4.10.2012

POYEL: Project 1 Decluttering The Kitchen

Yes, I'm still trekking along with Project Organize Your Entire Life (POYEL).  Nothing has given me more satisfaction than working on these organizational projects.  I think most of my adult life I've held a sweet spot for crazy organization, and the more people I meet the more I learn how common this is.  However, it is mostly females, do males carry a torch for organization as well?

Anyone, my next step in this awesome project has been the kitchen.  This is perfect since this is where I feel we, as a family, spends a majority of the time.  In open concept living the kitchen is as ubiquitous as the family room the kids hang out in it, they play on the floor, guests pull up a bar stool and hang out at the counter its just part of everyday life around here.  I don't want to pat myself on the back or anything but most of my kitchen is pretty organized, thanks to fantastic storage.  My pantry, plastic storage drawer, spice cabinet and weird little counter nook that houses things like coffee maker, liquor, bread and other random crap is another story.  But for now I'm focusing on the pantry.

As much as I wish, hope and fantasize about a glorious, beautiful chrome shelved walk-in pantry I do NOT have that.  What I do have is a pretty decent sized pantry cabinet with a handful of deep shelves and a spice rack and pocket (for things like ziplocks, foil etc...) attached to the inside of the door.  In the past I would try to organize it:  Lining up all the canned goods, grouping them together and labels facing out; pasta boxes grouped, one shelf for things like flour, sugar, sauce mixes etc.... but it never stayed that way.  If something I needed was behind another item I would shuffle things about, get out what I needed and then just shove it back in where ever there was space.  So basically my pantry was a big 'ol mess.  I was embarrassed if anyone saw in that cabinet, although I did make it a point to never open it when people were over.  I mean things would die in that cabinet.  If something got pushed to the back, forget it, it would never see the light of day again until I decided to clean the cabinet out (and you see how that process works out!).  

So much to my joy decluttering this pantry for project one of POYEL was my pleasure!
I took inventory of the types of things I keep in my pantry.  Lots of dried pasta, a few canned goods (okay this is where I have to come clean.  I buy most of my heavily used canned goods from Costco.  So yes they are in cases and I only bring in one or two cans at a time and store the rest on a shelf in my garage.  Therefore I never really have a ton of canned goods in my pantry at any one time), some bottled items, sauce mixes, sauce packets, some non-perishable boxed items, bulk food grains.  Not to bad, yet I was still able to make a horrifying mess out of it.  

I thought long and hard about how best to organize it.  I could resort to something similar to my old method, but in the end, and after looking at countless photos of "pantry organization" on pinterest  I decided to continue with my use of Oxo POP containers, snapware and plastic bins to corral items.  

I've been using the Oxo POP contianers for years now and I really do love them.  Of all the various food storage containers I've tried out I love them the most.  They are awesome for storing anything and everything.  I keep a few of them in the small kid snack pantry cabinet we keep.  It seals all the snacks away and its super easy for kids to open and shut on their own, even 2 year old Crash can do it and I can always count on the foods staying fresh because the kids are able to adequately close the container back up.

I digress.  I headed out to one of my favorite storage spots, Storables, with list in hand and shopped.  I bought a few more Oxo POP containers and about 6 storage bins.  Little did I know I was under-buying and even though I'm posting this now I still need to go back and pick up a few more bins, large square Oxo POP containers and a couple more snapware containers.  But I can confidently say my pantry makeover is 99% complete and am thrilled with the results!  I think this new method of organization will be able to stand the test of time;  similarly used items are grouped together in one bin and nothing is stuffed into a bin. Every item has there teensy little space!  This new organization method should also help me inventory items i'm missing when it comes to replenishing what I have on hand.  

So you wanna see the BEFORE PHOTO?  Don't be scared......
What did I tell ya?  Total disaster zone.  It really looks like a tornado ran through the pantry and turned everything upside down and inside out.  I'm kind of embarrassed that I've even posted this photo and just didn't opt in to showing your the after picture.
And now here's the AFTER
Ta Daaaaa!  Everything has its place.  Not to point out the flaws but you can see where I need 1 or 2 more bins to corral some items.  Nothing major but still, I'm happy with the results.  I choose not to label all the bins, since the bins are translucent and I've grouped similarly used items it's not difficult to find things in here.  I used the Oxo  POP containers for things like brown sugar, flour, bread flour and pasta, easy to see whats in them and most of the containers have openings large enough to accommodate a measuring scooper.  Why I only bought one snapware container is beyond me, I'm using the one to hold the bulk granola that I buy and I need a few more of similar size for more bulk items that I buy like polenta.  

This here are the built in shelves on the inside of the cabinet door.  Technically that top rack is a spice rack, and yes, it used to hold all my spices but not anymore.  I had to many spices (which really isn't a lot) in there that it actually got to heavy for the door and a couple of the hinges gave out.  So now my spices are elsewhere (and will be its own post some day).  Anyway, the top rack is holding smaller items that would get lost on the shelves like instant coffee for baking, gelatin, nutella, tiny packets of seasonings, sea salts etc....  The bottom pocket keeps all my boxed food storage items like foil, parchment paper and ziplocks.

So all in all I think I was successful at this project.  What do you think?  Do you see room for improvement?  when I get the extra containers the cabinet will look slightly different and probably better organized to what I have now and I'll post an updated photo just to round out and complete project 1.

Next project will be decluttering the small stuff.  I hope to be able to include:
  • master bath medicine cabinet
  • master bath small storage cabinet
  • spice cabinet in the kitchen 
  • the plastic "tupperware" drawer

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