If you to had to name your top 3 priorities for an organised pantry, what would they be? Mine would be that everything was easy to find, easy to access, and neat and organised. An organised pantry is a necessity in my kitchen, I just don't function properly if things are cluttered and messy in there! And pantry makeovers are definitely one of my favourite spaces to tackle. Here's how I organised the pantry in our family holiday house to achieve these 3 goals.
I mentioned in a previous post that we spent about 10 days with my parents at our family beach house over the Christmas break. Nothing like having two extra pairs of hands helping out with the kids! The house is also shared with other family members, and is hired out regularly. So, there's lots of families coming and going. Which sometimes means that 'stuff' can start to build without anyone realising. Shared spaces and holiday homes always benefit from a quick declutter and re-organise every now and again, and it shouldn't be a mammoth task if it's done regularly.
The beach house has a nice big walk-in pantry. But with so many people using it, it tends to become a dumping ground for random items, along with a build-up of extra food supplies that no-one actually uses. My Mum and I were pretty keen to create a more functional and appealing pantry. With the kids at the park with my hubby and dad, we got stuck in - I know where I got my organising gene from. :)
Here's what we started with - you can see what a great big space this is, with lots of deep shelves.
Here's the corner view of the pantry that holds excess household supplies, and a whole lot of random items.
The main problem areas were:
- the jumbled and overflowing collection of plastic containers
- many items that just were not purposeful, or could be stored elsewhere in the house, as they were taking up valuable pantry storage space
- a lot of the food items stored in the pantry had been here for a while, so the use-by-dates needed to be checked. A more organised division was necessary for the food items that 'live' at the beach house, and those that people bring with them for the time they are staying.
My first step with a decluttering project is ALWAYS to remove everything from the space. A lot of people really dislike this step because it seems like you're just creating more mess, and I totally get that when looking at this picture. But you really do need a clean, blank slate to start with, in order to be more decisive about what goes back in.
A completely empty space also provides the opportunity for a good clean, especially in a pantry where all sorts of grime can build up.
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One organising project often leads to another, so we were also decluttering the kitchen cupboards to see which bulkier items could be stored in the pantry to free up valuable cupboard space. We had a lot of sorting to do, which for this project included the following categories: 'donate', 'trash', 'keep', 'recycle', 'move to its home'.
Luckily, my Mum is super-decisive, so we whipped through each bench surface and made quick decisions. A lot of items were moved to a more appropriate storage spot in the home (i.e. cleaning supplies in the laundry, tools in the shed) and we donated a lot to the local charity shop. See ya lamp shade!
We pulled out heaps of empty jars and containers from the pantry, but they really didn't have a use, so we ended up recycling most. If an item doesn't have a purpose and is taking up essential storage space, it is best to just get rid of it. Plastic containers that are warped, missing lids, or are not useful (i.e. too small) are my pet peeve, so this collection was also completely paired down.
When returning everything to the pantry, we placed items that needed to be accessed regularly on the shelves that were easiest to reach. We kept one shelf for tea & coffee supplies, as well as the food items that each couple/family bring down when they come for a holiday. We also transferred items into storage containers to get rid of boxes and packets taking up space.
Look at that organised plastic collection - so much better!
The next shelf down holds items that are permanently kept at the house. Our intention was to purchase large storage baskets for these items so they could be kept together and be more organised... but too many beach visits prevented that trip to the store from ever happening!
The herb collection was organised in smaller baskets and the same containers I use in my own kitchen (see how I organise my spice collection in this video). Condiments, vinegars & oils and sauces were placed alongside.
The corner of the cupboard, which is out of view, holds extra house supplies, and less-used, bulkier cooking equipment, to free up the kitchen cupboard space.
There is so much extra space in here now! Mum and I were very pleased with our efforts... not sure how excited the men were though.
A Before and After is always essential in these projects, and we definitely achieved those pantry organising goals. Woop!