|Week #3 Organized Home Challenge: Organize Pantry, Spices and Food Storage Areas|
|Potato and Onion Bin Clutter|
|Food Cabinets and Junk Drawer Clutter|
|Bakers Rack Clutter|
"Once you categorize everything and place like items together you may realize you have several duplicates of certain items. That is fine if you will use them before they go bad, but you may also realize you've got way too much of a particular item and can get rid of even more."
She then offers the perfect solution in Step 3:
"The next step in the Organize Pantry Challenge is to use the pantry list I've created (or one you create yourself) to inventory the food you've got left.
If you've kept the food and haven't gotten rid of it in one of the steps above, then I am presuming that you actually plan to eat this food at some point before it goes bad. To make sure you do that create an inventory system so you can plan meals to use these ingredients.
In addition, using a list like this from now on will keep you organized in the future because you will not run out of staple items anymore. If you use an item regularly, and it has a long shelf life, your goal should be to have at least two of them at all times in your home. The one in use and the one ready to be used as soon as you finish the other. When you get the spare make sure to write down on your grocery list to pick up another at the store. You'll never run out of staples this way!
Obviously, not everything is a good candidate for this system, such as things which go bad quickly. However, it is a wonderful system for certain non-perishables, and not only food but also for items like toiletries and paper supplies, such as paper towels and toilet paper.
I provided a bit more instruction on how to use this pantry inventory on the page itself which contains this free printable, so be sure to read that when you print out your sheet."
Her Free Printable Pantry List is so handy, it is one of my favorite new organizational tools.
|The Slide Out Organizers give easy access to everything on the shelf, even the stuff in the very back.|
I know, I know you're probably tired of looking at these. I just can't get there yet. I'm so not tired of looking at them. They're absolutely beautiful. Sorry for the extra photo, but I couldn't help it.
|Organized Canned Food Cabinet. Categories labeled and expiration dates marked with Sharpie.|
Following more of Taylor's suggestions, I created labels to show where everything goes, and I lined the shelves with Contact paper. My labels aren't fancy. They're made of purple masking tape and Sharpie hand lettering. One more thing I chose to do on my own was to take a Sharpie marker and write the expiration dates of all the foods in this cabinet in BIG BOLD LETTERS AND NUMBERS. "JULY 12" means this Hellman's Mayonnaise expires in July 2012. The reason for this was convenience. My husband and I both need glasses to see small print. Mine are the drugstore glasses needed only for reading, so I don't wear them all the time. The large print helps me see expiration dates without the need of glasses and helps me use the oldest items first.
|Canned Food Veggie Cabinet Decluttered|
I like my veggie cabinet so much better now. See the little spot of purple tape on the orange can of veggies? That purple tape is like a little sign that means "Use Me First". I put a spot of purple masking tape on all the canned goods that were within a few months of their expiration dates. The orange can expires in March of 2012. The tape is another of my own methods to make visual inspection more simple.
Taylor also had a great suggestion about zones:
"Just like with the Kitchen Cabinet Organization Challenge last week, when we considered the "zones" in our kitchens, we need to consider that same issue this week during the Organize Pantry Challenge."
We had not been keeping our Popcorn in the Spice Cabinet. However, the Spice Cabinet is directly above the microwave. Following the zone suggestion, I moved the microwave popcorn to the zone near the microwave. Now we don't have to move around to make it. Just stand there, grab a packet, and put it in without taking any extra steps. We also put the Hot Chocolate up there because we always make hot chocolate from packets and we heat it in the microwave. To keep everything together, we also put the chocolate milk mix and kool aid drink mix in on this shelf.
I really really like using the labels. Now my spice cabinet will stay neat and organized. Everyone will know where everything goes.
I found these rectangular mini baskets for about 15 cents apiece at Staples. They solve two problems. One - they keep the alike things together in their space. Two - they keep small things from tipping over.
|Two-tier rotating spice rack.|
During the decluttering of the spice cabinet, I was embarrassed that I had so many expired spices. I had to throw almost everything out and start over. I re-stocked the cabinet when most all the spices were on sale at Albertson's for 40% to 50% off. Found this two-tier lazy susan style spice rack on clearance there too. Love being able to see all my little jars without knocking everything over. I love good deals, too. Can't you tell?
A big problem with the clutter in this cabinet had been that nothing was containerized. Every bag and box was stuffed it this cabinet as is and it wouldn't fit together properly. I considered buying fancy plastic containers like these I saw on Pinterest:
|Organized Bulk Storage - 5 quart jugs with shelf|
After doing the calculations for what sizes would fit and how many we'd need, we found it would cost over 200 to fill our upper kitchen cabinets with these bulk containers. It is a good investment, but we could not afford that expense.
|Upper Food Cabinet Organized|
|Bakers Rack Decluttered|
I am so pleased to report that my friend from across the pond, Cupcake Mumma, is doing a fantastic job with the Organized Home Challenge. Check out her post 52 Weeks to an Organised Home Week 3 with Results! It is so fun for me to share this with you.
I invite you to join with me in taking The 52 Week Home Organizing Challenge. If you do, tell me about it. I'll share your progress with links to your blog in future updates. If you do this but don't blog, that is fine. Just send me photos and notes to tell me about your progress. I'll share that too.