My pantry has always been basically organized. Canned goods in one area, bottles in another, pasta in another, boxed stuff somewhere else and Ziplocks and other random stuff strewn on the extra spaces. But this weekend I took the time to really organize my pantry. What a great experience. Here's how I went about it:
1. Make a list of everything I could see in the pantry - boxed stuff, cans, drinks, cereal, brooms, storage bags, seasoning packets, snack food, baby bibs, baby food jars, extra cans of formula, etc. etc.
2. Organize the list into a few categories. Here's what I came up with, you may have these same ones or others:
- Breakfast - cereal, Bisquick, syrup (you may also have things like oatmeal, granola bars, etc)
- Baking - flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, shortening, vegetable oil, cake mixes, frosting cans, oatmeal
- Desert - jello, pudding, ice cream cones, chocolate syrup (extra)
- Cooking - pasta, pasta sauce, taco shells, canned goods, soup cans, soup packages, packets of seasoning, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil (extra jar - I keep a handy pour bottle right by the stove), kosher salt, corn starch, bread crumbs, flax seed, rice, potatoes
- Snacks - popcorn, chips, canned fruit (the kids love this for snacks), crackers
- Drinks - 12 packs of soda, juice, juice boxes, drink packets (like crystal light or Kool-aid), bottled water, pitchers
- Baby Stuff - bibs, formula cans (extra), baby food, baby snacks (puffs, teether biscuits)
- Storage - Ziplock bags, foil & plastic wrap (extra - I keep these handy to the fridge/oven for everyday use)
- Cleaning - broom, mop, steam mop, paper towels
- Linens - table clothes, napkins, runners
- Party stuff - paper plates, plastic silverware, plastic cups
3. Make a note of any kind of storage container I need but don't already have - sealable plastic bins for powdered and brown sugar (I already have them for sugar & flour), shelf racks to add extra space for storing cans, an over-the-door hanger for linens.
4. Take everything out one shelf at a time and clean the shelf and replace it with what is going on that shelf. Add labels where appropriate. In the end my shelves ended up as:
- Top Left - Breakfast
- Top Right - Baking (big stuff - sugars, flour)
- 2nd Left - Baking (small stuff - cake mixes, cans of frosting) & Dessert
- 2nd Right - Cooking - boxes & pastas
- 3rd Left - Snacks
- 3rd Right - Cooking - cans & bottles
- 4th Left - Drinks
- 4th Right - Storage & Potatoes (in a metal bin)
- Bottom (floor) - Paper Towels & Party (all fit very nicely into an old diaper box that I can pull out when needed)
- Hanging - Linens, Brooms/Mops
5. Add special containers for easily lost things. An old kids shoe box was the perfect size for holding all those seasoning packets and another for hot cocoa packets. Old snack boxes are just right for holding all those open bags of crackers.
6. Head to the store (with coupon) to buy all the storage things I didn't have at home
I'll post a picture for you tomorrow.