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  Any outdated food (I'm talking to you, Valentine marshmallows!)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!