Tuesday, April 2, 2013

31 Day Challenge--Done!

Laura (at orgjunkie.com) had a 31 Day Challenge this month, and I decided to take it on.  Hooray for organizational motivation!

I organized my pantry.  Allow me to show you my pretty space:
I chose my pantry as my project because it's a manageable space, we use it all the time, and it needed help!  Here's what I used to see when I opened the door:
Oh boy!

In order to finish is this month, I split up the steps required to accomplish the job.  I had a few OXO containers, which I love, but they are too expensive for all my baking supplies. 

I picked up some Rubbermaid containers that are less expensive, quite clear, and stack well.

Next, I labeled the containers and filled them up.  Love!

Lastly, I took everything out of the pantry, cleaned it, and purged the unwanted items.  What did I do with all the stuff I purged?  Any outdated food (I'm talking to you, Valentine marshmallows!) went in the trash.  Canned foods went out to my Shelf Reliance can organizer. 

Aprons found a new home in a cupboard in the kitchen, and the leaves to the dining table went to a closet by the table.  Anything that didn't belong got put away.  What is left in the pantry belongs, and we use it.  For example, the top shelf holds paper products, drinks, vitamins, and cereal.
I created zones in the pantry (baking items here, kid snacks here, etc.) and put the bulkier refill items at the bottom.  The step stool stayed because 1) it fits, and 2) the kids use it to reach the cereal.

We kind of live in the middle of nowhere, which brought about two hard parts to this challenge.  First, I wanted to buy baskets to fill the pantry, but didn't love anything in our limited supply at Wal-mart.  Second, since we live out in the boonies, we stock up on food whenever we get near a Costco or Target.  So, we have a lot of food to store (which includes a lot of bulk items).

One of my proudest moments was realizing it didn't have to be perfect.  It was OK when I couldn't afford turntables or find matching baskets.  I remembered I already had some galvanized trays.  I love that I could finally clear our bread off our counter.  The other tray holds sticky stuff, like oils and syrups.  The trays catch messes, act as drawers, and are short enough for me to see what I have on hand. 

I even thought about leaving the extra and bulky stuff out before I took pictures, but what would be the point of that?  I need to have everything we use organized and available, whether it looks a bit cluttered or not.

Another tool I used was a command hook on the wall with a fun clipboard attached.  It is the perfect place for a shopping list!

My organizing advice to someone would be that "done" is better than "waiting on perfect."  Right now, we don't have the budget for the beautiful pantry I dream of.  It may not be perfect, but it is so much better, and we are reaping the benefits of good organization.  Here are a few more befores and afters.


And after:

What a difference!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year’s Organizing Revolution—The Kitchen

This week I tackled the kitchen, hoping to get more organized in the place I spend a lot of time in each day.  Let me show you what I was able to cross off my list.

These cupboards house my food storage containers and baking essentials.  I love having my mixer attachments handy. 

These OXO containers will not stay here on the counter.  I wanted to show you what I am in the process of doing with some of our pantry products. 

Most of the labels are black, with the exception of very dark things, like chocolate chips.  Do we really need two chocolate chip containers?  In this house, with lovers of Muddy Buddies and many things chocolate, we do!

My flour, sugar, etc. will go in these red Rubbermaid containers.  I need to get one more large container and order some more labels.  I love that my main ingredients are stored in the same cupboard as my measuring cups and bowls.

My spices are kept in this narrow cupboard between my microwave and fridge. 

You can see that it just misses the edges, and spins so I have access to any spice.  I alphabetized my spices to find them even more quickly.

Here’s a peek at my pantry.  It is NOT organized yet.  Plus, I took a recent trip to Costco and crammed stuff where it would fit.  What I wanted to show you is there are not many canned foods in here. 

I keep this in my garage (there just isn’t room in my kitchen or pantry).  I put the cans in the top row of each section, and they roll down to the next row.  That is where I grab a can from.  I love that it rotates my cans so that we are always using the oldest cans first.  Nothing gets forgotten or goes bad with this system.

It also comes with magnetic labels, which I love.  There are also some blank ones that I can write on.  I thought I would use vinyl on the blank ones for two reasons: it will look nice, and I can change it if I ever decide to. 

I hope to one day get a system that rotates only #10 cans (for our long-term food storage), but that’s not in our budget right now.

Lastly, since I’ve mostly shown you food, here’s a peek at our dish cupboard.  The top shelf holds sippy cups, straws, and lids, and our lesser-used mugs.  I like having the kids’ bowls, plates, and cups together because it reduces visual clutter while still allowing easy access to them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through my kitchen.  There is still work to do, but isn’t there always?  I’ve loved getting these things crossed off my list!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Let's do this!

Welcome to my little corner of the blog world.  Here I'll share how I cross things off my list!