No better time to start spring cleaning than when you’re trying to get everything set for a two-week trip out of the country next week, right? I’ve been meaning to do some spring cleaning, but have been putting it off until I had something else more important to procrastinate on. Aaaand technically, summer solstice isn’t until June 20, so I can still call this spring cleaning.
We’ll start with the area that’s plagued me the most: the pantry. Now, I have rooms that are worse off, but I don’t store food in them and they’re not as visible to the public, so those are a little lower on my priority list. But my pantry was a hot mess. Part of me thought that maybe if I had a bigger pantry, I wouldn’t have as many problems…but let’s be real: a bigger pantry would just mean a hotter mess. Plus, people with less room make it work, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and figure this out. There are no before pictures. Partly because I forgot, but mostly because I’m ashamed. Ha.
Now everyone says step one is to clear out the pantry and figure out what you’ve got. I really didn’t feel like doing that – mostly because my kitchen counters were also a mess too, so I had nowhere to put things – so I made it work. I figured out how much I had of what and what each shelf should have on it. Took a little bit of guessing and checking, but I made it work.
Anyway, here’s the final product!
One of my favorite parts of every pantry organization post I could find was matching containers for things. Yes, I realize this is really bougie and extra of me, but hey, I’m a grown man and pay my own bills. If I wanna be bougie and extra, you can’t judge me. For the pastas and grains I used these half-gallon mason jars.
Full disclosure: none of these people are paying me to advertise for them. I ain’t a serious enough blogger for that. I have less followers than I have fingers and only update when I get a wild hair up my…anyway. I just figure if someone stumbles on this post, may as well make it interesting.
Anyway, so the jars. They’re great, and fit the one pound bags of pasta perfectly. But they’re too short for spaghetti and the like, so I had to deviate for those. These are the canisters I’m using for the spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, and lasagna. It drove me nuts that there wasn’t a mason jar tall enough for this, but whatever. I’ll deal with it.
I wanted the labels to be in the same font as my recipe binder (I’ll post that one in another post) but I’m not bougie enough to own a Cricut or Silhouette, so I found some 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of clear label paper I bought on sale when an Office Depot near me was doing its closing clearance a few years ago and used that. The background of the text is kind of frosted-looking but it’s fine. It’s labeled, kind of matches, and has been resistant against moisture so far. I probably wouldn’t go soaking them in water though.
Speaking of canisters, my baking supplies are also in matching ones. I was going to use mason jars for them too, but then quickly realized that if I’m going to bake, I need to be able to get a measuring cup into it, so that went out the window. But the Anchor Hocking cracker jars were close. I swear, the people at the Container Store are probably sick of seeing me.
The last of the matching bottle saga is the one I used for the sauces and cooking oils. I bought this one from Specialty Bottle online. It’s technically a liquor bottle, but whatever. It works for my purposes and looked cute, especially with all of them lined up. I paired them with these hinged vented pourers I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond, but I can’t find them online, so when I saw them at the store, I bought all four packs I found. Anyway, with the first round of oil bottles I had, I tried frosting the glass, but getting a consistent font and size didn’t quite work because that depended on finding the right stickers to get the frosting to take. If I end up getting one of those vinyl cutting machines, I may be able to make my own stencils and do it, but for now, the Office Depot labels will have to do.
Now for the other things, I got some baskets from At Home. I found some similar ones I thought were cute at the Container Store, but I didn’t feel like paying $10 each so I found these for about half the price. For things I had less of but still needed to be in baskets, I bought these handled storage baskets to keep my baking supplies corralled. And then I also bought these handled spice baskets because I intended to use them in my spice cabinet. Then I quickly realized that the stupid cabinet I have my spices in is too shallow. BUT I had some essential oil bottles and some extracts that needed homes, so they were perfect for that, so yay for having a plan B. The non-perishables are still kind of there, but at least the chaos is limited now.
As we work our way down, more things I used in here are the Akrobins (and accompanying labels) from the Container Store. These little guys were perfect for the shelves but I went a size bigger for the drink mixes/teas, and the height difference was enough so I couldn’t stack them. Lesson learned, folks: always measure before you buy. But whatever, even putting the drink ones side-by-side, I still have extra room on the shelf…it just killed some of my dead space. Which in hindsight may be a good thing, because I’ll be less tempted to dump miscellany there.
Finally we’re down to the bottom shelves. I used to keep the ridiculous amount of reusable bags I have down there in baskets (I use Instacart a LOT). But I cleared those out and found another home for them and moved the awkwardly-sized items under there. The cookie sheets, baking tins, and pans have a more comfy home where I’m not having to play Tetris in drawers which is great. These Threshold baskets from Target were the perfect size for what I needed. For all of my disposable dinnerware, I already had the desk organizer for utensils. But the bins from At Home were also perfect for these. Instead of the bulk packs from Sam’s taking way too much space, I’ve got manageable amounts in the pantry and storing the rest elsewhere so that I’m not cluttering everything. The back shelf is overflow for food and spices so that I can refill their containers as needed. It’s partially obscured by the pet food container I’m using to hold my rice, but it’s not a big deal because I don’t really need those right away.
So now I can actually have easy access to my pantry instead of having to dig through things Thrift Shop style just to make lunch. Now to move onto my next area. Or finish my chart audits. Or to actually pack for the trip I leave on next week. Ugh…maybe I shouldn’t have procrastinated.