Friday, April 1, 2011

Project Simplify: Pantry and Fridge

The Hot Spot #4 for Project Simplify was the pantry and the refrigerator. Visit Simple Mom for a plan of attack and lots of helpful links.

I just gave the pantry a much needed reorganization a few months ago, but (guess what?) it needed to be done again. My pantry is in an under-the-stairs closet so the usable space diminishes as the ceiling gets closer and closer to the floor. Also it is very narrow. I do have shelves on both sides of it, but I can't really get between them—I have to reach (thanking God for long arms). As a result I will often just toss stuff near the right location and it tends to quickly get messy. Every time I organize it, I switch out what goes in those hard to reach areas. I keep hoping to find something that I hardly ever need to go there. But I also tend to be fairly minimalistic: meaning that most of what I have, I need.

Pantry: before

Ingredients cupboard: before

Some spices were here, too.
Yes, that is an unopened package of new spice jars.

My hutch that I love
I like to display pretty grains and beans here in clear jars

Some stuff was even on the fridge.
Guess what? I usually would forget to use these.
Dry beans don't go bad, right?

So, I know I could do this a shelf at a time, but I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of person. So while Joshua was up on his top bunk playing legos I gathered all our (non-refrigerated) food into the center of the kitchen. Lucy and Esther, um, helped.

I did have a couple things to toss, but mostly I just refilled jars (since I buy in bulk) moved things that need to be used up soon to handier locations where they will be in-sight and in-mind.

I got out those new spice jars and clearly labeled everything. Now all my spices are in the same type of container and they are all in the same place. I also cleaned that bottom shelf. I believe some honey had dripped into a sticky mess that had collected anything off of everything that had been set in it. 

New stock of beans, rice, and oats. A few items were condensed to smaller containers put in the pantry and because of some re-situating in there, I was able to clear off the top of the fridge.

Pantry: after

I did take pictures of the fridge, but I didn't get to cleaning it that day. I tend to keep it clean (meat leaks onto a shelf often enough) and we don't keep enough in there that items get lost and forgotten. I threw away a couple of past dated things and called it good.

The freezer could use some straitening, but since I have a big freezer in the garage, everything in this one is being used pretty regularly. I can always find what I need.

I wish projects like this could stay done, but there is such a volume of food coming in and then being used up that I think it's the nature of kitchens to get disorganized. But then, sorting through it feels so good that I guess it's okay to have to do it now and then!


  1. What I love about you is your cheerful satisfaction with the space you have. I would be having claustrophobic fits on the floor about two weeks into a pantry I couldn't reach everything easily in. I definitely would be whining by now. But you? Nope. Just cheerfully telling us all how perfectly the basement apartment works for the family of 6! I hope God rewards all this cheerfulness one day with your dream house full of those lovely children you keep producing. :) Thanks for being such a good example of NOT whining!