We started off 2012 here at Old Town Home with a public proclamation of numerous New Year's resolutions. Even though we're only three weeks in, I glad to report that we're making substantial progress. One of our resolutions, do a thorough purge of our closets and drawers, is well underway and I can officially check our kitchen pantry off the list.

Okay, so maybe I'm using the term "pantry" loosely here, because in our modest home that merely refers to the two kitchen cabinets that house our food items. But here's a look at what we were starting with.  

Sure I've seen worse, but the telltale sign that it's cabinet cleaning time is when you're greeted with an avalanche upon opening a cabinet door (see the lower left of the left hand cabinet for exhibit one). And it was time. If that Costco bag of chocolate chips smacked us in the face one more time I was going to lose it, so instead I invested about an hour of time to get things in order. 

I started to pull everything out of the two cabinets...


Repeat after me, "It always gets worse before it gets better."

...and then made a pile of items that were expired. Apparently we weren't fans of the vegan salt-free soups we purchased two years ago. Off to the recycling bin they went.

Quite sadly, our Ebelskiver mix was past its date by about a year and a half. We had some good times with that mix, but our doughy goodness intake fell off a little while ago. I guess it's a sign we're not eating enough Ebelskivers. Not familiar? They're those awesome pancake-like balls you can fill with chocolate, peanut butter, jelly, or any other combination of amazing fillings. They're quite delectable...but I'm getting off topic here.

Beyond the expired food items I also threw away extraneous packaging materials -- like the boxes the vanilla and almond extract came in -- to make as efficient use of space as possible. There's no need to take up extra room just for the sake of taking up room.

Some of you may remember my tirade about the shape of our basement. And by shape of our basement I mean disgusting-hellhole-my-husband-uses-to-hoard-wood-and-other-junk. 

While Alex was hard at working organizing and freeing storage containers the we weren't using, I seized the opportunity to scrounge around down there for anything I could use in the kitchen. Lucky me, I came away with three small baskets that we weren't using any longer that could serve as organizational tools in our cabinets.

To organize the food and supplies as I put them back in, I grouped like items such as rice/lentils/barley, cupcake and decorating supplies, nuts and dried fruit, and pet items in each of the baskets and the existing tupperware. I also grouped like items on each shelf for easier access and better overall organization. Then I loaded it all back in and was thrilled to see I even have a little room to spare. Here's an overview of the method to my madness with each area's designated purpose.

Now for the big reveal without my notes.

Ok, this isn't a huge reveal like we just completed a giant addition, but ahh, an organized pantry is a beautiful thing. Now if only we could get our basement looking so nice. My sense is that one is going to take a lot longer than an hour's worth of work. That's okay, as long as we have little victories like these, the big battles don't feel quite to overwhelming.

Have you accomplished any of your New Year's resolutions yet? Is anyone else on a personal mission to banish clutter from their home and lives? Is it crazy that we have an entire basket of dried fruit and nuts? (Does that make me nuts?) Leave us a comment and let us know.  

Comments 15

Comments

1/25/2012 at 11:07 AM
I haven't completed any resolutions yet. Oh well, it's still early! Your cupboards are looking much better. I would go crazy if stuff kept falling on me too! Good for you for getting started on your list!
-Diana
Wendy
1/25/2012
Hi Diana,
You're right. It's definitely still early and there's still 11+ months to get it all done. :-) I find we're way more motivated early on in the year, especially when it comes to organization. Not sure why, but thanks for the encouragement!
1/25/2012 at 11:08 AM
I've done a *few* things on my 2012 to do list, but the thing I'm most embarassed about?

My Christmas decorations are still out. They're not UP - just sitting in a pile on the floor waiting to be put away. Oh dear.
Wendy
1/25/2012
Ashley, shame on you!! Just kidding of course. Not sure if anyone noticed, but we just took down the "Christmas decorations" from the header of our site yesterday. :-)
1/25/2012 at 11:22 AM
I love a nicely organized pantry. Also, I'm pretty sure that I re-gifted Alex that pancake ball mix and the pan years ago. I'm glad that it got some use because it would have expired unopened on my shelf.
Wendy
1/25/2012
LOL - Yes Beth, you absolutely did give us the pan and mix. We even got as fancy as grilling them! Alex loves Ebelskivers...we'll just have to get a fresh set of mix.
1/25/2012 at 5:29 PM
Great organization! Congrats on the hard work!
Wendy
1/25/2012
Thanks Bill!
Tee
1/25/2012 at 7:40 PM
Nice job on the cabinets! I didn't make the resolution, but I had to clean out the attic before I could put away the Christmas tree and decorations. I'm so glad to be able to find what I need now. However, the basement is on the resolution list and it looks a lot like your basement with all the trim and siding left from the construction of our house (we have lived here 35 years), plus all our patio furniture, our freezer, left over roofing for the house and workshop, the furnace and extra filters and all my canning jars. That might be a good project for the next couple of days since rain is in the forecast. My husband won't be so thrilled.
Wendy
1/25/2012
:-) Alex won't be thrilled either when I remind him this weekend that our basement needs a little attention. Well, a lot more attention.
Sandy
1/25/2012 at 10:58 PM
A whole basket of dried fruits and nuts Wendy? That doesn't make you nuts, just nutty. Love,Dad.
Wendy
1/26/2012
Thanks Dad. I get it honestly I guess. ;-)
1/26/2012 at 8:50 AM
I like the idea of putting the goods in the basket. It would also be a nice thing if the baskets were labeled. :D I installed pullouts in my cabinet just last year to know what's stuck inside which we often forget about and just throw away when it's again time to clean up. :) Like an Ebelskiver mix! :D
Wendy
1/26/2012
Yes, labels would be a very nice addition Minerva! I'll have to give that some thought. Well, and buy a new can up Ebelskiver mix in the meantime. :-)

That reminds me, we're working on a new organization project that make my labeling heart smile. Stay tuned!
threadbndr
1/27/2012 at 2:33 PM
I did the pantry clearout last weekend, too!

I have two drawers for my canned goods, and they stay pretty well organized, but the one upper cabinet - not so much. I'm short and things just get shoved back in there willy-nilly.

So I'm on the hunt for a shallow basket like you have for the baking gear (cookie cutters, etc) that can go on the top shelf and free up a third drawer for pantry items. I think it's nuts that my kitchen has four shallow drawers (one on each base cabinet, six medium drawers and two deep ones.

And all that in a galley kitchen just twelve feet long. Crazy organized cook in that space 70 years ago!
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