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Pantry Organizing

If pantry organizing gets you hot, pour a glass of wine, slip into something a little more comfortable, and come on in. Organizing porn abounds in this post!

It’s no secret that I love being organized.  LOVE it.  The first time I ever walked into a Container Store, I went from 6 to 12 REAL quick.

I should clarify that while I love being organized, NOT being organized doesn’t keep me up at night.  I do my best, and if stuff is out of place, I can still rest easy.  I enjoy my sheets being nicely folded and in the linen closet, but I also can go about my day after I’ve shoved them into a corner shelf.

Until we lived in this house, I’ve never had an actual pantry, so our food has always shared shelf space with towels, cleaning supplies, etc.  Moving into this house, I was so excited to get an honest to God pantry.  And because I love it so, I like to keep it pretty and tidy.  Keeping food supplies tidy also helps me know what I have on hand so that I can keep my weekly grocery bills wicked low.  Ever wonder how I keep my weekly trip to $75-100 or lower for mostly organic and local food?  Cause I know what I have in my cupboard!

Want a tour?  Shall we?

Home canned stuff and large items live on shelves in the garage.

This shelf holds my flour mill, store-bought canned goods, bacon press, onions, garlic, Ziplocs, and my hootch aka homemade vanilla brewing station.

Things that don’t fit in the cupboard by our stove – honey, molasses, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, and walnut oil.

Many of our staples are purchased in bulk.  Bulk packaging is usually not intended for pantry storage, so I transfer everything to glass jars.  Many of the jars are from Goodwill, some are from products I’ve bought that came in jars, and others are just canning jars I’ve purchased.  Narrow mouth (regular) canning jars are cheapest, and I use them for most of my storage.

Because I keep everything in glass jars with screw-on lids, I like to be able to view the item without having to rearrange jars to see what is in the back of the shelf.  My sarcastic labels were dreamed up during a very, very, very, very slow Friday afternoon at work. Labels are Avery 5294, available online (I bought mine on Amazon) or at any office supply store.

Double click on this one to enlarge the photo.  It’s worth it.

Baking items basket, vital wheat gluten, cocoa, shortening, and coconut oil.  And aprons to the left.

Bread flour, freshly ground flour from my mill, evaporated cane juice, and my homemade recipe book.

And this?  This is a weird little bottle I found at Goodwill drastically marked down.  I’ve never used it, but I knew it had to be mine.  Perhaps a flower vase?  My favorite part is the little kitty under the window all sad because of the spilled (spilled) milk.  Double click to see it’s awesomeness.

So, if you’re an organizing porn junky, I hope this post was as good for you as it was for me.  Now, let’s go smoke some salt and make a rub for a pot roast.  RAWR!

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22 comments on “Pantry Organizing”

  1. I love my Mason/Ball jars for storage, too! They look so pretty, don’t they? But I sure don’t have the funny labels you have. The Chia one is a little scary, but I love the “Pinto” beans!

  2. This is AWESOME! I am on a mission this year to get more organized. I am always looking for new ways to do it! I buy some things in bulk to save money. And I can put some of it in jars for easy access, but then where do i put the excess? Aye. I think garage?? But that requires my hubs to clean it up.

  3. Mom2fur – that is a Mr. T chia head on the label. Less scary now, or more scary?

    Jen, you can do it! Baby steps – I didn’t do this overnight. I buy most of my bulk items from Azure Standard (post on that coming next week) and they often offer items in 50,25, 5, and 1 lb packaging. The price difference between them is usually quite small. So, I tend to buy things we won’t go through quickly in the 5 lb quantities. 5 lbs will generally fill a half gallon mason jar twice.

  4. you…me…container store… oh yes, it will happen.

  5. I love good organizing porn! I’m always on a mission to organize. I get everything just how I want it, then I reorganize it! It is a sickness…I know. Great post. I’m off to reorganize something!

  6. Mary, you always know what to say to make a lady feel special.

    It’s on like donkey kong.

  7. Gorgeous. I’m jealous. I don’t have enough space in my kitchen to be this organized. Hubby recently came up with an idea to expand the kitchen and then we might have more space… maybe one day I can strive to be as organized as you are here. In the meantime, thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  8. @Starlene

    We’ve always had horrible storage for pantry items, but I’ve always “tried” to be organized. I find that transferring things from bags or boxes to jars or other containers helps keeps things tidy!

