Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pantry Revamp, Part 3: Organization and Finishing Touches

Last time, we talked about how adding shelves to the space between my existing shelves and door gave me a new space for canned goods, but I was still struggling with finding a way to organize our food in a way that let me find everything I needed. Creating "zones" didn't work since things were already overcrowded and everything had to be shifted to reach an item. Wine crates and baskets didn't work since, while they held things in certain groups, they were bulky and hard to dig through, not to mention that they blocked the view of other areas. 

Here's a before shot of my pantry (note that a big box of jumbled stuff has been removed from the bottom shelf here while I measured):

In fact, here's the contents of my pantry all over the floor (minus the paint can):


I loved the idea of having everything in stackable, clear containers like these from the Container Store, but at $15-$20 each and not quite big enough for many of my bulk jars, it just wasn't meant to be. I forced myself to browse around the organization section at Home Depot to search for cheaper alternatives, and came across these:


They're perfect! I bought all they had (then promptly returned them since Target had the exact same bins for cheaper than this price). 

I also bought several cheap plastic shoe bins (at 99 cents each, this was so much better than the container store!) for smaller items, and to organize some other things in my kitchen.

The result? All my pantry items are organized by category, in lightweight containers that are easy to move around, lift, and see straight into! (I can even look up through the wire shelves to see what's left in the top containers!)

Big Bins:
Oatmeal, Breadcrumbs, Grits, & Cream of Wheat
Rice & Beans
Syrups, Spices, Sauces, & Flavorings
Pasta & Asian Wraps
Dried Fruit & Nuts

Small Bins:
Snacks & Sweets
Baking Items, Specialty Flours, Sugar
Coffee, Tea, Drink Mixes, & Straws

Small Bins in another kitchen cabinet:
Measuring Cups & Small Baking Dishes
Kitchen Aide Accessories & Small Electrics

The only thing that's really changed from here to now is the jar of coffee; it's moved to the space above our coffeemaker somewhere else in the kitchen.

I made my labels small with the intent that they wouldn't block the view as much this way, but now I think they're a bit too small! I love the font, though (you can get it here for free!). It's just enough of that "fancy froo froo kitchen" to make me smile, without having get through life with a 2-cup container of flour.

These two photos are present day. It's been about 4 months since I added the big containers and I still feel like I can find everything in my pantry. It's trivial now to check and see if I have a particular pasta or bean I want for a recipe, and I'm never out of canned tomatoes!

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