Hi, my name is Chelsea. I am not an organized person. In fact, I may be one of the least organized people you know. I am referring only to my house (and car) though. I keep a very detailed planner, I stay on top of things for Jansen’s school, and my work is always on time. My house is a mess.
And no, I am not one of those actual organized people who say that they are disorganized. Sure, their house looks immaculate but “you haven’t seen my Tupperware cabinet! And there is a box in my closet that hasn’t been touched in a year!” No. I have a room that hasn’t been touched in a year. That’s me.
But my goal for 2013 is happiness, and getting organized would make me happy.
I am not writing this post because I think I am an expert or I have a billion tips that you can’t find anywhere else but here. I am writing this because there are a few unlucky souls out there, JUST LIKE ME, who have the curse of the deep pantry. Deep pantries are awful and depressing. So much wasted space!! They are overwhelming and they make you lose food. Somehow cans of chicken broth and boxes of microwave popcorn make their way to that back to grow old, and you only discover them after it is too late.
I had enough. It was time to do something about my stupid deep pantry. One day we will gut it and make something custom in that space, but I needed a quick fix. And cheap! So on Friday, I tackled my terrible pantry and I am just please as punch with the result!
This cost me $4.
Check out this image I made, y’all. This blog is going places. Move over PW.
Seriously. I can’t believe I even posted that.
Okay. So the trick to a deep pantry is compartmentalizing. Even if the bins and boxes are full and don’t have an exact category, make them anyway. (Seriously, who are these people who can fill beautiful clear containers labeled with custom images with oats, 4 kinds of flour, raisins, cocoa, and organic Goldfish?? What do those people actually eat??)
I gathered empty containers from around my house. The two white ones were once under the bathroom sink, the small brown one has farm animals glued to the side of it and used to
belong to Jansen, the green one was used at his Wheel of Fortune birthday party, there is a box lid from something I got in the mail, etc. They don’t match. If you want to spend more than $4 on your pantry, go ahead and buy matching boxes.
I first emptied my pantry, putting things around the kitchen in semi-categories. (Jansen walked in and said, “OH. MY. GOSH! Mommy making a mess!”) Canned
goods, baking stuff, snacks, sides, etc. I checked all expiration dates (did you know that lard expires?!) and threw away about $582 worth of food. I’m probably not exaggerating.
Once I had it in sections, I was able to see how much space I’d need. The first thing I realized that that I needed A LOT of space for canned goods. I do semi once a month grocery shopping, so we eat canned veggies often. We also have a bunch of canned fruit since it is so great for toddler lunches. That stuff takes up space. I decided to use the top draw in the right pantry for my cans. Years ago, I bought that rolling drawer thing at Sam’s because I previously had a giant open closet pantry thing that was impossible to use. I wrote the name of the food on the top of each can so I could see it at a glance.
Everything else was simply sorted into boxes. I spent my $4 on those lovely tall canisters on the bottom shelf. They hold oatmeal packets, animal crackers, fruit loops, and something else that I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to get up and look. Side note, have you ever been to a Dollar Tree? Everything is a dollar. Seriously! Unlike the $.99+ Only store by my house that is not always one dollar but always smells like attic. You can get a yellow plastic bowl at Dollar Tree for $1 and the exact same bowl at $.99+ Only for $1.69. WHAT A SCAM!
(I am so bad at making collages that I swapped the photos. In real life, the white wire drawers are on the right and the actual shelves are on the left. Sheesh.)
I also have two smaller pantry doors on top. If I didn’t measure in at 6 feet tall, those would probably be really annoying. Well, they are really annoying since they are deep and tall and mostly unusable, but I am still able to make due with some of the space.
I put a wire shelf in one cabinet so I am able stack things.
See? Not too terrible.
If I have one bit of advice for all my fellow deep pantry peeps out there, it is this: Just because you HAVE the space, doesn’t mean you should USE it. I now use about 50% of each shelf. If I use any more, things will get lost and I will waste money. Keep everything close to the front and if it isn’t something quickly recognizable (ketchup, syrup, etc.) be sure it is in a bin that you can easily browse.
Hope that helps! If you have any other tips, share them with me please.