Over Memorial Day weekend, Friday - Sunday was dedicated to deep cleaning my house. Weird way to spend a weekend for some, but to me it was fabulous. Some of the tasks completed included deep cleaning the carpets, wiping out the fridge and freezer (for the first time in a very long time), finally putting away the stacks of stuff that seem to pile up out of nowhere, and overall just tackling all those little cleaning projects that I always seem to put off "until another day". The house smells so clean and fresh now, it's wonderful.
One of the projects that I undertook over the weekend was organizing the pantry. I feel like I do this every two months or so, but it only lasts for two to three weeks before it slowly descends back in to chaos. This tells me that I just haven't yet found a good method of organizing everything that works. So every time I re-do the pantry, I tweak things a little bit and I'll keep tweaking things until I find a method that works for me. I didn't take any before pictures, but I'm pretty proud of the after.
I hate those wire shelves that the builder installed in our pantry. I have plans to pull those shelves out and replace them with MDF shelves instead. It's actually pretty high on my project list - I really hate those shelves. I find them to be the most useless things ever!
I have an entire shelf dedicated to boxed dinners.
And a half of a shelf dedicated to boxed baking mixes.
And the bottom shelf is dedicated to snacks. I swear I don't normally have that many bags of chips - some family is coming over for Memorial Day so, like, three bags of chips are for that. And I've been addicted to Rold Gold pretzels lately. The big plastic container stores Squirt and Duchess's food. Squirt has a sensitive stomach, and Duchess has been told she needs to lose weight, so I buy 15# bags of limited ingredient dog food for sensitive stomachs and reduced calorie dog foods and mix them together. Then I store them in this container. I tried feeding each dog the food meant for her, but that was just a disaster.
Any extra bottles and cans get stored on the floor of the pantry. The 2-liter bottles aren't common - but I figured they'd be easier for Memorial Day. I actually don't drink soda that often. Juice tends to be the most common thing down here...but I've been on a caffeine kick lately. It's bad.
I picked up this little blue box at Hobby Lobby and I use it to store all of our drink mixes. Mio, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid - even the dry milk powder I use for baking all fit in there really well. It fits perfectly on the shelf up by the breakfast items.
This divided box was another Hobby Lobby find, and it works great to corral all of our little snack items. It shares space on the shelf with our baking mixes. Has anyone ever tried those Hello Panda cookies? They sell them in the Dollar Spot at Target, and I'm in love with them. I used to eat cookies called Koala Yummies when I was a kid, and the Hello Pandas remind me of the Koala Yummies. So good.
I use a Command Hook on the back of the pantry door to hang all of our reusable shopping bags. Our local grocery store gives you a $0.05 per bag credit off of your grocery bill, which is pretty cool. Now I just need to remember to grab them when I'm going to the grocery store...
Part of the reason that I hate the wire shelves is that they don't support the weight of canned goods very well without totally bowing the shelf. As a result, I moved the canned goods to this cabinet to the right of our stove. The canned goods are in isolation.
Bakery goods are kept on the counter, because the wire shelving presses in to the bottoms of the loaves of bread and deforms them, and for some reason I don't like when my bread has funny lines in the bottom of it. I've been toying with the idea of getting a cute bread box to put over here. Two for one: hides the bread and I can decorate it and make it a cute decor piece! Maybe I'll have to start haunting the local Goodwill and keep an eye out...
One thing that really bothers me about the pantry is the amount of pre-mixed meals. I know they're horribly bad for me, and they're filled with preservatives. And I've read that I can also make many of the same mixes for cheaper, and that the homemade version tastes significantly better. My goal is to go through these mixes, and either make and eat them or donate them to our local food pantry, and start making some of my own mixes.
I love Hamburger Helper (the Italian Cheesy Shells are my fav) so that's going to be sad to give up, but it'll be worth it to eat healthier. I know there's all sorts of websites filled with recipes for mixes and breads and the like...does anyone have any recipes that are personal favorites that they would be willing to share??