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How much stuff can you really get into a pantry?

The question in the title of the post was a serious one.  Last weekend I found out.  It’s spring and I want to get things organized and cleaned out.  The pantry was high on my list of priorities.  I cook a lot.  However, since our lives have gotten just a little bit busier this year, I am not the only one cooking anymore.  This caused some drama in our house.  Calls and texts to me while in a meeting to ask where the rice was needed to stop.  I’m going to disclaimer this and let you know that the next couple of pictures are awful!  When I say I cleaned out the pantry, I really cleaned it out.  Everything came off the shelves, shelves were wiped down and lists of items were made.  For an entire afternoon no one could go in or out of our small kitchen.  It was me, food, and even a few tears.

So here are the before shots.  Laugh at will.

I told you it was a mess in my kitchen!  It got cleaned up though and now everything can be easily found!  One of the things we did while cleaning up was to go through and get rid of food that we knew we weren’t going to eat anymore.  The food just isn’t part of our lives and needed to go.  So, we loaded it up and took it to the local food pantry.  It was good food, just not part of our lifestyle anymore.  The next step was to get everything into kid friendly containers.  I don’t like boxes of cereal, so they went into Tupperware containers.  I put all the rice together into a plastic shoe container I had purchased at Wal-Mart a while back for something else (I actually had 8 of them, so several were used).  Next we put all the baking supplies into containers and located them to a top shelf.  We really don’t make a lot of sweets, so I didn’t want those taking up room.

Now, if you look at the pantry “after” pictures you’re still going to see some boxes and cans of foods that aren’t exactly great for you.  However, as is everything in life, moderation is key.  I love Cajun and Creole cooking and since I have yet to replicate it at home (and have it taste good), I will always keep some Zatarain’s on hand.  Same thing with scalloped potatoes.  I just can’t make them.  I don’t know why.  So, I buy a couple boxes at Aldi and keep them on hand for those times when I want to make them.

I took some ideas from Pinterest and started a “after school snack” bucket.  This is working out wonderfully!  I no longer have to wait on the kids when they get home.  They now choose their own after school snack from the bucket.  I keep some homemade granola bars in there.  There are also peanut butter crackers, Goldfish, and pretzels.  For these items I either make them and put them into snack bags or buy a large container and then portion them out.  Snack bags get recycled and refilled.  It’s a win-win for us!

Sadly, in cleaning out the pantry I realized that I don’t touch a lot of my cookbooks anymore.  I had several that were “brand name food” specific and since we don’t purchase those types of items anymore there really isn’t a reason to keep the cookbook around.  Off to the Goodwill they went.

All together, we donated 5 bags of items to various places.  It was wonderful to get all that done.  Now I won’t be the only one who is able to do the cooking.  Everything is easily accessible and almost anyone can come into my kitchen and cook.  I consider that a huge accomplishment!

Here’s the after pictures.  Almost everything was finished when I took these.  I still had to put together the snack bucket, but otherwise, it still looks like this!

Next project is getting my laundry area downstairs in order.  I wish I was kidding, but there are still boxes of stuff that we haven’t opened from when we moved into our home 3 1/2 years ago.  Those boxes need. to. go.
How is your spring cleaning coming along?  Do you spring clean?  Have you ever done a major overhaul of something?  Share!

1 comment

  1. Andrea@mommyconfessionsblog says:

    Nice…So when are you doing mine next?

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