  9. I love the vanilla sugar label! So silly 🙂 We don’t have a pantry but have gotten creative. We have a bookshelf in the kitchen for home canned goods – it never fails to impress. As for the rest of it, we’ve got food hiding all over the place. You can read about it here: http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/basics/creative-food-storage/

  10. the bottle is great! really, all the pictures are great. thanks for joining the Frugal Tuesday Tip! We will have giveaways next week. http://juliecache.com/2012/01/10/frugal-tuesday-tip-51/.html

  11. Hi, there! I am not a regular reader but pop in occasionally. I am an organizing freak and while my labels are not as cool as yours, I have a handy label maker that makes cool vine looking frames around my words and I label the shelves so everyone knows where all the pots and pans and storage jars go. Works for us. I even label the shelves to denote sections for the book topics!

    Also, I read here that you are working full time. Kudos to you for making real food a priority even with a busy schedule. I am a full-time mama (and a part-time writer) and too many people tell me that having a job means eating Lean Cuisine. I didn’t buy it, ever, and I should tell more moms about your site.

    Lastly, you have a weekly budget of $50? Does that include three meals a day? How old is your little guy? I have a weekly budget of $200 (would love to stretch it to $250) but that is for my family of twelve. I have ten kids between 16 months and 18 years.

    • HI Melissa! I’ve been to your blog many times, and have seen the baseball team of kids you have! My, you must never sleep with all of those kiddos. My hat is off to you!

      Yep, I work 40 hrs+ a week and my husband is gone 5 out of 7 days during the week. So, if I can do it, anyone can. Feel free to send your friends and I’m happy to chat with them. What I do and how I do it isn’t without sacrifice, but I’m lucky that I adore cooking. I joke that I should list “laundry” as a hobby to make it seem like I do have some fun! ;-D

      I have a monthly budget, but lately due to a full freezer and a good amount of food that I “put up” this summer, my weekly budget has been quite low. My normal budget is as follows:
      -$250 for grocery store items
      -$60 for meat from a local butcher. Nothing is certified organic, but they do offer grass fed and pretty much follow organic practices. I always have so much in the freezer and we buy “packages” from our local butcher, that we rarely need to buy more meat.
      -$3.50 per week for raw milk (buys me a half gallon at a local farm)
      -$20ish for free range, organic eggs ($4 a dozen)
      -about $100 ish at Costco, but that fluctuates.

      And I spent a TON of money at Azure this fall stocking up on so many things (butter, grains, oranges to juice, etc.) that I have a really full pantry/freezer right now. Therefore, my weekly grocery trips have been under $50…more like $35.

      My budget pays for dinner for the 3 of us (leftovers are lunches for the hubs and myself), lunch for the toddler 6/7 days, and breakfast for the hubs and myself. My toddler eats at preschool 2 days a week, and my aunt’s (his daycare) the other 3.

  12. You have the CUTEST header ever.

    Haven’t even read your post yet, but had to tell you that. Now…off to read your post LOL!

    • Oh my, you’re too kind! The photo was taken by a local photographer. />
      The header was designed by my friend Angela!

      I hope you like the post and the rest of the blog as much as you enjoyed the header! ;-D

      Thanks for stopping by.

  13. How awesome! Yes, I love organization. I just wrote a post on my home goals for this year, and the top one is on pantry organization. Come take a look if you have time! 🙂 Steph.

    • Oh my goodness, you have some lofty goals for 2012!!! I love your home and all your ideas. One of my plans for this year is to create cloth bags for bulk items. I read about that on the Zero Waste home (one of your sources of inspiration!).

      Also, for the dryer, have you considered line drying? I line dry our clothes year-round (inside during icky weather) and it saves us so much money. It’s not all that difficult (just involves a bit of planning). After my stuff is mostly dry, I throw my stuff in the dryer for about 10 minutes with a wet rag. It keeps our items from being crunchy”. Here is my system: http://sustainablecooks.com/2011/01/hang-10-laundry-series-day-3.html

  14. Love this post (and your blog). I have pantry envy.

    Keep up the good work.
    Carolyn @ http://www.cuethebanjo.com

    • Thanks for the nice comment! I checked out your blog and the Chucky doll comment had my rolling. Your home birth class reunion looked a lot like our Bradley Method reunion after all the kiddos were born! Too funny, and so special.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  15. This made me laugh so much- I so totally understand what you mean about being an organising porn junky!!

  16. Wow, I wish I had your pantry! (any pantry, I don’t have a pantry!!) Been reading some of your older posts, and enjoying your tips, thanks!

  17. Love the organization! I really need to get more glass jars so I guess I will have to look at Goodwill/Salvation Army. Thanks for the tip. I am going to have to make labels for some of my jars. Putting them on the lid is a good idea because you can wash the jar without any worry of loosing the label 🙂

  18. Oh, great post–and just when I’m about to create a new pantry space in a closet in my office. I love the term, “organizing porn”–I too get hot when I find new ways to do things like this. Thanks