The Pantry Project 2.0

The Pantry Project. It’s really a weekly challenge but the word “project” sounds better with “pantry” so there you go. 🙂 I worked on this on Saturday. Probably spent about an hour total because it wasn’t too far gone so I didn’t have to take everything out this time. ~ Lynne

My pantry. I love it. I hate it. Sometimes at the same time. It’s pretty big and roomy. But one of these days I’m going to add the shelving I really want. There’s too much wasted space in there. Also, it is not close to my stove so I also (at my daughter’s urging) have a cabinet that IS next to the stove where I store things that are used more frequently. Once I figured out what I wanted next to the stove, I went to work on the rest.

If your pantry is a disorganized mess, you can do something about it. Now, I usually issue weekly challenges that require about 15 minutes a day to complete. When I work on my pantry, I usually just set aside an hour (it has taken longer – depends on how long I let it go) and get it all done at one time. If yours is just a little disorderly, you might only need 15 minutes to straighten it out. In my experience. how messy your pantry gets is directly related to how many people have access to it. If no one besides me ever went in there, it would remain nice and neat. That’s not going to happen so it’s gets messy. (Insert heavy sigh here.)

Unfortunately, step #1 in the pantry project is to clear it out. Yep, clear it all out. So you need a table top or counter top available to hold everything. When you’re taking things out of the pantry, go ahead and group like things together on the table. It will make organization easier when it all goes back in.

If in the clearing out of your pantry, you come across any of the following, please do not return them to the pantry. Discard or donate as appropriate, but don’t give them valuable space in your pantry.

  • Foods whose expiration dates have passed (Beans from 2010 – out!)
  • Kitchen appliances that haven’t seen the light of day since you put them in the pantry – especially if they’re still in the box or were a wedding gift that you didn’t register for.
  • Serving dishes that you never, ever use. Ever.

When you start to return things to the pantry, group like things together. Baskets or bins can be good for this. I have baskets for baking products (chocolate chips, brown sugar, etc.), chips, bottled items (cooking wine, oil). Dollar store canisters hold oats, rice and the like.

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Cabinet beside microwave/oven area

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  • Top shelf: aluminum pans, paper products, sodas, cake pans
  • Shelf 2: oats, rice, flour, griddle/panini press
  • Shelf #3: bins with snacks, basket with baking products, bread, cereal
  • Shelf #4: paper products, snacks, chips, bottled items

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Door shelf: large spice containers, broths, tea, coffee

So here is my sage advice for your pantry project. If you don’t have time to take everything out and devote an hour or so to this project or if you can work on your pantry shelf-by-shelf, then 15 minutes a day will be a good time frame and you should be able to knock it out in a few days. If you do like I did and just make a big mess of it, getting all done at one time may be the best idea. Just be sure you have that time to dedicate to it. You don’t want to take everything out of there and then leave it for days on end on the kitchen table. Well, I hope you don’t want to do that.

Either way, once it’s done and arranged to your liking, take the 15 minutes each week when you are putting away groceries to do a little “maintenance.” Put things where they go. Label the shelves/baskets/bins if you need to – or just want to. If I had taken the time when I got home from the grocery store even though I was tired, I wouldn’t have had a mess to clean up. Sigh. Lesson learned.

Happy cleaning!

Lynne

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