Pantry: Part One
I am NOT the most organized person, but sometimes I have really amazing ideas (stolen from Pinterest) and completely impress myself with the fact that I carry them out! Most recently, I redid our pantry and also my craft room closet. I’m so happy with the results of both. Today, I bring you Part One of my special two part series about our pantry make over! Part One will cover our system and what containers we use, and Part Two will cover what is actually IN the containers. Also, I will sneak in pictures of the boys just to keep my mom happy.
A few months ago, when I was 8 months pregnant (read: huge, uncomfortable, and miserable) we had a mouse infestation. This was discovered when I moved the toaster oven on top of our counter and found mouse poop. Upon further investigation, it was determined that they had been eating out of our pantry.
After reading about ways to keep mice OUT of your pantry, we realized that we had basically just been attracting them with our mishmash of opened packages. So, we decided to do a complete over haul and reorganize everything. (I had only been pinning pantry organization plans for 2 years, so I guess it was about time!) I was not necessarily excited about the task of redoing our entire pantry while pregnant and entertaining a toddler, however now that I have two of them, I’m realizing how easy I had it back when it was just FVB!
The first step to getting organized (and in our case, sanitized) was to empty the entire pantry. Our pantry is basically a deep closet with shelves. It’s not ideal, because the shelves are deep, making it hard to see what you have in there. The sliding racks do help! During the clean out, we discovered that the mice had clearly been enjoying our pantry as a “dine in” restaurant for quite some time WITHOUT US KNOWING. This meant that mice had been in and out of our pantry, climbing over our food containers, and peeing/pooping as they pleased. We discovered two small peanut butter packs had been chewed through, licked clean, and left behind.
After completely emptying everything out, cleaning with bleach, throwing out roughly 50% of the items, and crying a little bit, it was time to get organized. We probably went about a week with everything out of the pantry while we measured, figured out a good system, shopped for and purchased the containers, and created/printed the labels. OK, fine, 2 weeks.
Important details to know:
Containers: We use all glass or plastic storage containers. I love mason jars and I also repurposed glass jars from things like salsa, peanut butter, and jam. Hubs HATES how many glass jars that I save and reuse, but he was very thankful that we had them around when it came time to organize the pantry! His main concern has having things look alike. My main concern was cost. In addition to repurposing what we already had, we also bought containers from Target, Walmart, and Dollar Tree. My favorite repurposed ones are the little jam ones with red and white tops. The jam is called Bonne Maman and it’s delicious- FVB approved!- so it’s a win/win. FVB enjoys the jam and I enjoy repurposing the jars.
From Walmart: Canning Jars
From Dollar Tree: Small Glass Containers
Labels: We bought these really awesome labels made by Avery at Walmart. You go online to their site and choose your design, then create your labels and print. I was able to do this project and my craft room project using one pack of these.
Set up: The basic system is that everything goes into (labeled) containers. No opened packages allowed, because this attracts the pests into your pantry! (I made an exception for coffee beans, because I just don’t think the mice will be attracted to them). We use the two bins on the top shelf to store opened items, (it can be labeled on the outside with dry erase markers). When we get something from the store, we fill the glass jars first, then store the extra, refilling the jars until the extra is gone and it’s time to buy more! I love this system because it’s easy to see what we have and saves us from trying to store a bunch of opened bags. The only trouble that I sometimes have is getting the storage boxes down off of the top shelf, getting what I need, and putting them back. Especially while baby wearing. I wish I could store the containers side by side, or at the bottom, but until we no longer have dog food to store, top shelf it is!
Stayed tuned for next week’s installment to find out what we always have on hand in our pantry. Hint: much of it is food that is NOT on FVB’s list of favorite things, which currently is: Toast, jelly, fruit, hummus, and crackers. Oh, and Tofutti sour cream. I can’t wait until he grows out of this picky stage! Luckily he’s cute.
Have a great rest of the week!