While keeping my brother and sister this weekend I realized our pantry has had Casper the ghost in there, because it was a disaster! For lunch, I went to the pantry to make yet another PB&J for the kiddos (and myself). Here was the process- open the door, reach for the bread and peanut butter, close the door and ignore the disaster the pantry has transformed into. Easy, peasy.
Now I do not do well with clutter, so this process could only go on so long before I broke.
It was time to reclaim the pantry.
Here are the steps my family took based off of simple steps for a clutter-free *pantry*.
The problem area was identified: the pantry (a.k.a. home to Casper)
Step 2- PURGE
Expired? There is no reason to keep salsa that a) the kids refuse to eat and b) expired a year and a half ago.
Already Opened? We had three cinnamon pop tart boxes and all three of them were opened. I combined those and made a note to put them at the front of the rack and eye-level for the youngsters.
The “what even is this”? Have you ever had to purchase an ingredient for one recipe? Maybe it was a spice for a Thanksgiving turkey. Or some type of bean for the latest diet you tried. OK good for you for trying something new- but are you going to use it again? No. Throw it away- it will be okay.
Step 3- Organize
Oh, boy, was I thriving! We all want pretty things- I want mine pretty AND organized.
We began by grouping things by similarity and usefulness. If the food was consumed mainly by the adults or used for cooking it went to the top. The snacks and ingredients for school lunches were in the middle. The bottom held bigger items and containers. Baking supplies moved to the top shelf because they are only used by, well me. Pop Tarts, oatmeal, and other breakfast bars were above the middle because everyone eats them. And the snacks for school lunches were near the bottom for the kids to grab. Also, their lunch boxes fit nicely on the rack as well.
Step 4- Materials
We didn’t buy anything new for this project. We reused what we had (thank you Costco boxes!). Individual bags of chips went into larger boxes and on the ground. Granola bars were combined into cardboard boxes as well. The goal is to contain things so you know what you have and not to waste any of your food.
Step 5- Assigning
Like I said, the chips were on the ground because the box was so big. The granola bars were separated into two groups- 1) what my sister eats 2) what my brother eats. The sliced bread was also put into one box. To make sure that you avoid opening multiple loaves of bread- keep the foods where they are assigned. In our house, we tend to open a loaf of bread and throw it wherever, then someone else comes and opens another loaf. This leads to a lot of opened bread and normally one of the loaves molds. So keeping things where they are assigned saves money (mom was right).
Step 6- Keep It Up
I really hope it stays organized- with a new season approaching it may require some tweaking. The selection of foods will change, especially when summer break arrives. But the goal is to put things back where you grabbed them from and when we buy groceries to make sure we assess any damage done. We will let Casper stay as long as he stays friendly.