Sunday, February 24, 2013

I See RED.....In my Pantry!!!!

What a mess!  This was really my pantry just a few days ago.  It didn't get this crazy all by itself, but I have been crazy busy and people just put things down without really finding a place for them to go.  Also, Rooster Senior thinks that jackets, several of his 'glues' (for woodworking), and a bucket of "something" needed to be inside during the cold weather.  (Of course they had to go in the pantry, not in his office or downstairs in the laundry room....go figure.  It's a good thing that I love this crazy guy).

I was so frustrated by all the 'stuff' that had been place on the floor and all around that I decided to tackle this project.

See the jackets....I guess Rooster Senior also thinks the coat closet is a few too many steps away.  

I had a collection of #10 cans of various food stuffs on the top shelf...and they were not in any sort of order. They were also just stacked on top of each other.

My original storage with square gallon containers still was in place...but other things had encroached on this space as well.  Also, several big buckets were all around the perimeter of the floor...again in no particular order.

It was a big mess!!!!!!!  So, I decided to rectify it.  So, I went to, of all places, the Dollar Store.  I decided to visually make the pantry look uniform as much as possible.  So, I purchased several different red containers as I already had a few red containers in the pantry.  I bought 2 types of red bins, red oblong containers and red baskets.  I spent about $30.00.  Want to see how it came out?  Okay!

Here is the result!

The coats are gone!  The 72 hour kits are hanging on hooks ready to go.  Just below the 72 hour kits are 4 appliances.....that are plugged in.  (When Rooster Senior built the shelving for me, I asked him to provide an outlet so that I could have appliances ready to go. I hate to pull out equipment just to grind my wheat or seal my Food Saver bags).  I have 2 grain mills.  One is my beloved Nutramill and the other is an old Magic Mill.  The Nutrimill always has wheat in it so that I can grind what I need in a moment's notice.  The Magic Mill is used to grind bean flour or corn meal. This is just a convenience thing for me that I have two.  I also have my 2 Food Saver machines on the shelf as well. The flat one is better for sealing Mylar bags than the upright model.

I reorganized my gallon containers and other containers.  I put them into categories.  The top shelf of containers has cooking and baking supplies like flour and sugar etc.  The second shelves gallon containers have beans, rice, etc. The third shelf has dehydrated fruits and vegetables.  In the smaller containers, I have some of the mixes that I have made for things like Ranch Dressing etc.

I moved the Dehydrator with its extras to the top shelf along with my scale, and other items that I don't use frequently.

I re-labeled each container so that all the labels are at the same level so that I could easily read what the container holds.

The Sprouting Seeds are in the tub, basket, and the plastic bucket so that they are all easily accessed.  Again, they are all labeled.

I used bins for pastas, spices, my CHOCOLATE, and packaged side dishes.  The small stackable bins hold things like Jello, pudding, and envelopes of soups and sauces....all labeled so that they are easy to find and also fill when the time comes.

Notice the bins with little holes in them.  I used them to put lots of different snacks in so that they could be seen.  There is an oblong container just adjacent to the 'holey' bins that holds bags of chips.  The bins on the bottom hold other items such as drink mixes.  These mixes are adjacent to #10 cans of drink mixes that I use often.

Remember my shelf with plugged in appliances? Well, here are the shelves below them.  The big bins and shelves on the left hold disposable utensils, cups and napkins.  The "Red Basket" is used to hold plates and silverware when I am having a picnic or a little gathering.  The red bin has napkins, which sit next to two types of plates. (I work with the Young Single Adults and we are always serving food somewhere!) The Shelving to the right has 2  big bins with Food Saver supplies/accessories.   The other big bin holds garbage bags and ziploc bags.  On the floor, is my beloved vegetable bin and a couple of appliances that I need on occasion.  

This was the "before" picture of my # 10 cans.  Again, just a big mess!  To get one can down, I had to move, slide, transfer, a can or cans from one pile to the other.  Because of this, I had no real idea what I had up there for sure.

Here is the "after".  I don't know if you can readily see, but I used shelving to separate and provide 'shelves' for the cans.  They are also categorized (Meats, Vegetables, Fruits, Special items etc).  I can easily slide cans in and out as I need them.

I used these large stacking shelves with foldable legs. If you look at the 'after' pictures, you can see that they easily clear the height of the #10 cans.  I could get 6 cans under one (as the legs could flare) and 5 on the top of the shelf.  (I did not purchase these at the Dollar store, but I most likely purchased them at a Big Box Store a few months ago...I just don't remember).

One very big and expensive lesson to take away from all of this is the amount of  food I had to throw away.  I had duplicate cans of items open, I had expired items stored up high on that shelf.  I threw away quite a few things.  Instead of putting the contents of the #10 can into jars and sealing them with my Food Saver attachment, I just quickly put the cans away and always thought that I would get to dry sealing with my Food Saver at a later time.  Well, it's later and it was too late for a significant amount of food.

I am now allowing space for jars on this top of this shelf of this picture so that I can safely store the contents of open #10 cans in sealed jars.  Things like Egg Powder etc will be put into jars and will be sealed with my Food Saver.  Also, you can see that I am using a Lazy-Susan device in the corner to make sure that I can see and access items easily.

I used another shelf to house 4 bins. Three of the bins hold Cheese-making, Pickling, and Canning supplies. The other 2 bins stacked together are extra's for when I need to add something else...which we all knows will happen.

I used to store these heavy Canners on the top shelf.  I won't elaborate on how challenging it was to get them down every time I was going to can something.  Having them on the floor makes so much more sense!

I also cut down on the number of buckets I am keeping in my Pantry. Right now, there are only four. They contain wheat, flour, sugar, and rice. Also, each bucket has a Mylar liner and a Gamma Lid to cut down on the possibility of little 'friends' trying to live in my food as these buckets can let light shine through.

Here is a view of the finished product, including my step stool that helps me easily access...anything!  I just love looking in my Pantry now.  I have had it this way for a few days to make sure that it is working for me.  I love to "see red" now because I can also find anything I need!

Not bad for a few bucks!


Anonymous said...

What brand are your gallon containers? I am interested in storing foods like this. thanks.

The Little Red Hen said...

I purchased these through There are also SNAP brand containers that are also square. Thanks for stopping by!

Chef Owings said...

I was just at the Dollar store doing the same, mine are blue but I put them in my kitchen instead of my pantry.

The Little Red Hen said...

I am eyeing my kitchen as well. It's so nice to have things in their place isn't it? Thank you for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Can anyone order from alisonspantry? It looks like you have to have a local representative to order. I love reading your blog.

Maria Zannini said...

You did a great job of organizing your pantry. I especially like the idea of placing the square jars on their sides and labeling the tops. Very clean and easy to view.

The Little Red Hen said...

I believe they ship to most areas of the US. Try this link to find the area representative who should be able to help you. Good luck

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