken broth because I didn’t see the ones behind the nine kinds of vinegar (<—– not an exaggeration. I use a lot of vinegar).
Also, I have pantry months. If you don’t have those in your part of the country, just count your blessings and enjoy not having to wrap up your pasta in Ziplock bags. So while I cleaned and de-mothed and threw out canned pineapple that was supposed to be used by June 2007 I decided to reorganize.
I put a plain old shoe organizer over the door and filled it with anything that fit. Now I can see if I have taco seasoning or cocoa powder without digging through my shelves.
I put the stuff I use the most right at eye level and the stuff I only need once in a while high and low.
I painted the left wall with chalkboard paint (oh how I love chalkboard paint!) and attached chalk to a string so I can keep a running list of stuff as I use it up.
I reorganized items by how often I need stuff – that middle shelf is things I use almost ever night for dinner. Because I put so much on the door I now have enough room to see what I have and stock up on things we use most often, like tomato sauce and couscous. I added the stripes to make things fancy – I’ve been looking at too many Martha Stewart pantries on Pinterest. The stripes reminded me of an old fashioned grocer.
I used $1 baskets and bins to sort things that go together – cookie decorating stuff, tea, seasonings, herbs and spices, my emergency candy (labeled: emergency candy).
I used two $1 shower caddies for onions and potatoes. They’re on hooks so I can take them off the wall and rinse them out when I inevitably forget about a potato and it ends up molding.
I put all my flours and sugars into sealed containers to keep the months out. I splurged and bought large, wide mouthed ones at Target because I HATE trying to pour dry ingredients instead of scooping them with my measuring cups. They were the only part of this whole project that wasn’t either free (I already owned the paint, brushes and tape) or $1 (the baskets and smaller plastic containers).
See that top shelf? That’s apple, peach, strawberry and cherry jam plus sour cherries for pies all homegrown and hand-canned by my mother-in-law. Are you jealous yet? Come over and I’ll make you a pie – after I force you to admire my pantry in person. Yeah, I might be just a little too proud of FINALLY getting this mess cleaned up.