Getting Organized For the New Year: The Food Pantry

Happy New Year!

I’m sharing something with you all that may forever change your opinion of me. You may judge me harshly, or drop your phone in horror.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I’m going to show you what my food pantry looked like prior to December 30.

  I know, I know. Let me explain…although I have no excuse to offer really.

Three years ago, we did a pretty major renovation of our kitchen and added in some new cabinets and this pantry for food. For awhile, it was neat and organized. Then I got pregnant.  And had said baby. And any chance of being organized again seemed a pipe dream.

I knew it was bad but I didn’t realize how bad until I took that picture and began to tackle the problem. I’ve been following FlyLady on social media and I really like her philosophy of doing chores in short increments. So, I set the timer on my phone to 15 minutes, rolled up my sleeves and tackled the pantry.

Maybe it was knowing that I only had 15 minutes to work. Maybe it was the determination. Maybe it was the sheer horrid conditions of it all. But I got the lower two shelves cleared out and reshaped with 29 seconds to go. And all of this was thrown away:

  Honestly, some of it was probably ok. Do steel cut oats really ever go bad? But I decided to toss anything that was expired whether it was truly inedible or not. True to the FlyLady philosophy, I walked away from that project and folded up some towels. But I was on such a mission and was so pleased with my progress…that I went back and set the timer again for another 15 minutes and tackled the top shelf.

This one took longer because it was mostly cans that I had to rearrange. I sorted out vegetables/beans from soup/prepared food. Sadly, I had about a dozen outdated cans that had to be pitched. I felt wasteful and disappointed in myself.

I was proud though of the finished effort.

  Back when I first added the pantry, I bought some small trays to keep spices in. Whether it was a Pinterest idea or a tip from a friend, I can’t remember but I got the idea to do one small tray strictly for spaghetti seasonings since that it’s the most frequent and consistent dish that I make that uses a variety of spices. I’d gotten so off track though that I’d let my little tray get filled with a hodgepodge of stuff. No more! The spaghetti tray is back.

  It may sound silly but this organized pantry has been a game changer this past week. I can actually find things. I made spaghetti and didn’t have to stand on my head to find the seasonings. (I also realized I need onion powder-so that’s on the grocery list). I prepped overnight oats since the oats, cinnamon and walnuts were so easy to reach. I feel like I can make a meaningful grocery list since it’s easy to check my inventory now.

I share this not to just expose my slob ways but also to encourage. If you have a problem spot in your house, don’t just shut the door on it. Set your timer and charge ahead. You might be shocked at what fifteen minutes can do!