Right after the new year, our friend and all-around super organizer, Jill, began making plans to makeover our friend Sonna’s pantry. Since I love pantries and organization, I wanted to join them and document the process to share with you. (We can all use a little organization inspiration sometimes!) When the rest of our friends heard about the project, they wanted to come over too, so we decided to make it a fun day, all together. What could have been a dreaded task was suddenly a fun little afternoon.
Sonna’s pantry is located in a hall closet just outside of the kitchen. I love that this little space can be so efficient for storing food items. But because the space is heavily used, it had gotten a little messy over time.
Before Jill got started, she talked with Sonna about what she wanted to achieve with the space. Once that was clear, she had Sonna purchase some storage containers of her own choosing, to store much of the bulk food items that were currently in loose bags. On the day of the makeover, Jill began by removing the door of the closet, for easy access. Next, starting at the top shelf and working her way down, she removed the contents and washed each shelf.
Folding tray tables were used to sort out the contents of each shelf. A trash can was kept within arm’s reach to get rid of expired or stale items. Some items, like a juice pitcher, were relocated to the kitchen to be stored along with other dishes in the cupboards.
Some key points with Jill’s organizational style:
- Sorting is a huge part of getting things organized properly.
- What foods are in loose bags? Since there wasn’t an endless supply of storage containers, it was necessary to identify what foods are used the most. (The most used items would be placed in a container, making them easily accessible and refillable. Less often used items would be stored in sealed bags).
- Items should fit on shelves, and be easily pulled straight out, rather than having to tilt them to the side to remove.
- Make the most out of items you have on hand. Jill found some long forgotten shelf organizers in the back of the pantry that could be used to add height to items in the back, making shelf contents easy to spot.
- When you run out of storage vessels, various sized canning jars with lids work really well.
- Label bulk items and baskets full of items to easily identify at first glance. Jill uses this handy and inexpensive Dymo label maker.
Baking supplies and various seasonings were sorted out and corralled in their own baskets to easily grab and bring into the kitchen when needed.
Once the shelves were cleaned and the items all sorted and labelled, Jill added them back to the pantry shelves. And just like that, Sonna’s little pantry was as clean as a whistle, organized, and ready for use.
Next, Jill took on the spices which had been stored in various drawers, shelves, and spice caddies in the kitchen.
Her goal was to get the spices sorted and condensed down to be able to fit in one drawer and a little spice shelf, which along with getting things organized, would free up some much needed counter space. Expired spices were discarded and the spices that remained were sorted out alphabetically and condensed into one container per spice.
Once each spice was labelled, the larger jars were placed in the drawer and smaller ones went on the shelf. A list was made of the spices that needed to be replaced, due to their expirations, and Sonna’s kitchen was once again a tidy space.
Sonna purchased her clear plastic square OXO storage containers at Macy’s.
Jill’s Dymo label maker was purchased from Amazon.com.
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