Adventures into Alice’s Decluttered World – The Pantry

If you have been following Alice’s Adventures, you know that she has been working to declutter and organize her home after our initial consultation.  She first tackled her linen closet and then Alice and her husband worked on the Laundry Room.  She is now working on the pantry in her kitchen, so before we get started, let me show you the before photo of her pantry:

Alice’s main focus was on the top four shelves because she was pleased with her bottom three shelves.  As you can see they are neatly organized with all of her casserole bowls.  Let’s take a closer look at the shelves we are tackling:

Alice felt that there was not much organization to the shelves other than the assignment of her canned goods on the shortest shelf (3rd) and breakfast/snack foods on 4thshelf (not pictured above).  The top two shelves were designated for Mr. Alice since he is taller than Alice and can easily see the items on them.  Ultimately, the state of her pantry was driving her crazy and she decided to try and address it.  Before I show you what she was able to do, I will list my suggested steps for tackling a pantry declutter/organization project.

(1) You should remove everything from the area of focus/Pantry.
(2) You should review the items and throw out anything that is expired or not packaged properly and remove anything that is not expired, but you won’t eat so you can donate it to your local food pantry.
(3) You should group like items together.
(4) Determine how you would like to organize your pantry with what is left.  Think about how often you use the items.  Also, use this time to evaluate the packaging/containerizing of the items.  Are you wasting space with big boxes or do you have a bunch of small items that can be combined in one container, etc?
(5) Clean your pantry – sweep the floor and wipe down the shelves/drawers.  If you want to paint, add hardware or liners, now is the time to do it.
(6) Replace the items in your new pantry with a smile.

Note:  This is your pantry so you should make it work for you and your family.  It may not make sense to others but they don’t have to use it.  You don’t have to go and purchase a bunch of expensive containers either.  If you choose to and can, great…but know you can have an organized pantry without doing that.  If you really want it, then do it in phases so you can afford the changes…you know me…I say catch the stuff when it is on sale or you have a coupon for it.

So without further ado, I will show you Alice’s reorganized/decluttered pantry:

In review, Alice took everything out and cleaned the cabinets.  She previously had the non-slide shelf liners but found that it was hindering items from sliding to the back of the shelves, so she removed some of them.  She then sorted everything into relevant sections and removed items that were expired or that they never used.  She told me that she only had a Kroger bag full of things, so not much since they don’t currently keep much in stock.

Shelf Assignments

The Top Shelf – “extra/occasional items” shelf:   The sugar & flour was placed in labeled containers instead of the bags since they had a tendency to tear & spill as they were removed from the pantry.  Alice plans to swap out the labels later but didn’t want to delay in providing me with the after photos of her work (Thanks Alice!).  The green bin on the top shelf holds their bagged items – beans, rice, dip mixes, etc.  They almost didn’t use the basket because they were afraid “out of sight/out of mind”, but they decided to try it and see what happens.  Note:  Alice shared with me that she was able to get an extra can of peanuts that she snagged really cheaply because she combined a coupon and a sale (she’s one of my stockpiler‘s in training lol).  You go girl!!!

Second Shelf – Drink, Mr. Alice’s Snack Food’s and Spaghetti Fixin’s:  Going from left to right, Alice used a hanging shelf she obtained from the Container Store to add extra height to that shelf.  On the shelf, she placed a box of Splenda packets on its side.  She just tore the top off the box & laid it on its side for easy access…the shelf also holds bagged coffee.  Coffee filters fit right below this shelf and their various tea boxes are located behind the coffee filters.  Next to the shelf, they have their taller items.

Third Shelf – Canned goods, larger containers of seasoning (salt, pepper) and smaller height items:  When sending me the photos Alice realized that Mr. Alice’s cocoa was on this shelf when she originally put it on the 2nd shelf, guess Mr. Alice decided he liked it there better….oh well, she now has the room right LOL.

Fourth Shelf – Breakfast items, chocolate, chips, crackers and taller boxed items:  The cereal boxes didn’t bother Alice, but the Frosted Mini-Wheats that she gets at Sam’s always come in bags so she got a container for that.  She also found that expandable shelf at the Container store (but noted that she later saw a similar shelf at Wal-Mart).  She decontainerized her breakfast bars & pop-tarts into the green basket.  The Hershey’s bucket is their Candy bucket.  They like their chocolate and usually get a bag of candy at the store and dump it into the bucket (oh how I love that they use a BUCKET…That is their Bucket O’Chocolate!)  Sorry, I digress…Under the shelf is their peanut butter crackers, chip bags & taller boxed goods.  The boxed goods may be finding another home when she organizes her “baking pantry”.  Not pictured are Mr. Alice’s pringle stash because he is out.  Once they are replenished, they will live in this section as well.  (High Five to Him! I’ll make sure to let him know when Kroger has their mega sale again…aren’t pringles great!).

Process in Review:  During this process, Alice shared that she sampled several different containers until she found the ones that would fit the shelf space & hold the right contents. She admitted that that was one of the most frustrating parts of the process, because the product conversions weren’t always exact.  All in all, she is very excited about all the space she created by just grouping & sorting.  She just hopes they can keep it organized.

So I hope you enjoyed Alice’s Adventure…Hummm I wonder what her next Adventure will bring us.  Have you decluttered your pantry yet?  Please share your pre and post photos, discoveries and your tips and tricks with us.  We are a supportive community at The Happiness Bucket.

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