The Big Reveal, Part 2: The Big Pantry Reorganization Project

By Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My last post was an introduction to two organization posts – one about my pantry, and the other about the mini-Shoppers Drug Mart I have in my linen closet. More on that later. This post is about the big pantry reorganization project I undertook a couple weeks ago.

Basically, the pantry was getting out of hand. I wasn’t putting things back where they belonged and everything was in the wrong place. To sum it up, the pantry was a mess. See for yourself in the mini-gallery below.

Organized chaos? More like just chaos. It got to the point where I had no idea what I had in there… so I was buying duplicates, which is a total money-waster. I also wasn’t planning my meals around what I had (as suggested in this post), but buying all new things to make recipes every week. Not economical and therefore not sensible.

So, one night a few weeks ago, I decided to gut the pantry. Completely. I’ve reorganized it before, but I’ve never gutted it since we moved in two years ago. It was time.

I began taking things out and putting them in groups – pasta sauces, pop, baking stuff, crackers… As you can see, I fit a lot of food into that pantry. It’s deceivingly big.

The numbers? Four bags of sugar, seven boxes of salt, five jars of pasta sauce, 11 types of pasta and three types of rice… Oh and 10 litres of olive oil. For the record, it was all – obviously – on sale.

I had to figure out a way to make things more visible and accessible. The first step was grouping similar items together. The second step as making use of the mason jars I bought to store ingredients I’d bought in bulk.

Mason jars

I filled and labeled them all. Way more organized and easier to find than the random bags that were thrown on various shelves.

At one point, when the pantry was almost completely empty, I looked around and wanted to give up. I couldn’t believe I actually had to put all this crap back into the pantry. Taking it out was exhausting enough!

Disaster

But, I pushed forward. The most complicated part was the spices. I have so many. You name it, I’ve got it. A little while ago I got this great Lazy Susan at HomeSense, and that works well, but I can’t fit all my spices on it, so I put the most commonly used ones there, in alphabetical order. People who do not organize their spices by name infuriate me – how do you ever find anything!?

Once the spices were done, it was downhill from there. I just had to intelligently put things back into the pantry in a way that made sense. Most commonly used ingredients at eye level. Heavy things at the bottom. Once I got going, it wasn’t so bad.

After a while, things were looking up. Much better.

Here’s a nifty before & after to give you an idea of the progress I made.

It should be noted that I threw a few things out (mostly empty boxes) and amalgamated and consolidated duplicates (i.e. combined two jars of paprika into one). That cut things down big time.

Now, when I go into my pantry, I can hear angels singing! It’s glorious. Knowing what I have and where everything is makes meal planning, grocery lists and cooking a thousand times easier.

Stay tuned for the next edition of The Big Reveal…!

Is it time to re-organize your pantry? Share you story below!

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