A weekly column celebrating the neat freak in all of us.
On this week’s episode of Food Hoarders, Tracy tackles her kitchen pantry. What better way to spend a Saturday night than cleaning out a kitchen pantry for 4 hours?
I shouldn’t kid, hoarding is a big problem. I’m not necessarily a hoarder; I just buy food because I think I need it. Turns out I already have those items but I can’t see them because my pantry is so disorganized. Wait? Is this a hoarding show or an organizing show? I’m confused.
The last time I cleaned out my pantry was probably 6 months ago when I had a serious moth infestation from buying bulk food items. As some semblance of a resolution for 2012, I’m trying to get my head in the zone and keep things in my kitchen organized. The first step starts with my kitchen pantry. Besides the fridge, it’s one of the main hubs in my kitchen. My kitchen pantry easily falls into a disorganized state because I’m rushing around doing things and not devoting time once a week to tidy things up a bit. After grocery shopping with a 3 year old and emptying the items that need to be refrigerated from the grocery store, I always get a bit lazy/overwhelmed with putting things away in the pantry. In 2012, I’m hoping to be a little more thoughtful with how I organize/take care of my pantry so I can avoid things like:
- buying items I already have
- wasting precious space with expired items
- multiple items opened at the same time
- not knowing what my options are food wise because I can’t see them
Today I show the world (deep breath!) just how disorganized I’ve been. Don’t worry there’s a SUCCESS story at the end and I’m pretty darn proud of it.
And so it begins…
Let’s do a little inspection…We begin with the top shelf of chaos. The baking section. I see 8 things that don’t belong.
This is the middle. This is what I see at eye level and it stresses me out. All the items in front are covering up the items in back.
You can also see how well I stack items on top of other items. Whoa.
This kind of stresses me out.
The last shelf…can you believe there are sweet potatoes somewhere in there? The cereals are blocking them.
And here’s the floor…if you can even see it. Also my spice rack is in a crazy state! Cinnamon spilled on the bottom rack and I need to clean it up!
First step. SORT. I worked from the top down and used my kitchen table as my sorting station.
Since I started with the top section (the BAKING section) I weeded out all of the items that didn’t belong there.
You can imagine how excited Cooper was to see a bunch of sugar, chocolate & marshmallows on our kitchen table. Keeping him from getting into my stuff was probably the most difficult challenge of this project! I took a break and continued after he went to bed.
Because all of the chocolate for baking was shaped differently, I organized them in a tupperware for safe keeping.
During this process, I had a few bags designated for recycling, one for garbage and one for composting.
I kept reminding myself that I’d eventually get through! I kept at it.
This metal bin here was something I designated a long time ago as my nut/dried fruit bin. Obviously it’s been heavily neglected.
In the process I found TWO packages of almonds & dried white peaches that were already opened. UGH.
I solved the problem by taking one of these plastic caddies I bought a few months ago at IKEA and re- purposed it for nuts & dried fruits.
Now I can pull out the caddy & carry it to my kitchen counter when I’m making something in the kitchen and I can easily see what’s in it.
When I finally finished sorting & putting everything back, I put all of the items that didn’t belong in the pantry on my kitchen table for sorting. All this stuff was wasting precious space in my pantry. No wonder I couldn’t see anything.
After 4+ hours of work, we have the AFTER!! I stood at the pantry the next morning just staring.
I’m THRILLED with the results.
Here’s the top shelf. The BAKING SHELF. There were items stored IN my kitchen mixer bowl. Shameful!
I know that Frank’s Red Hot sauce doesn’t belong, but it fit on the shelf so nicely!
And we look at the second shelf down. The MIDDLE!
You can see I found THREE bottles of apple cider vinegar in the process!
I love seeing all my soups & stocks lined up. It’s easy to grab one now.
To the left there’s more organization. Different sections for different needs.
And we work our way down to the bottom shelf. What a breath of fresh air!
You can see my nuts/dried fruits section now. Two caddies in action!
And here’s the FLOOR! You can see it! I have designated bins. I’m glad I know what I have now.
While I was at it, I organized the spice shelves.
I threw out old spices & condensed a few.
And here’s shelf dedicated to vinegars & oils.
The best part? I can see it ALL!
Now the next step? Putting a LOCK on my pantry door because someone gets into it CONSTANTLY.
Hope this helps inspire you to tackle your own kitchen pantry organizing project!
REMEMBER: How can you go grocery shopping if you can’t see what you have?!