I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
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Friday, February 11, 2011

DEcLuTTeR YoUr MiNd and PaNtrY! Homemaker, Organizing my Pantry. Who knew it would also take the stress and anxiety out of my head?

I am updating this blog today, Aug. 29th because I had told some of my friends who also wanted to organize their kitchens that I would post the finished product once I was done... and then I forgot. Recently I had one ask me about which items did I buy and how is this "declutter of the pantry" holding out today? So, I added several photos newly taken and posted today (Aug. 29). And for the record, it is working out great!
How to Declutter Your Mind and Pantry at the same Time:
I have been on a roll trying to organize the house. It has been very good for me to declutter and let go of some things. I was not a hoarder in the past, but since becoming a widow; it became more difficult to stay organized.  
Even though I happily remarried; I am just now able to get back to a cleaner environment. It is kind of crazy how our homes can reflect the turmoil within our own minds. 
Out with the old clutter, and in with the new clean, open spaces and internal feelings. Open to see a future. So, not only open to once again get organized, but open to allow the fun of a future, the fun of allowing new things in. I think the “stuff” is our way of protecting ourselves. Wanting nothing to change, as if you can trick yourself into thinking all the negative stuff didn’t happen.
I am stating this upfront because I have many widow friends who read this and I want them to know, I understand how hard it is.
Besides working on my own "Grey Matter," like the name of the painting pictured above; today I worked on my pantry:
As you can see in the picture, this is the typical mess after a wk-end of all the kids being here. Yes, how embarassing to show everyone. I try to be real, so this is our "real" mess: 
I began by just trying to see my hardwood floor:
 WaLa... there it is, I knew it was there! The floor!
Here you can see one of my solutions to the trouble:

The basket tier on the right is for Kid Snacks. Before they rarely put them back on the shelf, now they have a place of their own. This tier I found on sale at Hobby Lobby for $13.99, regular price was $39.99! I was thrilled! 
And this is what the 2 teir kid's caddy looks like today (Aug. 29):

Cereal Containers, kid proofed:
Next to the Kid's Snack Basket, are color cordinated tubs for the kids cereals. The cereal boxes were not working, so I went to tubs. They were purchased at Publix. However, because they did not have a spot on the shelve; they never made it to the shelves. Red is for the Kids; blue lids are what I keep my cat food in and they are in the laundry room. But, that is another story and project. ;-)

Here are the cereal containers today:
They still work well. The cardboard boxes usually became bent up, torn and would not close, because the
kids wouldn't take the time to open and close them without tearing the tops, lol.

 Here is a picture of all the spices that I keep on the wall. This is a huge help because we cook a lot and at a glance I can find whatever I need. Here is a close up view of the herbs in jars: 

Here is a second solution for our family. Our crackers and chips did not have a place, so the kids kinda left them wherever... Now in a square basket they will have a place to put all chips and crackers! Our two biggest problems are now solved. It will be a lot easier for them to keep the pantry clean with specific places for their most frequent food items.

Here is the chip and cracker basket today:
It still works really well. All that loose stuff has a place. I use old drug clips that I gained from my drug rep. days. But, you can get some jumbo clips at the grocery store. It helps them stay fresh much longer, because the kids will use the clips. Without the clips they would not even seal the bags, rolled tight and they would get stale after one opening/use. I guess the clips are more fun?

The toaster is kept plugged in on this shelf, it is easy to use for bread and poptarts. The wire basket will keep the instant hot cererals together, Ben likes those. Pancakes are a regular breakfast in our house because the kids love them. The mix sits next to the wire basket. You can see the bags of dried beans, chickpeas and lentils; I have three plastic container's in the dishwasher to hold them. They are retangular and I purchased them today at Publix. Their lids are of the same red shade as the cereal containers. They will then stack a lot better, so I'm not completely done yet.

Here are the plastic containers that I purchased and washed. The pancake mix is on the left in the tall container, with the instructions cut out, sitting in front. Today the beans and nuts look like this:

Here are all the rices, orzo, and risotto.

For the bagged rices, I purchased a few containers. Today the rices look like this:
In the long skinny red lid one, on the far left is my oatmeal. I kept the instructions, note the cardboard in the front. It tells how to make oatmeal, lol. In the shinny metal container, my corn meal is housed. Patrick bought it for me. Lol, I did not have the heart to let him know that round does not fit as well into a small space. But, fyi to you, square is much better for efficient stacking and space saving. ;-)

Here are my most used cooking liquids, within easy and quick reach to use while cooking. ;-)
And here are the liquids that I would use less often, up a little higher. On the very top are appliances and cooking items that I use less often. You can see canning jars that I will use when Summer returns, cookie cutters are on the far left in two large plastic tubs and my bread machine is up there.
In the pantry on the upper right is a large pull out with selves on it and behind it. I like to keep the flour and sugar in tubs, the kids popcorn is here, as well as their favorite syrup, to go with those frequent pancakes.

Flour tubs today, each tub is a different kind of flour because I like to bake. (The wholegrain flour I keep in a container in the freezer to save it from bugs):

Canned Goods:
Behind the henged doors are the canned food, facing out, so that I can see what we have verses what to pick up at the store. I arranged them into their appropriate categories; simply keeping in mind what goes together. Baking supplies as one group, canned soups as another, all kinds of pasta are together, canned fruit and etc.

I also purchased containers to hold all my various pastas:
These are so much easier to stack than the loose bags they come in --from the grocery store:

Making use of the door into the pantry:
Small items like various liquid extracts and Pam cooking spray are housed on the top shelving unit. I have to many pan lids, I know. And I have just as many pans to go with each lid. I said earlier that I am not a hoarder, however, the exception may be in my cooking supplies. Baby steps... ;-) The lids are on pan lid racks, three in total are hung on the door. And a key chain holder that I use for my older kids stray keys. Right now they hold fun chilly peppers. ;-D
A close up of the top shelf:

Today's pics of the pantry:
 I know some of my friends were skeptical if it would all stay organized. It does because the kids have a place for everything, making it easy to put it back into the right place.

Ahh, now that feels better. A clean pantry!
Now to tell the kids!