Tuesday, March 2, 2010

From pantry pandemonium to mom's masterpiece

This is extremely embarrassing to put on the internet. I would never want anyone to see this when they visited our home. I always made sure the pantry door would never open. And now you can see why.



I am participating in a challenge on I love this blog. She does a FABULOUS job. I had decided to organize my pantry before I knew about the challenge, but I must admit that it was her blog that inspired me to start and then the challenge pushed me to finish. Here are the questions for the challenge.

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it?

The hardest part of this challenge for me was simply getting started. I had been wanting to clean up this pantry forever, but I wilted each time I even thought about it. I am a little obsessive compulsive so once I start a project, I have a hard time focusing on anything else. So finding the time to do this project while the kids were busy doing other things was difficult. But I decided to just dive in one day while my daughter was having quiet time in her room and my son was sleeping. It was awful having to pull everything out and have it everywhere, but it became so liberating filling containers and then throwing the extras away or if it was food, putting it down in our larger food storage area in the basement.

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order?

I have always had a hard time keeping my pantry organized. In the past, I blamed it on space. However, that was obviously not the problem since I now have a huge pantry (at least huge for me) and it is probably the most disorganized pantry I've ever kept. In the past when I've organized my pantry, I have basically just cleaned out the old food and straightened things up. I tried grouping things together, but that's about it. I decided that this time I would containerize more things and use labels designating containers and shelf space. Another problem with this pantry is that I use it to hold the many items I have for my toddler/preschooler activities. We recycle lots of items to play with. It may sound weird, but things like milk jugs and caps and cereal boxes can provide my young children with lots of fun.

The labels have helped immensely because not only do I see the space for the items, but so does my husband and anyone else who is over helping clean up cooking. I also love that I have a designated container for candy and snacks because they are small bags that just never stay organized if they're not contained.

I have also had to develop the habit of taking extra things down to the food storage area. I used to have several of the same item in the pantry, but now I just have one of each thing.

3. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?

I threw away/recycled the "stuff" I purged--at least the extra egg cartons, milk cartons, bottles, lids, etc. after I had filled the containers for my kids' activities. As for the food, I donated the baby food to the Food Bank since I no longer have a child eating baby food. I threw away the old food and I put away the extra food into food storage in the basement.

4. What creative storage solutions were you able to introduce in order to create additional space as well as establish some limits and boundaries?

I liked the boxes I found on clearance at WalMart while I was doing my organizing. They are meant for college/high school students to hold their stuff. But I thought they'd be perfect for my cook books. The shelves in my pantry are wire and so the cookbooks don't stay on them very well. The cubes helped solve that problem. They also provided an additional flat surface where I put my big pot and bowl. It is so much easier getting them out and putting them back because I don't have to stack other things on them or under them. I also looked for things that I already had and re-purposed some of my containers, such as the garbage can that is holding the taller items (kid activity items). That was great because it didn't cost me anything but it worked fabulously.

5. Why do you think you should win this challenge?

Well, honestly, look at the before picture. Would you want to tackle that one? Maybe you would. But I really didn't. It was a huge undertaking for me to do it. Not only did I have to organize all that food, but I also had to go through all the "junk" that we recycled to use for kid activities. Although it was quite overwhelming at times, I stuck to my guns and got it finished. It has been a couple of weeks now and everything is still in place. The kids even like to go in there all the time just to get their activity things now that they can find them on their own. They love it.

I love how it turned out and not to sound pompous, but I think I deserve an A for the result. I actually enjoy going into my pantry now and I love to show it off when people come over.


jen said...

Excellent job. And it looks like it can stay that way, too! Good luck.

Brandie said...

Holy Pantry! I am so jealous! I love the space!

Katie said...

Nice job! I love your labels!

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