Organizing the pantry

Organizing the pantry

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This post is a follow up to Operation: Declutteration, that is actually the brain-child of Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog. I am excited to share that two evenings ago, Bradley and I made tangible progress on organizing our chaotic pantry. (I wish I had the good sense to take before and after photos, but I did not.)

First a little explanation. The house we are currently renting is lacking in proper storage space and the closet we are using as a pantry was originally a small coat closet. Somewhere between when the house was built and we began renting, it was kind of transformed into a small pantry. There are three wood shelves but above the top shelf was a lot of wasted space and the whole bottom half was a mess with bags and items thrown in haphazardly.

Last summer, I bought some white plastic bins from Dollar Tree and began using them to group like-items. For example, all of my gluten-free pasta go in one bin. All the bags of dried rice, beans, etc. go in another. Bradley’s snacks go in another. You get the idea. At the beginning of the school year, we found bought two locker shelves from Target to put on the top shelf so we could reclaim that wasted vertical space. We now put items that we do not use often way up there. (I actually cannot reach the shelves!)

So that brings me to two evenings ago. We bought a 3-Tiered black metal shelving unit. (We bought ours from Target but this is a similar piece from Amazon.) I love this style of shelving unit as they are very versatile and are pretty cost effective. We had bought one for our “garage” (aka the laundry closet that we are using as storage as we do not have a washer or dryer) quite awhile ago and it has made a huge difference. The best part is that they are very fast and easy to assemble.

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Bradley was kind enough to pull everything out of the bottom of the pantry, and I then sorted it all. I could not believe the amount of paper bags we had kept nor the wide assortment of paper plates, cups, and plasticware we did not even know we had. I ended up recycling quite a bit of the unnecessary items and then used small plastic bins with lids (one was from Dollar Tree and the other from Wal-mart) to group like-items: all paper plates and bowls went in one bin and all plasticware in another. I will call these “party items” since we only use them when either we go for a picnic or we host a get-together at our house. I found all of our “missing” re-usable bags and folded them so they would take up less space. I put our camping set (plates, bowls, mugs, plasticware) in a re-usable bag.

The shelving unit fits into the pantry sideways and allows for a little bit of floor space to the side for bigger items like coolers. On the bottom shelf I put the camping set and some of our extra party items. The middle shelf had extra food containers for road trips and the rest of our party items. The top of the shelving unit is temporarily housing extra paper products (napkins, paper towels, etc.).

I need to re-arrange the food on the wood shelves above. I want to move the frequently used items to the lowest shelf and the rest higher. Also, the original metal accordion door was driving both Bradley and I crazy. It would not always close flush nor was it easy to open at times, jumping off the track. One day Bradley just took it off and now our pantry is visible to anyone who walks into our house. I would like to get a small tension rod and hang one of the beautiful brown curtains we are also using to hide the “garage” (laundry closet). Maybe after these little tweaks are done, I’ll post a few pictures.

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