Organizing someone else’s pantry

The conversation went like this:

and before I knew it, I’d agreed to help a friend with her pantry.

Dear Friend’s house does not have a lot of storage, so her (and Mr. DF’s) laundry room has become THE storage room for non-perishables, linens, pet supplies, home improvement items, etc.

I forgot to take a photo at the very beginning, but at this point we had just cleared out the second shelf from the top.

I asked DF what would work best for her – we put the items that are least used on the very top shelf, including some appliances and seasonal items. My main goal was to make the space as functional as possible for her and her husband. We sorted and grouped items together:

Camping items together on top of paper towels.

Different paper towels (recyclable) and cleaning cloths.

All the large cans of paint were moved to the back, since they are only kept in case a touch-up is needed. They were formerly in front of the shelves, taking up precious real estate. The white tower is next to the washer and dryer, so the laundry supplies went on top and the less-used light bulbs went below.

By the end of the afternoon, we had cleared out a lot of items that were no longer needed, shelved items according to frequency of use, and made enough room for items to be grouped in appropriate clusters, i.e. soups and broths, beans, various rice varieties, coffee supplies, pet supplies, etc. Here is the storage room by the end of my visit:

Then we moved on to the kitchen cupboards – the result of going through every corner is finding many items you’d forgotten you had, and also a few past their expiration date.

The baking goods cabinet.

We enjoyed some soon-expiring chocolate chips, and then I went home to my men. DF said she was very happy with the results and I think we did a good job going through everything and deciding what the best place was for each item.

So that was my adventure organizing someone else’s space – hope you enjoyed it!

Pantry re-org 2012

I try to go through my pantry every couple of months,  but who am I kidding, two months becomes three and four and by the time I get to it, the poor shelves have become a mess. To begin the year with a clean slate, I took everything out and grouped things on my dining room table before putting them back.

Again, I didn’t spend a cent on this – I had most of the bins already in the pantry and found a few others throughout the house.  I made the labels and hung them with some denim-stitching thread.  Easy peasy, simple, and it makes me happy to open the pantry doors – btw, they are old cabinets that my husband repurposed so we’d have more food storage.

Here is where I store many prized items from Peru – a powder mix for lucuma ice cream, mazamorra mix packets, and various others. I’ll tell you more about Peruvian food soon.

The soups and broths bin, plus a rogue tub of french fried onions. We love miso soup, it makes for such a comforting meal, or snack, depending on what you put in it.

Potatoes and rice. And lentils, apparently.

A veritable cornucopia (ha) of sauces. Pasta sauces, white sauces, Indian cuisine, etc. We do love our sauces. What I like a lot is that I can cook two pieces of chicken and put spicy sauce on my husband’s plate and not on mine. Spicy hot food and my esophagus do not get along.

The most often used bin in the pantry. My oldest boy eats pasta every single day, and lots of it. I buy pasta at Trader Joe’s, where it’s still 99 cents/lb., cheaper than anywhere else. I also buy plain marinara sauce at TJ’s, and then doctor it up with spices.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. We have a ton of jams and jellies, and pancake and crepe batters. Yum yum.

That’s my pantry as of two days ago – I can find anything I need easily and it’s also easy to see how much I have left of various items. There is another shelf at the bottom where the bulk items go, i.e. flour, coffee, etc. At some point I do plan on making the pantry prettier, but “organized” will have to do for now 😀

Have you met the Queen?

If you’ve spent any time around the blogosphere, then you are probably familiar with vinyl decals being used around the home. In my case, I was longing for some order mixed with ornate for my pantry, and I found it at Leen the Graphics Queen’s site.

She has a really cute set of canister labels, which added to my new IKEA canisters, resulted in a seriously pretty addition to our pantry.


Or rather, my husband liked them so much that he asked if we could get them off the pantry shelf and put them above our microwave. They look great and bring order and prettiness to things we use often. The labels are custom-made so you can have them say whatever you wish – as you can tell, we don’t really use sugar, so one label reads Splenda!

I was not paid or gifted anything for this post, I purchased this set and was so happy that I wanted to share with y’alls. I’ve also purchased Leen’s chalkboard decals and liked them a lot. Her prices are very reasonable and she ships very quickly – go do some browsing! Now!!!

Another reason to love IKEA

We’re moving away from plastic containers in this house, and a goal for the year is to store things like beans, rice, pasta, etc. in clear containers in the pantry so I can better see what we have on hand.

IKEA has an awesome selection of glass storage jars and as much as I love The Container Store, IKEA has them beat in price.
I love the closure on the Slom jars, I think I’ll pick up a couple here and there to build up my pantry storage.

I was in no way compensated for this post. IKEA have no clue who I am, I wasn’t given money or anything for talking about their awesomeness. However, if they were to choose to give me money or products I would be like, totally psyched!