Before and After: Sometimes I find Buddha in the Pantry
Here's a nice, quick pantry makeover. The title comes from the moment that I looked inside this client's pantry and saw Buddha.
No really. Here he is:
And the other befores:
We started as we all good projects start - by creating space.
My client and I started on the top row of opposite ends of the pantry. Of the food we removed everything that was either expired or she knew her family wouldn't eat. Expired foods were thrown away. Food she knew would never be eaten when into a box for the food bank.
Pro tip: If you're in Fort Worth, I highly recommend Tarrant Area Food Bank. If you live elsewhere, search for your local food bank or other charity working to fight hunger.
Of the non-food items, my client let go of the things that she didn't need, use, or love. Other items that left were broken things that couldn't or wouldn't be fixed, as well as things that should live in other rooms - like Buddha.
Pro tip: past usage isn't indicative of future usage. If you used it yesterday and didn't like it, let it go. If you've never used it but will use it in the future, keep it.
In other words - will you use this item again? If yes, keep it. If no, then let it go. No "maybes" are allowed unless you genuinely have the space for it.
Once we'd created some space and let go of everything that was no longer serving my client, we got to sorting and gathered all of the food categories - canned veggies, pasta, rice, breakfast, baking, condiments, etc. - sorting like with like.
Pro tip: in pantries, I like to do this on the shelves as I go. This method saves a lot of running around as well as the potential overwhelm by pulling everything out and having your pantry explode all over the kitchen. It's not always possible to do, but when it is it's easier.
Once all the items are sorted like with like, then we determined what the best layout for the pantry would be.
When you do this, think of the following things:
- How often do you cook?
- Do you need to keep certain foods away from or closer to little people reach? Example: what foods do you want your child to ask permission for? What things can the children have open access to?
- Do you have anything you want to keep out of your own reach? Many clients have baking items and sweets for the kids but don't want to eat them themselves. So put those things up higher so that it's a little more challenging to get to, as well as less tempting than if it were at eye level.
When arranging, keep the like sections together, and then also arrange them near other foods they'll be used with. Example - pasta sauce near the pasta.
General rule of thumb: keep the foods used most often near eye level - this is most often ingredients for main meals. Items used less often go above and below the mains.
By keeping categories of foods together, and the main meals near eye level, it's easy to see what you have for not only meal creation, but also meal planning and grocery shopping. By maintaining this, it'll save you a LOT of time and energy in these areas over the long run.
Once we were done, the pantry looked like this!
As you can see, MANY things left the pantry! This doesn't happen very often, but it's nice to to discover so much extra space!
Since this couple entertains quite a bit, the extra space will be used for party supplies.
Pro tip: if you have a pantry similar to this, lazy susans in the corners will help prevent those from becoming where food goes to die.
Before and after:
Total time: 3 hours.