Friday, April 12, 2013

Pantry Makeover

My pantry needed a clean up in a bad bad way. It wasn't a complete disaster, but it just wasn't meeting my needs and expectations. We had a heart to heart- I told Mr. Pantry the standard "It's me, not you" but we both knew it was time for a change.

So out came everything on the shelves, I was so excited to get 'er done that I completely forgot to document. While I did momentarily consider putting everything back and staging a "before" shot {ain't nobody got time for that} this "in the process" shot will have to do. I think you get the picture, my pantry has junk in the trunk and not the kind that makes J Lo proud.

While I knew a trip to the Dollar Store was in my future, I also knew from experience that I'm the kinda gal that needs to mull things over for a bit. My first inclination is always to jump in the car, start buying stuff like mad and then get home and realize {once the tags are off and the receipts are lost} that I really needed something taller,softer,wider,stronger. In order to break this bad habit of mine,I whipped out my trusty blue notebook and started sketching my ideal pantry.

I also took a day to steal other storage containers from every room in the house to test them out on my shelves. I cannot stress how important this is! While my original plans had included the use of buckets to house my wares, the test run revealed that buckets would be too tall for most of my shelves. I would be forced to stop, pull out the entire bucket, locate my desired goods and then put it all back {say it with me: ain't nobody got time for that!}. Taking the small step to really consider how I use my pantry and what works best for me saved me from the "return things to the dollar store walk of shame".

Ah, the Dollar Store....if you know me at all, you know how love that place! The Dollar Store is like retail magic, things that cost tons of money elsewhere cost only a buck, can I get an amen?! Take this pink bucket for example.

This bucket cost me $5 in 2008 {I remember because I was college poor and $5 is an investment to a broke chick}. Now I know what you're thinking, "that's a nice pink bucket you got there" or even "a $5 bucket that's held up for 4 years is a pretty good deal" and I used to think so myself, until I found this guy:

Yep, it's like my pink bucket switched teams and multiplied. Now, in all fairness the pink bucket is slightly sturdier than the blue bucket but it certainly isn't FOUR DOLLARS sturdier. Do you know what $4 can do in the hands of a couponer?

After many moments perusing the selection of storage buckets,tubs and bins, I selected my top picks in an assortment of colors and moved on to finding the perfect selection of tupperware to store all of my dried goods. We purchase a lot of items from the bulk section of our local health food store so medium and smaller sized containers made the most sense for most of our food.

I purchased six large bins for flour, sugar, coffee, tea, packaged seasoning mixes and an extra container just in case we need it. I've learned the hard way to always buy a few extra, the selection at the Dollar Store changes frequently and you may not be able to buy the same container should you need it a few months down the line.

Once I got home it was as easy as dumping stuff in buckets and arranging them to my fancy. I'm a big believer in using clear containers to store things, I love being able to eyeball the bin and know if I need to add that item to the grocery shop list. So while this next step wasn't necessary, it certainly makes me happy and it absolutely helps my husband put things in their place. I found these pretty ladies labels designed by Catherine Auger of I love that World Label provides free printables, check out their site for even more great freebies!

After printing my assortment of labels on paper, I cut them out and "laminated" them to their respective bins with packaging tape. If you wanted to save time you could certainly print these labels out on a single sheet label page but that would have required another trip to the store and more green from my wallet. Not a bad result from my DIY labeling if I do say so myself:

Once I finished organizing the pantry, my "Clean All The Things" high was still going strong. I decided to survey the rest of the house for areas of improvement and realized that so much of our clutter issues are due to poorly utilized storage areas. So another round of Makeover Magic is in the works!

I'd love to see pictures of your spring cleaning victories, let the sprucing begin!
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