I am all about making spaces in my 80s-era house more attractive, but I just want my pantry to be clean and organized. Is that too much to ask of myself?
I went food shopping after work the other day without a list and came home with school snacks galore only to discover that I already had something like 10 boxes of chocolate chip granola bars, 2 bags of pretzels, 3 boxes of peanut butter crackers, 17 packages of applesauce and 2 packages of raisin boxes buried in the back of the pantry. From having the kids home in the summer, to the busy beginning of the school year and sports and work and life, our pantry has become a complete disaster zone. With a family that includes three growing kids rifling through there on a daily basis, I find it necessary to clean out my pantry every six months or so. It's not something I enjoy, but much like cleaning out the fridge, it's necessary once in a while and is so gratifying to have done!!
This is our pantry before we moved in - two closets with lots of shelves.
You may recall that our house was the Peach Pit when we moved here last year - everything, from the trim to walls, was painted some shade of murky peach or burnt orange. The very first thing I did when we moved in was paint those doors (and from there, every other bit of wall and trim in the house!)
What a difference a color change can make to a space!
Since the shelving inside was old and dingy, I even painted those (with Kilz primer as they were raw wood) to give the space a fresh start. I knew the paintjob would get banged up but I just wanted it to feel neat and tidy.
Ahhh, much better!
Even though my children are often heard saying "there's nothing to eat!", over time these shelves get jam-packed and require some organizing. If you like to cook, I sure you can relate when I tell you that I'm constantly picking up ingredients for recipes. When I clean out the pantry I feel inspired to use up things that have been in there a while. Time to make some soup, homemade pizza or marinara sauce!
One of the changes I made yesterday was to put our baking supplies and whatnots in these organizers. Cupcake liners, sprinkles and such things that we don't need on a daily basis seem to clutter up the pantry so I put them on the highest shelf and labeled the drawers so my little baker, Hannah, can find things easily.
I also have an ongoing issue of a certain teenager in my house who has an insatiable appetite and gets into all sorts of packages when his mother is not looking. After he's done emptying out my fridge of milk and yogurt, he meanders over to the pantry looking for a sweet something something, and has been known to take handfuls of chocolate chips despite his mother's threats. I go to bake cookies and find half the bag of chocolate chips has somehow disappeared.
So where are the baking goodies now I ask you??
Hehehehe! Shhh, don't tell.
Let's see how long it takes him to figure it out!
The inside of the pantry doors are a great place for school lunch menus.....
sweet notes and artwork from the kiddos, and a place to hang aprons.
Baskets for vegetable and fruit storage....
one for school snacks and baggies....
and a caddy for homework supplies keep everything we need in easy access.
I also keep dry goods, paper towels, etc. on a shelf in our basement so the pantry doesn't get too chaotic.
There are so many great ways to keep your pantry organized.
I love chalkboard labels like these:
Baskets are a must for choraling snacks, baking goods, oatmeal packs, etc. I wanted a little splash of color so I picked up those green ones at Homegoods, but Ikea also has a nice selection of inexpensive baskets.
And of course, you can always hide things from your kids in plastic containers you already own by lining them with pretty scrapbook paper! (Oh I think I'm so tricky!)
I hope that keeping our pantry more organized will help us to USE what we already have, WASTE LESS and in turn SPEND LESS....all good reasons to clean out the pantry on a more regular basis!
And now that I've shown you my lame, un-fancy, but organized!!! pantry, check out THE most tricked out and beautiful of all pantries right on over here!