Thursday, August 12, 2010

OCD Tendencies - Pantry organization/coordinated/adjusted/ get the picture

For the past month, my pantry has been the thorn in my right, gluteus maximus, quadrant. And let me emphasize - maximus.
It was being over-run by various can goods, cereal, and crap. Emphasize - crap. When Homeboy infiltrated every one of my kitchen cabinets and drawers, I threw the various kitchen items, which filled those cabinets and drawers, on to the very bottom and top shelves of my pantry. I was a desperate women at the time. Okay, I still am.
Please notice the "before" picture. A mish-mash of can goods, 18 cereal boxes, and service ware. Pastas were placed haphazardly on different shelves (which is criminal in my book), and jars of canned pie filling, that was from last century, were taking up significant space.
Now notice the "after" picture. A harmony of organization, sprinkled with some OCD tendencies.

Below are just a few items that were taking up space in my pantry. My collection of cook books, solidified Karo Syrup, and the hub's muscle, meal replacement, crap.

Okay, the cook book collection has gotten a little out of hand. I can hear you now, "A LITTLE, JEN?!?!?!" And the solidified Karo Syrup was stuck in the very back of a corner that has not seen daylight for 72 months. Poor neglected, disgusting, Karo Syrup. And the muscle, meal replacement crap... well those things just annoy me. We have 3, count them, 3 of those stupid, humongous, plastic, bottles. They are too big and oddly shaped. But I have to keep those things, cause the hubs likes to keep his manly, chiseled, shape.

(click on image, below, to get a close-up look at the solidified Karo Syrup. It's for entertainment purposes.)

I decided to go through all of my cook books and donated the ones that I have never used. One of the books that I just could not part with, was my binder from my Home Management class, that I took, when I attended RICKS college. Back in the stone ages. This binder contains all kinds of info! You want to learn how to can? It's in there. You want to learn some first aid? That's in there, also. And if you want to learn how to carve a melon into a swan...that's in there too. Cause I'm sure all of you want to learn how to carve melons. I threw out that section.
And then there was this mysterious cook book, below on the right. I have no idea how I obtained this cook book. Favorites From Our House to Yours. I have a question...whose house, exactly, is this from? And how about that snazzy, seventies-ish, fictitious, wood-grain, cover. Groovy.
It's one of those cook books that you receive from a family reunion, or your ward's Relief Society. However, I did not recognize anyone's names. The majority of the names included, Ethels, Marjories, an Agnes or two, and some Maudes.
Who are these master, mavens of meal planning?!?!?!?!
Sadly, I threw that book into the DI box also.

A lot of "experts" recommend emptying your entire pantry onto your counters, when you are cleaning and re-organizing it. I can't do this. It's too much chaos for me and I know I will begin to hyperventilate. So I worked on one shelf at a time.

I emptied the shelf and then wiped it clean.

Below are some pictures of my favorite organization tools that I used for my pantry.

  • Shelf liners - protects the shelf surface and much easier to keep clean. And check out the black and white shelf liner that I bought at Target. Cute!
  • Containers - containers are just plain awesome. They make me feel like Martha Stewart, you can put labels on them and they help preserve your food items.
  • Shelf Risers - they provide an extra surface to place pantry items and they help use un-used space. Love those things. I buy mine from Walmart. Cause Walmart is the land of cheap.
  • Baskets - The basket in my pantry holds my Scentsy square things, lighters, and other junk. Baskets are also great because they can hide your crap.
  • Label Maker - "Oh label maker... hallowed be thine name!" If I didn't fear the possibility of being institutionalized for labeling the items in the kitchen garbage can, I would.
  • Buckets - Good for food storage and I love the lids with the spin tops.
Tips for pantry bliss:
  • Place "like" items together - pastas and cereals together, baking items together, canned goods placed together. It provides for a cohesive environment!
  • Place heavy and large items on the bottoms shelf.
  • Place items that you do not use often, on the top shelf.
  • Throw away expired food items!
  • Donate your unused crap! It's a waste of space and energy.

Organizing and cleaning your pantry can save time and money! You will save time by not having to dig through unnecessary containers and the items will be easy to reach. It can help save money by you knowing what exactly you have in your pantry. Take my Karo Syrup, for example. I had three bottles of Karo Syrup! I had no idea I already had an opened bottle hiding behind some boxes of pasta! I'm a genius.

My challenge to all of you, except for Kim, (Kim already cleaned her pantry! She is an inspiration!) is to get cleaning, get chucking, and get organizing! And I promise that every time you open your pantry door, you will feel the merriment of pantry bliss!

Or is that just me, who feels that way?


  1. It is much easier on the eyes to have everything organized in the pantry. My pantry is also my kitchen cleaning cabinet too and the two really don't mix, but I have no other storage places yet. Oh, it is also my game closet. So I can get a broom, checkers and popcorn all in one trip!

  2. Once again you have inspired me, as soon as I clean up the lunch dishes, the craft mess, the sleep-over remains in the basement, clean and feed the babies I'M GOING TO CLEAN the pantry!! REALLY it's been driving me NUTS (as if that wasn't already a done deal). I may even take pictures.

  3. You are so organized! If you ever run out things to organize, I have lots of fun stuff at my house to get put together :)
    You are an inspiration, Jen!!

  4. AHHHH, How I love your clean pantry. I "try" to clean mine out every 6 months, but it ends up being about once a year. Thanks for all the tips, now I'm anxious to go clean out my pantry.

  5. Great tips! And your pantry looks beautiful!! :) It almost makes me want to dig into mine today! Almost!

  6. Your not the only one that feels that way... my pantry is a mess and has been a mess since baby Presley was born. That's going on 17 months of nasty messy disorganization, and yes it drives me crazy every time I open the pantry.
    I'm not sure you can even call my "pantry" a pantry, its literally 12" deep by 14" wide, it's the tiniest thing I have ever seen, might be why crap is just thrown in there. I long for the day I can have a pantry that fits normal size food :)

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  9. I feel the same way about my husband's ginormous bags of protein powder. I mean, really? Do we need an industrial-sized bag of that nasty mix? The least they could do is make the packaging prettier to look at rather than a wrestling match in a bag. Since I am currently without pantry, I will tuck this post away for when I can finally stock my shelves with orderly conduct! Those cook books...fantastic.

  10. Haha!! you crack me up! I DO love the containers. They make me feel good. Like I'm an organized person or something. And throwing that cereal box that only has a tiny bit of cereal in it - just enough that someone would look in there and wonder who ate all of their favorite cereal and only left the powdered stuff (rude) - in the recycling box makes me happy.

    I love your shelf liner. You rule!!

    OH! And I love those old timey cookbooks! Next time you feel the need to purge send them my way. (I like to read cookbooks more than I like to actually cook stuff from them.)

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