January always feels like the perfect time to organize our lives and homes for the new year.
Home organization is not necessarily my strong suit, but I have learned that having a specific place to put everything away is key. We moved into our new house in June of last year, and the pantry has been a mess ever since then! In our old house, we had a small pantry for food in the kitchen and built-in shelves in our laundry room which held homeschooling materials, craft supplies, dog food, paper towels, and everything else that needed storing! Our new house does not have any laundry room storage. The pantry, however, is large enough to hold more than just food. Up until now, the shelves have been a cluttered collection of items…
Before: (Wow, this is embarrassing!)
This shelf was the worst mess – an assortment of straws, playdough, craft supplies, plastic forks and spoons, cleaning products, and medicines.
And the food shelf before:
Before getting to work, I headed to the store to buy some supplies! This project had to cost as little as possible, and yet it needed to be done. I figured that the savings from not re-buying things we already had would pay for the cost of organizing! At Target, I purchased three white dishpans for $1.97 each and four plastic baskets at $2.47 each. I also purchased a clear box with a lid for our playdough supplies. The total was under $20.
The disaster shelf after organizing:
Wow, so much better!
Here’s what I did for the disaster shelf:
- One plastic dishpan now holds preschool supplies. These had previously been piled up on the shelf. The dishpan corrals bubbles, balloons, funnels, clothespins, seasonal cookie cutters, and other items that I want to have on hand for the younger boys.
- Another dishpan holds a collection of seasonal paper plates and special occasion paper napkins. No more piles!
- I used one white basket for everyday napkins. The boys set the table, and when they take napkins out of the package, they tend to grab too many and leave a trail of extras on the floor. The basket makes it so much easier for little hands to grab just a few.
- Our boxes of straws and plastic silverware are now corralled in another white basket.
- I used a third basket to contain light bulbs of various types.
The food shelf after:
This shelf looked so much better after simply clearing out boxes of cereal that had less than one bowl full in them, etc. However, I am very happy with two parts of my organization efforts.
This basket contains all opened bags (walnuts, slivered almonds, craisins, etc.). So much neater than piles!
I also added a dishpan for storing potatoes and onions.
It’s easy to tell how many potatoes we have at a glance so that I’m not buying too many, or assuming we have potatoes on hand when we don’t.
My husband and I have cleaned out the pantry multiple times in the past, but it always migrates back to the previous mess within days. Having the appropriate storage containers is really helping us keep things neat this time!