Friday, January 13, 2012

21 Days to a More Organized Home: Day 9

Welcome back to the "21 Days to a More Organized Home" Challenge! Did you enjoy your day off yesterday? I sure did! Did you manage to organize your freezer and fridge? I would show you my freezer, but there is really nothing in it. It is barer than my fridge. I know that might sound crazy, but I don't buy a lot of frozen foods and when we do, we eat them quickly.

Today we will move on to other areas in the kitchen. Did you come up with a plan or ideal kitchen? Pick up anything to get started like canisters, trays, etc?

Well, how about we get started?

DAY 9: An Organized Pantry

The secret weapon of any kitchen is an organized pantry. A well planned and organized pantry says time, money, and stress. Your pantry should act as a reserve as well as a place to begin meal planning.

A beginners pantry should focus on convenience, but it should also contain back-up products. For each open item, you should have at least one unopened item, depending on the item of course. We don't keep an opened bag of cookies and an unopened one in reserve? Why? Because cookies are a luxury, not a staple. Only staple foods should have a back up. A good first goal for your pantry is to have a three-day supply of food for your family plus one. Of course if you have a stock pile, you can go above and beyond this beginners goal. We have enough food in our house to last us three extra days after our initial food runs out.

If you would like to expand your pantry, the next level is 2 weeks and contains substitues for fresh foods, such as dried fruits, canned vegetables, and powdered milk. More robust panties meet long-term food needs, such as a a couple months to over a year. I have seen pantries containing enough food to last a family over a year in case of job loss. I don't have room for that, but one day I hope I am able to secure a stock pile.

So what goes into your pantry? Anything that you buy, use, and can store. If you have young children, cold cereal, formula, and kid friendly snacks will be key items. Dedicated baker? Flour, sugar, powdered milk, etc will adorn your pantry. There is no comprehensive list on the market that will cater to your families need like you general grocery list. For us, I have rice, flour, potatoes, green beans, powdered mushroom gravies, pastas, sauces, and cereal stock piled. We are currently starting to run low on certain items, so I will be checking for sales to replenish our stock very soon.

The key to an organized pantry is not only having everything readily available when you need it, but also to know exactly what is in your pantry. I have a pretty good idea of what is in my pantry right now, but I know there are things in there that I am not aware of. I am notorious for not keeping an inventory of my pantry, which is something I plan on changing this year. Do you keep an inventory? If not, that is one of the first steps you need to take.

Before you begin organizing, pull EVERYTHING out of your pantry. Toss old foods, donate canned goods you never plan on using, and inventory everything you are keeping. I am currently using this free pantry inventory check list, but I am going to switch to this one as soon as I am able to print it. I like that the second one has divided categories. You can also create your own version on Excel or another like program. Whatever works best for you. Laminate your inventory and use dry erase markers for a greener option.

Next, group like items and these like items from back to front (newest products in the back and oldest in the front). Breakfast foods should be kept together, pastas with sauces, canned goods, flour and baking supplies, grains and beans, etc. You want to make sure each item is easily accessible as well. For example, I don't suggest stacking mixed canned goods. If you are going to stack, make sure they are like items, such as green beans on top of green beans.

The only exception to organzing by category is when you have complete pantry meals. Complete pantry meals would be like a family sized can of soup, oyster crackers, and a side. Storing these items together allows you to quickly put together the meal and by shelving together you know if you are out of an item needed for the meal. Check your pantry meals before your regular shopping trips.

 Want more tips?

1. Use clear storage containers. This frees up space, gets rid of bulky boxes and bags, will help food last longer, and allows you to see how much you have before you go shopping!

2. Label items. Storing in containers? Label them so you know what they are. Bread Flour and All Purpose Flour look VERY similar, but you don't want to accidently mix them up while baking.

3. Check your pantry before shopping. This is kind of a given. This will make sure you don't buy items you already have and allow you to stock your pantry accordingly. It also helps during meal planing.

Today I want you to spend an hour or so cleaning, inventorying, and organizing your pantry. You will be amazed at how much easier cooking, shopping, and meal planning will become. Tomorrow I will show you some before and after pictures of my pantry. Keep in mind that if you are placing boxes and bags with canisters that it may take some time. I have not been able to purchase all the canisters I want and need, but I have made a huge dent already! Good luck and have fun!

Look Alive!
<3The Mortician's Wife


Previous Posts:
Day 1: Welcome
Day 2: Time Management 
Day 3: Using Your Planner 
Day 4, Part 1: Mail Clutter
Day 4, Part 2: An Action File
Day 5: Other Paper Clutter
Pin It! Organized Home Edition 1 
My Planner 
Day 6: Magazine Clutter 
Day 7: Attacking your Fridge 
Day 8: Finishing off the Freezer


  1. I cleaned out, organized, and labeled my spice drawer today. Does that count? lol

    1. Yes it does! I have been debating on how much work I want to put into my spice cabinet at the moment. I don't have a great place to store my spices, and I really want to put them in glass jars, but the system won't work in this townhouse. I'm thinking I'll go through my spices and throw away the old, but I don't think I'm going to go all out until after we move. Hopefully the new home will have more cabinet space and therefore a better place for spices.

  2. Wow, what a great post! I would love it if you linked your tips up to my organization link party this week. I know my readers would love to see them:


    1. Added my pantry link to your list! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks for taking part in Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life - so much good info here!


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