Pantry organization!

pantry - after

My brother gave me a $75 gift certificate to the Container Store for xmas. Here's what I bought! This totaled a bit more than $75 but I feel was really worth it. There are three sizes of container here, the two large 8x8x4 ones on the bottom, four 8x4x4 long ones stacked on top, and eight 4x4x4 smaller containers. So I actually have more room behind each of the small ones. I am amazed at how much room this gave me!

I wish I'd bought a few more for the bagged stuff on the left, but they don't fit well in that cabinet. I'm thinking I might move some of that into one of my cabinets with doors and put dishes or something pretty there since those bags are on display (that cabinet doesn't have a door).

The dismal BEFORE picture:

pantry before

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the last pantry cabinet below that one. It has dog stuff, potatoes, onions, and more baking stuff.

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baconthecat on Apr 16, 2007:

*drool* I am so jealous of your organized pantry; ours looks like the before photo, except worse. :( I suppose my only gripe with the reorganized pantry would be having to remove all those other containers to get to my flour (I assume that's what the large container on the left contains?), but I'm sure I'd learn to live with it. However, I do have to agree with Keter that CS prices are way high... I've found storage containers for a lot less at places like Big Lots and even Target than what they sell for at CS. I still love their stuff, though. D'oh.

sparkie on Jan 07, 2007:

Just had a thought for a similiar, free alternative.  I can only think of one example now.

My Mom is the volunteer for local hospital gift shop....she is the candy lady.  She orders all candy & snacks for 32 years!  Anyway, some candy arrives in large clear plastic containers which is emptied as candy on shelf is restocked.  My mom, being a good depression era child brings them home vs throwing away.  Different shapes but after a while they always get duplicates.  I have used them for dry goods, hardware, art supplies.

Any business that would get items in clear plastic stackable containers and empty them may be glad to donate them to you.

That was long.  Guess I just wanted to brag about my mom.  She is 82 yrs old, doesn't plan to "retire" from her coveted position and likes candy!

Keter on Jan 05, 2007:

Great organization, Amber! 

FYI, when spending one's own money, IKEA sells similar systems for much less than Container Store.  (Love CS, hate their prices!)

The bulky stuff:  I went to IKEA and bought several rolling plastic bins with lids (about $7 each; in the kid's area, oddly) that I use for organizing recycling and other dry storage.  They are only about a foot tall by I guess about 16" square, so they fit very neatly in an odd nook I have in my kitchen, and roll out when I need them.  I would not use these for storing food unless the food was in unopened or securely refastened impermeable packaging; these bins are not vermin-proof.

IKEA also sells a smaller removable bucket and matching holder meant to pull out of a base cabinet that might meet your needs as well or better.

I was given a small plastic 3 drawer chest from Container Store; this I keep under the cabinet on which my cooktop sits and I use it to store potatoes, onions, bulk dried peas, lentils, pasta, and rice (the dried stuff moderates humidity to help keep the produce free of mold).

Dog food I keep in a plain old plastic storage bin (rubbermaid type) with a tight lid, also under the cooktop.  I have 3 big dogs, so mine holds a 30 lb. sack of food.  I use a smaller container of a similar type to hold bulk milk bones and other snacks for the mutts.

But the most important aspect of organizing I think you've already mastered:  keep only what you actually will use.  The more stuff you have, the more difficult and expensive it is to organize and maintain. For the clutter-rich, organization poor, Freecycling is often the requisite first step to an organized life.

Manzabar on Jan 05, 2007:

I was not familiar with this Container Store you speak of prior to your post, but our pantry looks rather like your before picture.  I think ye olde credit card is going to bit a of abuse this weekend.  :D

bruno on Jan 05, 2007:

Oh man, the Container Store is so cool. Real Simple plugs them every once in a while, and I always think "Wow, that would make my house so much more organized".


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