Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lighten My Life: The Pantry

I've been needing to tackle the pantry for a while now, but, I finally made it happen this afternoon. I had a limited time, because I had to get done while Baby A was napping. Besides the need to organize things and get rid of items that are no longer any good, we needed to baby proof in there.  Baby A, who is now called "The Wreaker" around here (as in wreaks havoc), grabs anything in her reach, so we needed to make sure that anything she could reach was safe for her to grab and inevitably, put in her mouth. 

So here's the before of the pantry:
Just like our master closet clean-out, everything had to come out. I emptied out all the shelves first. Knowing my time was limited to naptime, I was prepared to have to put the doors off until later.  There was shelf paper on the shelves when we moved here, and I thought I could just wash it all down, but wow, it was DISGUSTING!! See:
So I yanked it all out and washed everything down really well.  Now it would be great to repaint the shelves, or paint the pantry a fun color, but let's be realistic, there was just no time for that.  I needed to get this done! So clean shelves were going to have to be enough!
My plan was not to change too much - the overall layout was working for me, but I did need to make a few changes.  We have used white bins for a couple years now to group things together and make it easy to pull out a bin & grab what I need.  For example, there is a bin called Soup & Fruit - so if I am looking for a can of mandarin oranges, I can pull out that bin & grab the can - much easier than going through cans to find the right one! So I was definitely keeping my bin system, but I tweaked it a bit.  I got the bins at Big Lots for less than $2 a piece.  I took a picture of the label to share - looks they are designed to wash dishes, but they are perfect for pantry storage!!
Another reason I needed to clean out this pantry - I found duplicates of some things because it had gotten so disorganized - case in point - 2 kosher salts, both opened - nice...Oh, and they're impossible to combine without ripping the boxes open, so I still have 2 kosher salts in the pantry...
So here is my redone Paper/Plastics bin - everything in one place.  SMILE!  This was one of the most important ones for me because, do you see my plastic sandwich bags in ANOTHER plastic bag? That would be because The Wreaker spent some time the other day pulling every plastic bag out of the box one at a time and spread them out all over the floor, and who knows where the box went, I haven't seen it in days!  So I had to get those plastics above her reach! 
Here's the shelves all finished!!

And, just as I finished this, she woke up from her nap!  The bottom shelf is all plastic, so she can pull down either bin and play away.  The floor is all plastics too - so no worries for mama when she's in the kitchen with me! So the doors will have to wait, but the big part is done, and I'm so happy!  I was able to combine a lot and repackage and this was my stack of recycling when all was said & done with the shelves!!
Yay for pantry reorganization!!  Yay for a safe space for the Wreaker! Yay for a lighter pantry!  Next up - the doors and we'll be all done! 

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