I feel like I need a big ole' disclaimer at the beginning of this post. Something to the effect of, 'Mom I love you dearly and please don't write me out of your will, but your pantry needed a big hug.' That should do it, right?
My mom is wonderful at so many things but sometimes she leans on my sister and I to do some of the not-so-fun projects around her house. In truth, they are fun to us so I 100% understand why she does it. Organizing her pantry does not make the list of 'Things Cris Likes To Do' so Taylor and Kaitlin to the rescue!
When she started hinting that she needed some help reorganizing, I thought I'd document the process and share it with you all.
Here is where we started.
I had my mom take measurements of shelves so we'd know what would work for storage. My tip would be to take note of how deep your shelves are, what your height is in between shelves, how many shelves you have, and how long they are. This will help you understand what you are working with as you go shopping. Also, snap a quick picture for reference. Sometimes you forget the small details, like where a shelf bracket is, a light switch, etc. Having something in front of you while you shop is so helpful.
The next thing we did was made a trip to TJ Maxx. I love their selection of organizers. Especially the clear plastic containers we used that are perfect for your refrigerator, cupboards, closets, etc. I've used them in my linen closet, frig and have plans to organize my kitchen with some of these.
When we started adding to our cart, I knew I wanted storage that you could see into, some mesh baskets for produce and a wide variety of sizes to keep everything in order. (My tip: Try to keep the size of the container scaled in relation to what you think you can put in it. For example, bags of chips make sense in a large container, while granola bars should be in a smaller container. You are trying to contain these items so putting something small into a larger space opens up the possibility of them getting lost or buried and that is what we are trying to avoid.)
It can be overwhelming to start committing to storage when you are trying to wrangle in so many items but I started with things I knew we needed to solve. We needed to get the bags of chips in order. We also needed small storage for breakfast bars, granola bars, and other little snacks. Once we started grabbing what we knew we needed we grabbed some sizes that were universal and could work for a lot of things. I also kept the color palette neutral just to keep everything really simple.
My mom's budget was a max of $200. We could have easily come in at about $100 - $130 but mom decided to invest in some of these great OXO air tight containers for her flour, sugar, cereals, rice, etc. When done, we spent about $180.
Here is our haul:
After stalling for about 40 minutes watching tv and doing anything BUT organizing the pantry, we got started. First step was removing EVERYTHING. This is crucial. You need to take everything out so that you touch each item, becomming completely aware of what is taking up space in your home. We tried to keep like items together, cans in one spot, chips in another, and so on.
Once everything was out, we cleaned up the shelves with some dish soap and water. To get rid of any scratches or stains I wiped them down once more with a magic eraser and this really cleaned them up. We contemplated adding a plastic liner but that's another project for another day.
Here came the fun part! We started organizing. My advice would be to leave tags on everything because you just don't know what you'll end up using. I think we used everything we bought except for one organizer but there were a few times I thought we'd have more left.
I asked my mom what they used most in the pantry and those were the things we tackled first. We found the right size containers for those items and worked our way down. She took care of looking at expiration dates, things she didn't need, and old appliances that she wanted to pitch. We plugged away for an hour or two just pulling categories of things together and seeing where they fit best.
We did the same thing with placing them in the pantry. We put the most used items up front and center where they were easy to grab. From there we continued to fill up the shelves that were at easy grabbing level and put items that would be visited often there. Appliances not used frequently went on the top shelf. Extra garbage bags, holiday napkins, and other items that aren't reached for daily went on the bottom shelves.
Once everything was placed (this did take some rearranging but we finally got it the way we like it) we started labeling using this label maker. Don't get too specific when you label. You might love chocolate chip granola bars today but what if you grow tired of them? You don't want to have to relabel each time your tastes change!
Here are some photos of the final product.
I imagine mom will need to rearrange as she starts to use it but overall it looks really good. Does this inspire you to organize a spot in your home? Share your process, tips, or inspiration in the comments below!