31 Days: Day One: Organizing the pantry

by statia on October 1, 2011


That?  That is not my pantry.  But I wish it was.  One of the (many) things that I’m not thrilled about with this house, is the pantry size.  It’s teeny tiny, and when I clean it, it usually takes .02 seconds to mess it up again.  Because our laundry room is practically in our kitchen, I’m working on having it moved downstairs, so that i can have that space as a pantry. My husband is less than thrilled with this idea, but I will persevere until he is worn down and relents.  It’s times like this where I wish I sounded like Fran Drescher. Because the laundry room is in a stupid place, and the pantry is too small to hold more than a couple of boxes of cereal and some Bunny Grahams. Observe:

I’m sure that this is probably how a lot of pantries end up.  Shove it in, close the door and call it a day.  But it’s just so maddening and inefficient. Sure, I clean it out often, but this time, I was determined to find an inexpensive way to organize it, where it had a chance of working. Sure you can go and find all sorts of fancy ways to organize, and spend money, but I’ve decided that as part of my 31 Days project, I’m going to try to do each project on a small budget, and utilize as many materials that I already own, all while making it a practical solution.

The first thing I did, naturally, was take everything out of my pantry. The big issue I have, this pantry being so small, is that there are so many boxes, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found a box with either one granola bar, or NOTHING AT ALL!!  I mean, seriously?  So while emptying the cabinets, I took everything out of boxes at the same time, since the boxes take up so much space, and quickly.  My kids can live on Whole Foods brand cereal bars, which I end up buying 8 boxes at a time, since our closest whole foods is 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic.  And everything on the side of the door is all tea bags (heh).

As you can see, the empty cabinet is kind of gross.  I would have repainted it, because one thing I’m not lacking in is paint, but I didn’t want to wait for it to dry, and so, I went for the next best thing I had in my house:

FABRIC!  I have so much fabric, which I wasn’t really thrilled with this particular one for any other project, but this would work just fine here.   So armed with my trusty staple gun:

The best part is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.  It’s going to be covered up with delicious food.

The only thing I bought for this project was some buckets (found in the Target dollar bins for $2.50 a piece) and some clothespins (which I was out of for chip clips anyway).

I also used some Tupperware we had lying around collecting dust to put our lollipops in (If you can’t find organic, these are one of the best and you can order them online.  We love YumEarth brand)  Because our candy goes out of children’s reach, I wanted to put it in a clear container, that’s easily visible for them to ask.

Next I used the buckets:

These buckets were awesome for the price. I used one for K cups, one for tea bags, and two for the kid’s snacks, which eliminated tons of boxes from my pantry. I also used some clear plastic containers I had lying around for things like the 8 million packages of oatmeal we had laying around, and the endless packages of spice mixes. I had some extra wire shelves that I reshuffled, which worked beautifully to give my pantry a little more space.

As you can see, I separated everything so that it was easier to hopefully keep organized. I removed the wire pockets off of the door, as they kept slamming against the door, and the only thing that went in there were things that my daughter either took out, or they just fell out on their own. On the top shelf, I simply clothes pinned labels on each of the red buckets, with some red construction paper. Nothing fancy, just something easy to do with supplies you have around the house. Along with the candy, and some other things that my mom keeps here, once in a while. So I could put that where it wasn’t in the way.

The second shelf is your every day things like canned goods, risotto, rice, peanut butter, bread crumbs. I used a wire shelf to add more space.

The 3rd shelf down is the cereal and snack shelf. Again, using a wire shelf, it gives us more room to store some extra snacks.

On the fourth shelf is all of the things that the kids usually eat for snacks. I put a variety of their favorite snacks in the red buckets, and some juice boxes. Now when they want a snack, they can easily access it themselves and not have to go digging through a bunch of half empty boxes.

Underneath, a former craft storage drawer has been turned into the home of carbs. Pasta, rice, and grains. This works perfectly, because all of those bags end up getting so haphazardly tossed in there after awhile, that stuff spills everywhere.

Money Spent: $12!! I spent $10 on four buckets from Target, which is a great deal, as they’re pretty large and can hold a lot.  And I spent $2 on a new set of clothes pins.

Things I repurposed:  The underneath storage container, I used fabric that I had already had, tupperware containers, old wire shelves.

And if you don’t have things around your house that you can use, there are some cheap ways store your goods:

Wrap a box in fabric or in paper, whatever you have laying around.  Make sure the top is open, for easy access. Think outside the box, for what you can do INSIDE the box!

Another great place for inexpensive storage solutions is the beloved Ikea. I purchased the Kassett storage boxes for my closet. They’re inexpensive cardboard boxes that are stronger than you think. I love mine. These Skubb boxes are another great inexpensive option.  They’re made of a durable nylon, and come in various sizes. I also uses these in my closet as well.

What sort of method do you use to organize your pantry?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Positively Alene October 2, 2011 at 1:31 am

So, I”m totally in need of some organization – so I’m going to take this step by step here. Surely I can do 20 minutes a day — surely!!! :)


statia October 2, 2011 at 3:14 am

Alene, just break it into steps. One room at a time. I did the pantry in about an hour. I know other things like certain closets will probably take me days on end. :o P


Jen@ADropintheBucket October 2, 2011 at 8:44 am

I am totally your newest follower. Can’t wait to see the rest of the 31 days. We are moving this month, so I am going to refer back to these posts after we move. :-) Maybe I can start out organized.


statia October 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

We’re kind of in the same boat. Half of our furniture downstairs is all over the place, since we’re in the process of an addition. It’s like moving all over again. Except this time I don’t have an infant. And things don’t have to be shoved in random places. :)


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