What I wouldn’t give to have one of those beautiful walk-in, shelf-lined, has it’s own mother fucking wine fridge and maybe even a cute chalkboard wall pantries, but I don’t. I barely have enough cabinets for all the equipment I don’t know how to use to cook.
The last time I had anything like a pantry was the weird closet at my parents house that was between the fridge and the shelf we kept the phone on. Like, the landline phone. Because I’m a 90s kid.
Since moving out on my own and now into a house with HTB, I’ve had to keep food in cabinet space like a goddamn peasant. The dedicated cabinets for our food in our home now is the lower cabinets right next to our stove.
The nice thing about these cabinets is that they do have some pullout drawers, so you can see everything in the cabinet. The downside is that because they are lower cabinets, in our haste and laziness to put our groceries away, we usually just end up tossing things in all willy-nilly.
And that’s how you end up with a disaster like the one pictured above.
So I ventured to my local TJ Maxx and scoped out some storage solutions. I knew that I needed to purge some things in the “pantry” anyway: expired items, things we literally will never eat, weird jams that came in a gift basket that HTB got from some coworker… But most importantly, I knew that I wanted to contain all the items in bins of some kind to keep them organized and force us to not just chuck food in there when we were putting groceries away.
Measure your fucking shit. I found these super cute wooden crates that I fell in love with that were like $6 each and bought two of them because I wanted them to be in my HGTV worthy pantry. Of course they were too wide. OF COURSE. Rather than returning them, I kept them for other organization projects (ones that I haven’t even thought of yet, so naturally they’re just sitting and taking up space).
So I measure (like I should have in the first place) and head back to the Maxx and pick up these less cute, but more practical (and the correct size) plastic bins. Some similar ones can be found on Amazon.
I pulled everything out of the cabinets, chucked outdated/expired products. Put all the fancy jams and anything else that we’ll never eat in a small box to donate. Then I wiped down the inside of the cabinet with some Clorox wipes, cleaned all the packages with a wet cloth and started organizing the foods into categories. I like to bake, so one bin is basically all baking. We also have a pasta bin.
The most important thing to me when organizing was to make things that we use frequently easy to grab. So I put cooking oils, rice, pasta, nuts (ha), and bread crubs right down front. That way, I don’t have to paw through three bins to find what I need. The stuff in the back is less frequently used like flour, sugar, more breadcrumbs (I was assured we needed both Panko and Italian), pancake mix, and vinegar.
Overall, I think purging the pantry helped cut down on buying more of things we already have. We know what and how much of stuff we have and don’t buy what we don’t need. Like more fucking breadcrumbs. It has also inspired me to organize more cabinets (which I’ll probably document and post about later. joy!) and take time to actually put groceries away organized, which saves me time in the long run.