One of the hazards of being on crutches for six weeks is that the simple tasks you normally do on a daily basis just don’t happen. Oddly enough it’s taken me a while to recognize what some of these tasks were. In fact, I didn’t even notice my pantry was out of control until I bought a package of brown sugar and discovered we already had three unopened bags in the pantry. So I spent two days reorganizing our pantry and wow, what a huge improvement.
As you can see below, our pantry was a complete disaster. I knew it needed a complete overhaul. And yes, this is real life. I don’t mind sharing these photos because this is what happens. To all of us!
There are a lot of issues with having an unorganized pantry. The first is obvious, and that is over buying because you have no idea what you have in your pantry when you can’t find anything. Like eight bags of rice, as you can see below. Oh, my goodness. (As much as I would like to blame my husband for this because he did the grocery shopping for eight weeks, this is all my fault.
So here is what you need to do to organize your pantry.
1. Empty out everything. Try to group everything together by food type.
And don’t panic when you find four jars of peanut butter. (In my defense, I make four batches of peanut butter fudge for our Christmas party, so these were all recently purchased.)
2. Wipe down and clean the entire pantry. It probably needs it.
3. Go through every food item and check the expiration dates. This surprised me as I thought everything was current. I was wrong, but I won’t share the details.
4. Decide on a seal tight system for your dry goods. As long as you can keep track of expiration dates, you may want to do something stylish like these fun jars I bought and labeled with my Silhouette machine. (I replace a lot of my dry goods at Christmas if I suspect they have been around for a while.) I will write another blog post showing exactly how you can make these canisters, even if you don’t have a Silhouette machine.
I love the size and shape of these jars and the labeling is fun too!
5. Next, you need to figure out an organized system and decide where to put everything. This, of course, will be based on what is typically stored in your pantry. I decided to store all of our baking items on the left side of the pantry and all of the other foods on the right side. I obviously have way too many bottles of olive oil and vinegar. I receive a ton of hostess gifts every year and olive oil and balsamic vinegar are by far the most popular. I need to start making salad dressing every night and experiment with some of these flavored oils and bottles of vinegar.
You can see I put oils and vinegar on the top shelf, dried goods on the middle shelf and baking items on the bottom shelf.
On the other side of the pantry, I put canned goods on top, everything else in the middle and packaged goods on the bottom. And before you ask about the gazillion boxes of Wheat Chex cereal, my husband loves Wheat Chex and our grocery store stopped carrying it. So I buy it in bulk and at a discount. It’s the little things that make my husband happy!
That’s about it. I love how it looks now. And as nice as it looks with the doors closed, I probably need to stop walking by and opening the doors just to grab a peek! Silly me.