Kitchen Pantries: a necessity but also a nightmare for some because of all of the clutter that can accumulate. I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with my pantry only because I tend to let my pantry get a bit out of control when life gets busy. So it needs to be tamed every once in a while and today was that day! See my kitchen pantry clutter cure:
From this perspective, this pantry doesn’t look like it’s very out of control, but it’s more of a case of the pantry being not as functional as I
need like it to be.
I started by emptying out the drawers and reorganizing them one at a time.
This is the “beastly” shot of the top drawer. Scroll for the “beauty” shot!
I spared you from a shot of the empty drawer.
I pulled everything out and discovered I had a few duplicate items and also some items that weren’t being stored properly. See how the closure on the raisins has come loose? They would’ve been dried out in no time.
The top drawer beauty shot. I used a long and semi-deep plastic bin to corral the dried fruit packages that can have a tendency to get messy in a hurry. The bin is actually the bottom to a disposable plastic container that lost its lid. Rather than tossing it, I reused it here.
The raisins were stacked with the open container on top so it’ll be more likely to get used first. The breadcrumbs were put together on the left and the condensed milk can, once buried in the back of the drawer, now peeks out in front. Items that can be seen will get used. Buried items will likely go to waste.
Ugh. This drawer is always out of control for me because I am a carb addict and I overbuy pasta. All. The. Time.
To fix this hot mess, I put like with like and lined everything up so it could be easily seen.
I made sure to label the containers with the content name and also cooking directions or I clipped that part out of the package and put it in the container. I’m always forgetting how much water for one cup of the various grains. I generally keep bulgur, barley, rice, and quinoa on hand. My favorite labels are from the Martha Stewart line at Staples. These levels are removable, so they can be transferred to different containers reused.
See the cute labels in action? I won’t have undercooked crunchy quinoa anymore thanks to the label!
Now that the drawer is reorganized, I can see what I have. Tons of pasta. Time to make mac & cheese!
The breakfast/snack drawer #1. The kids access these drawers a lot, so they tend to be messier. The only saving grace here is that the packages are big, so things don’t get too out of control. Also, note the box of pasta that found its way down off of the carb addict drawer.
Breakfast/snack drawer #2. I intermingle breakfast/snack items because that’s how my family eats them – cereal is an all-day food. And the containers I use don’t always make it possible to fit all of the breakfast items in one drawer. Anyhow, instant oatmeal must’ve been on sale, because it’s nearly taking over this drawer!
Items from the drawers pulled out. Notice another space saving strategy I use – the kids eat a lot of granola/nutrigrain type bars. They all live together in the round metal container standing on end. It saves space and time to not have to root through boxes of each kind of bar. Why a round container? It is what I had on hand.
Beauty shot for Breakfast/Snack drawer #1.
And beauty shot for Breakfast/Snack drawer #2.
What I changed was to put the goldfish (there were 4! kinds!) and other snacks into plastic containers. I find my kids will close a plastic container more reliably than the package the food came in, so I try to use plastic containers when possible. I didn’t label the containers because we can see what is in the containers and they are prepared foods, so no cooking instructions are necessary.
Last drawer – the baking items drawer. I forgot to take a before picture of the baking items drawer. Not too much of a difference except for that there were bags of cornmeal, flour, and brown sugar crowded in the drawer in addition to the containers seen below. I moved over much of the flour and cornmeal that was in it’s original packaging to the containers I have for them. The dark brown sugar (bottom right in picture) got a new container that seals tightly versus the Ikea clip that was somewhat loosely closing the bag.
Baking supply item drawer all pretty! Not all of the flours could fit in the containers, so I rolled down the tops of the bags tightly and placed them in the middle of the drawer so I’ll be sure to see them when I need them next. I lined up the cornmeal and flours on the left and the sugars on the right.
And here’s the final beauty shot of everything nicely organized. And now, my kitchen pantry clutter has been cured, for now!
In the end, almost everything that was in my pantry at the start of the process stayed in because I do routinely re-organized and evaluate items for freshness and usability. If you haven’t gone through your pantry in a while, now’s the time! An organized pantry saves money, time and sanity!.