This past weekend, I decided our pantry needed a little revamp. We have one of those tall cabinets with the drawers that roll out. I would love to have an actual pantry that you can walk inside or even a pantry closet, but for now our pantry cabinet does the trick. It was getting a little crazy. I had some loose organization going on and tried to keep like items together, but I didn't always stick to it and I didn't really communicate this system to Adam. So even though I tried to keep it organized, it didn't always happen.
Here's what things were looking like before:
Nothing horribly unorganized, but definitely some room for improvement. (Please excuse the grainy cell phone pictures. One of these days I'll use my good camera to take pictures again!) So while my mother-in-law watched the babies (Thanks, Janet!) Adam and I set out on an adventure to buy storage containers. This was certainly not Adam's idea of fun, but he was kind enough to oblige since it was my birthday weekend. Before we set out, I made sure to measure the dimensions of each drawer and made a list of the items I wanted storage containers for so I knew what to look for while shopping.
The drawer that drove me the craziest was the drawer with the cereal. Those boxes are so big and bulky, which means they take up lots of space. I decided that I needed to get some cereal storage containers that would maximize the space. When I told Adam about my plan he said, "Oh, so we're going to be one of those households now." He knew what he was getting into when he married me!
So, yes, I set out to find some cereal storage containers. It was a little tricky to find some that weren't too tall for the drawer or didn't cost a fortune. I wasn't going to spend 20 bucks on a cereal container! I did end up finding some at The Container Store for $9. That was much more reasonable and I used my birthday money. I guess you know you are old when you use your birthday funds to buy storage containers. Or maybe that's just me. :)
I also found some small white storage bins at TJ Maxx to help corral some of the smaller items, along with a small jar to hold tea bags. A napkin holder and small jar for Jazzy's treats were found at IKEA. And finally a water bottle from Target got a new use as a container to store rice. I also used some other items I already had to store and organize other items.
After collecting all my new storage containers, I took everything out of the pantry. I threw away expired items. Then I sorted everything into categories. I assigned a general category to each drawer and made labels so Adam would be able to know what was going on in my head. I just printed off the labels and glued them on top of some pretty wrapping paper. I used some packing tape to stick them onto each drawer. (Packing tape might not be the best thing to use if you are worried about messing up the surface of your drawers. Ours are old, so it doesn't really matter if sticky stuff is left behind or the finish is removed when the tape is removed.)
Next came the fun part of putting everything in it's new home. We typically only buy what we intend to use for the next few weeks since we don't have a lot of space to store food goods. I've also found that if we buy too much stuff in advance, we never tend to use it all and end up throwing things away when they expire. Once everything was in its place, our pantry looked way nicer! Now, instead of cringing when I open up the pantry, a little smile comes to my face.
The top drawer holds all of our baking supplies. Things like powdered sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla, vegetable oil, etc. I ended up using some glass Pyrex containers to store our powdered sugar and brown sugar. I was going to buy some jars, but couldn't find any that were short enough and large enough. I have a ton of Pyrex and never use it all at once, so I figured I could spare two containers to hold those items. I just put some of my favorite tape on the top with the expiration date.
The next drawer is my favorite! It has the new cereal storage containers. One is filled with Cheerios for the twins and the remaining three are for whichever cereal Adam happens to be eating at the moment. They take up less space than the bulky boxes and don't make as much noise when Adam makes a bowl of cereal in the morning. No more crinkling bags! Behind that are things like oats, pancake mix, tea and a bin full of instant oatmeal packets.
The next drawer has snacks-everything from chips and pretzels to animal crackers and trail mix. I also added a bin to hold the smaller items like granola bars and popcorn bags. I always take things like granola bars and popcorn bags out of the boxes to free up more space.
Then comes the dinner/stuff for Archer and Lyla drawer. The left side has canned goods and pasta, while the right side has baby food and baby snacks. Again, I used a bin for the smaller items that I took out of their boxes.
Finally, the last drawer has Jazzy's food and poop bags, along with paper plates and party napkins.
The whole pantry looks much tidier and should stay that way thanks to the new labels and storage containers.
There was one moment during the organizing process that made me super proud, but then immediately bummed out. I saw this water bottle at Target and thought it would be perfect for storing rice. I could easily pop off the top and and pour out the amount I needed. Whenever I am pouring rice out of the bag or box, it tends to go everywhere! So I thought this would be the perfect solution. I even wrote the expiration date, water to rice ratio and cooking instructions on some tape and added it to the side of the bottle. I was tooting my own horn as I went to put the rice in the dinner drawer, but it was too tall! Whomp, whomp. So it has to live in the snacks drawer, even though I would never eat rice for a snack! But I am getting better at letting things go these days, so live it up with the snacks, Mr. Rice Container.
Rice container height aside, it was a successful organizing project! I was so excited to have the time to work on this organizing project. In the end, it will save more time while I'm getting items from the pantry. I won't have to pull out every drawer to find what I'm looking for. Now I'll know just where to look!