Having sick kids during Christmas break leads to one of two things, either you sit around and join them in endless cartoons or find yourself productive around the house. Thankfully for me it was the latter of the two. Our youngest came down with the stomach bug after Christmas so by day 3 of house captivity I was getting a little antsy. I had already taken down and put away the decorations, had washed every linen in the house, and found myself just looking for something to do.
The pantry was one of those rooms in the house that never got organized. When we first moved in I bought some random containers but never got around to actually organizing it. It’s a pretty sizable space, 4.5x5ft to be exact with plenty of open shelves. In the last eight months of living here we had managed to fill it with everything from food to kitchen appliances to pellets for Nick’s grill. It became a dumping ground during the holidays and it was just time -- time to do it right!
I started out by measuring each shelf, both the height and depth. I decided to ‘window’ shop online to see what sizes and options were available and then calculated how many I needed. During my trip to Target I definitely over bought (don’t we always), but I thought it would be better to have too many and return than to run out and have to go back.
Step 1 - The clean out
I almost quit before I even started, stuff was everywhere and I felt so overwhelmed. I took out every.single.thing, wiped down the shelves and started sorting. I suggest once it’s all out to take a moment to go through and throw out all the expired stuff, take a mental note of what you have and write down what you may not need again for awhile :) This is the point I realized I’m a hoarder of large Heinz ketchup bottles, 5 to be exact. Assuming I pick them up every time they are BOGO but note to self: no more ketchup!
Step 2 - Prioritize
Everyone is going to be different depending on your needs and lifestyle. First think about what you access the most, you will probably want to keep it at eye level. If it’s kids’ snacks that your either trying to keep away from little hands or to have easily accessible you can determine the proper shelf height. For us our pantry is 90% snacks, out kitchen allows for storage of all of our oils & spices and we have a small pantry next to the refrigerator for cereals and breakfast type food. This cabinet is easy for the kids to get in and out of and has close proximity to both the kitchen table and island.
Step 3 - Start placing
Try, try and try again. I found it easiest to start with the containers I already had organized ie: flour, sugar, pastas, etc. Then I started setting the empty containers until the spaces were filled and I liked the ‘look’. It was a constant battle between what looked pretty and what was function-able. It took me quite a few go arounds until I had it just right.
A Few Must Haves -
OXO pop containers - Love the pop containers, I’ve got all of our baking ingredients in them but also love them for kids snacks. Keeps their crackers fresh and they are easily accessible for the kids.
OXO cereal container - These were a new purchase and great for the kids because 1. No more stale cereal 2. They can easily open, serve themselves, and close/put away 3. I can easily see which cereals we are running low on.
Three-tier Shelf - This is amazing in fact I may order another! I’m using it for our canned goods however this would be perfect for spices and oils in any cabinet.
Pantry labels - These are adorable and the options were endless, perfect to stick to any plastic or metal bin. I suppose you could write on the bins yourself however my handwriting isn’t nearly this pretty!