An organized pantry

Good Friday to ya! Whoo-te-hoo.

I’m back today with an update on a big redo I did a couple years back – the pantry. And I hope you still like me after you read cause I have a big revelation to make.

When I decluttered the kitchen a couple weeks back this space was on the list. I joked that it was scary but honestly…it wasn’t bad. That’s when I knew I had really, finally come up with a system for this space that works.

See, years ago this is what it looked like most of the time:


Actually, that wasn’t too bad. :)

Over the years I realized something BIG about myself that kind of changed my pantry-world. I always felt like we needed to have a TON of food, just in case. That just in case ranged from a natural disaster (which I do still think you should have a stash for) to financial insecurity to Armageddon. Take your pick.

I knew exactly why I did it too – it stemmed from my childhood. The desire to never have to worry about having food in the pantry ever again. So I hoarded food. And it was a bit ridiculous, as you can see. Ridiculous because: 1. three people can’t possibly eat that much 2. we eat out a lot 3. Armageddon is not coming. Probably. At least not in my lifetime. I hope. 

So early last year I completely made over this space (took out the wire shelves, painted, installed melamine shelves), took a hard look at how we eat and changed how I bought food. Now when I cook I either plan ahead and make sure to have what we need, or I go out that day and get what I’m missing. I don’t keep food in here that I might need for that one recipe that I make every six months. I just go buy it. Because I can make the time – again this is what works for me.

When I cleaned out the pantry this time I still felt like a horrible, no good person (because of the wasted food) – but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it used to be. Because we can see what we’re eating now:

organized pantry

Last time I wrote about our pantry many were like, no, seriously, where’s the food? There’s a good foot of space on each side that you can’t see straight on. I do still have SOME food.

Sooooo, here’s the thing. Don’t hate me. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to blog after confessing this. Last year I loved the whole idea of the plastic containers for things like crackers, baking supplies, etc. It was kind of the thing. I liked that I could see the food and I thought we’d eat it if we could see it. Something like that?

Anyway…the thing is…I don’t use them anymore. I KNOW. Will I be banished from blogland?

Over time I realized that we were wasting food when it was in clear containers. I would try to mark the expiration on the bottom but then when you’re almost out of, say, crackers, and you go to get more, what do you do? Dump the ones that are left but still good? Put the new ones on top and mix up expiration dates? Keep the new ones in the box until the old ones in the container were gone?

See. THESE are what you call first world problems.

I mean, it wasn’t all that dramatic, but you get what I’m laying down here. It just didn’t work. And I used quite a few of them for dry cereal but my boy doesn’t like cereal (I KNOW!) and I don’t eat it like I used to so we don’t really buy much anymore.

SO. I got rid of most of the containers (in here, I’m using most of them elsewhere). The flour and sugar and all is now out on the counters where I can easily access them (in these glass containers) and the rest (for the most part) stays in the boxes.

Did I just rock your world? I have BOXES. :)

I do still use a few plastic containers for a few baking things like candy chocolate, brown sugar and my beloved popcorn:

organizing the pantry

And you can barely see it here but I use them for pasta (because I use it a lot and it doesn’t go bad as fast):

pantry organization

I do still use baskets in the pantry – I find them helpful to corral the smaller items like packets and mixes and such:

organized pantry with baskets

Last year I was able to clear out so much that I had one free shelf. I love having some mixing and serving bowls in here – they’re easy to grab when I need them:

organizing pantry

That’s the popcorn bowls up front. Where they belong.

So there you go. The cleaned out pantry – and there’s no horrible before photo because it actually stayed pretty darn cleaned out. It’s a MIRACLE. Because we have the glass door that’s a good thing:

    glass pantry door  

For years I felt like the pantry was SO tiny and just not big enough for our needs, but now I think it’s just fine. Keep in mind it’s usually just three of us in this house though, so what works for us may not work for a larger family. But it does feel good to let go of that need to have it packed full of food constantly.

Do you use the plastic containers for your food? Love them or no? Any tricks for keeping your pantry organized?

To see more about the door that I used for the pantry go here.
To see how I made the windows private and make the inside glow at night, go here.

Have a LOVELY weekend! Anyone planning on cleaning out their pantry now? You’re welcome.