some of the cabinets in our house are like legit scary. and the pantry was one of them for sure. i tackled some of the worst ones during my hardcore nesting phase before the baby arrived, but forgot to do the pantry — so here we are.
it was honestly so bad, we didn’t even know what foods we had so we’d stock up on the same items over and over again and it got to be ridiculous. so i said ok i am making us go to ikea with a baby in tow (horrible idea) and i’m getting supplies to fix this pantry the fuck up.
i’m ashamed to show you these before photos. WHO LIVES LIKE THIS?! we do. i mean… we did! and no, i did not make it more gross or dramatic for the before photos. as you can see, it’s a really narrow space we’re working with, but it’s still so much better than what we had before which was basically just one lower cabinet with a lazy susan. we wanted to increase the width when we designed the kitchen, but ultimately we didn’t have the space so we just kept it narrow and deep. i had a loose layout of where things went, but you can clearly see it’s basically just chaos.
also, yes. i sure do eat a lot of crap.
the first step was removing EVERYTHING and making a big fun mess! this meant getting rid of the bags of cracker crumbs and expired cookies, compiling the 6 nearly empty boxes of rigatoni, and putting any surplus into another shelf we have up high that we call “the food store”. then its really fun for me to say to gid “hey can you grab a box of pasta from the food store?”
next, i categorized as best i could. i kept basically the same section layout as before : canned, snacks, starches and baking.
once you’ve done that and designated everything to sections, containers are your best friend. you can definitely go a little overboard here, and i would have had i purchased more containers — but i used all the ones i got and it felt so good. not only will they help make it easier to see your inventory and supply levels, but they look nice and keep everything way fresher. you can go a little nuts with this, like i put baking soda and baking powder into jars and that might actually be less convenient than the cans they come in, but whatever, they look cute.
i’ve had the glass jars since my cousin gifted them to us for our housewarming years ago now, and never used them — so i filled them with snacks, which is a really good thing to discipline me into actually eating the ones we have, not buying more, and hopefully eating less. i used the plastic containers for cereal, baking supplies, pastas, croutons and those trader joes french fried onions that gid is obsessed with. (they are really good, you can put them on everything : hot dogs, sandwiches, soups, salads) and now everything is actually way easier to pour too.
another thing i did here and there was get rid of boxes. 2 sleeves of saltines can fit in the cabinet better than the huge box they sat in, so i recommend that where applicable.
next, i basically just played around with each drawer, figuring out where to put the boxes i had and whatnot. it depends on your space, i didn’t do a lot of pre-planning, i just purchased things and decided i’d return whatever didn’t work. another tip though, use what you have. i had purchased this breastmilk bag organizer for the fridge but it was too deep, so i used it in the baking drawer instead. if you have little boxes around the house, just use those!
if you want to go hard, also get a set of matching chip clips — it makes you feel very grown up. we got ones that actually work well this year and threw away all our 90s promotional chip clips, and i’ve never looked back.
i am not ashamed of my fast food sauce collection. stop judging me.
next i went and labeled everything, because you can’t say something is organized unless you are reading what it is.
now i’m not gonna pretend this is organization porn like i look at on pinterest, things aren’t all uniform and there is more clutter than you’d see in a magazine — but it is a gigantic improvement and so far, it’s stayed this same amount of organized because it’s a realistic amount of organized for us.
ps, i am still totally going to give you a tour of all the drawers — i know you guys are interested in that, i was going to hold off because we’re planning a dining space project that would spread all our storage out a little, but maybe i’ll just do it twice.