Happy Monday, friends. I’m like a yo-yo of emotion today…I’m riding high on my deliciously organized pantry, but had the heart-wrenching task of dropping my son at Summer Camp yesterday. I know he’s having the time of his life, but it’s hard trusting other people to keep him safe. I’ll just have to soothe myself by crawling in my newly organized pantry!
It wasn’t the worst organized space in my house, but it certainly wasn’t functional for a busy family.
You can see evidence of
poor past attempts to better utilize the cabinet, with a few containers and bins. But with the deep shelves, I never knew what was lurking in the back, and more often than not, boxes of snacks and crackers turned up empty when I needed them. I think it’s in husband kid DNA to not throw away empty packages. My pantry also became the dumping ground for party and cleaning supplies, platters and bake ware. No bueno.
The first step (after gathering inspiration and consulting the Mother Ship), was to hit up Target, Ikea and Container Store for an assortment of organizing bins. I like to have a bunch of options, and return the items that don’t work out. Second, was to completely empty the contents of the pantry, and group them with like items. Oh yes, it gets waaaay worse before it gets better.
I couldn’t believe all the random stuff lurking in the corners. Why I had seven cans of corn, when we don’t even eat canned veggies, is beyond me!!? But it’s no wonder my grocery bill had gotten out of control…I never knew what I had in stock, so was constantly buying more. Once I had a clean, empty space, I was able to assess what needed to go back in. And marvel at how much room it actually offered!
My inner-DIY wanted to paint or stencil the interior walls, but with my Kitchen and Breakfast Room in shambles (and my family cowering in the corners from my borderline-manic episode), I decided to just paint the trim piece as an accent. I chose green because it’s the sample I grabbed first from my stash.
After assessing our family’s needs, and being realistic about what we’d keep up with, I decided to only use Ikea’s food containers for the items we tend to buy bulk…oats, sugars, flour, trail mix etc. A leftover shelf from the garage gives them a steady base. I would love to put everything in clear containers, but really…I knew my transferring cereal would last about a week. If I want this space to stay organized long-term, I have to be honest.
I tried several bins, but these from Ikea are my favorite. Not only do they fit perfectly on my shelves, but they are deep and slide out easily. (Oh geez, TWSS) I’ve obviously created a
future-blogger monster, because my son said, ‘You’re going to label them, right mom?!’ Duh, honey!
I didn’t want anything permanent, since I’m sure the categories will change, and these bins will have another purpose some day, so I taped colorful gift tags to the front, and added basic labels from my computer. I can easily slap a new label over the top, or remove it completely.
Instead of packets of rice hiding in the back or slipping through the slats in the shelf, I can easily pull out the bins to check my inventory or find what I need. And since the bins aren’t overly large, it keeps me from buying extras. Hopefully my grocery bill will go down since now I’m only buying what we need.
And instead of countless half-empty snack boxes taking up an entire shelf, their contents easily fit in one bin. The kids can peek inside and choose what they want.
I tried putting the canned and bottled goods in a bin, but it was too heavy, and I could still only see the tops. This Container Store Expandable Organizer puts everything on display and gives me the flexibility to adjust the size. Don’t get me started on the Cream of Celery soup, I sent Mr. Sugarplum for Cream of Chicken and that’s what he came home with. Who eats Cream of Celery?! It sits waiting for a Canned Food Drive.
The platters and cookware were moved to other locations, but I wanted to keep party supplies like straws, napkins, plates, etc. in one spot, so they are corralled in a wire basket and tub from Target on the bottom shelf. My reusable shopping bags are folded together in a single, smaller bag, making it easy to grab the whole thing when heading to the store.
A clear plastic shoe bin holds the napkins together, while straws and cutlery stay put in mason jars. Other smaller items, like cookie cutters and treat bags, are kept tidy in Ziploc bags.
The small wire Ikea baskets take advantage of the sliver of wall space on each side, and are perfect for keeping little packets that tend to get lost and overlooked.
Again, having a small container for plastic grocery bags keeps me from starting a
hoard collection of them.
The pantry doors were already lined with cork, so I just cleaned them up. One side holds restaurant coupons and places we want to try out.
And the other holds favorite snapshots.
It’s not an ideal place for it, but our Recycle bucket lives here, too. I didn’t want it sitting out, and if it’s anywhere but in the Kitchen, we won’t use it. Mr. Sugarplum cuted it up for me. Quite the artiste, isn’t he? Oh, and the white tubs on the fourth shelf are from Target…they are wider (and cheaper at $2 each), so perfect for larger items. The non-labeled bucket is for back-ups and extras.
You’re in snooper’s paradise right now, aren’t you (ahem, Megan). Oh yes, definitely some skeletons in this closet. But it sure is purty!
Let’s see just how far this little cabinet came in a day….
Is it weird I love this cabinet as much as a room makeover (as proven by this picture overload)?! I open the doors Vanna-White-style for everyone that comes by. My mom even took pictures of it! And with all the colorful packaging, I’m glad I kept the walls and containers white. It may just be a pantry, but it can still have style, yo! I’m no longer fun at hide-and-seek, because I can always be found crouched in here.
Ikea Wall Wire Baskets — already owned, $2/each