Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our Kitchen Pantry

Yikes! Our pantry has gotten out of hand recently. I knew it was time to tackle this project again, but I admit I'd been putting it off. I wasn't discouraged so much that it had once again become disorganized. I've learned that being organized doesn't mean you never have to re-organize. I've come to accept that there's maintenance that goes along with it. It was just one of those "have-tos" on the bottom of my list. At first glance the pantry may not appear to be in too bad of shape, but I couldn't find anything and was constantly moving things from side to side trying to see behind taller items. So it wasn't working for me any longer.

Lucky for me, just as with any organization project, I knew right where to start. My SOS Method: Sort, Omit and Store.

After assessing the situation I figured it would be best to work from top to bottom. I began removing items and placing them into groups on my countertop. (I wish I would have thought to snap a picture of this stage...sorry!) Thinking in terms of the way I would use the items in cooking helped me to know what categories to SORT them into. I began removing and grouping baking items, drink mixes, sauces and condiments, canned goods and so on until the shelves were clear.

The next stage was to OMIT things I didn't need. For some of you this may mean expired items or food of questionable freshness. I usually keep up on this pretty well, so I didn't have anything too old to throw out. I did have some things I could combine, like pouring the new bag of sugar into the caniseter to save space.

A couple things I decided were better off moved to another location. Like the foil and plastic baggies found a new home in a nearby drawer with our paper plates. It's funny, I've always kept my foil and baggies in that exact spot in the pantry for over 15 years. It just never occured to me before today that they made more sense a few feet away. Be on the look out for those sort of things. Many times we get stuck in the same pattern and overlook more convenient storage options. If you're not sure, try it for a few weeks and if you don't like it there, move it back.

Next, I needed to STORE the things I intended to keep. I took a look at my different groups and mentally divided my shelves to come up with "zones" for each group. I decided I also wanted to try some plastic baskets to try to help keep things in the groups I'd worked so hard at sorting. I had a couple on hand that I had taken out of a previous re-organizing project. So, I began placing items back onto the shelves, placing some of the smaller items into the baskets.

I did end up purchasing two new baskets in a larger size for some of our sauces and baking items. But it was easy picking those out at the store because I knew what I needed when I got there. I knew from using my 3-step process, how many more baskets I needed and what size. I didn't hit the store without a plan only to come home with too many or not enough of the right kind of storage product.

One important thing you should know about this project: I only got rid of or removed a total of 4 items. This reorganization project was accomplished by utilizing the space (even as small as it is) to its best potential. I spent right around $5 on the two baskets and about 3o minutes total on the project. That's it! I finished off by adding some labels to the baskets with my label maker. Take a look around your home and see what you can tackle using the SOS Method. I'd love to see your success stories here! Please leave us a comment! I've also added a Mr. Linky if you want to post to your own blog. If you haven't registered for my SOS drawing, visit my initial post to find out more!


Marilyn Bohn said...

I was intrigued by your blog. I did the very same thing last week. Your pantry looks about as big as mine. I also find when I tweek it about every three to four months it stays pretty organized.
One thing I did that I hadn't done before which will be very helpful is I made a list of everything on the shelves so those things on the bottom shelves I will know what is 'down there'.
I think installing the slide out drawers would be great too, but I have to use the front part of my pantry for other things so I can't have them but they would be terrific.

Fia said...

I like your SOS method; it’s very easy to remember! My kitchen pantry is so chaotic that it needs a total re-organization. I’m planning to get some kitchen organizers, too, because I have stacks of items that need to be assembled accordingly. Especially if you have kids like me who love to “raid” the kitchen every now and then, it really takes a lot of effort to keep your kitchen organized.

kitchen pot rack said...

It's quite impressive.

Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

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Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.