Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pantry Organization

When it comes to preparing meals and snacks for your family having an organized pantry to be able to make the whole process easier, faster, and more efficient is so important.
Often people think that they will need to spend a lot of money to set up an organized pantry system.  I am here to tell you that you do not have to buy expensive organizing products to create an organized pantry.  I've organized my entire pantry by using things that I already had in my home and a few things that I had to purchase from Walmart, Michael's and The Dollar Tree.  Every item purchased was under $5 a piece!   I’m going to show you all the cool systems that I set up to inspire you to organize your pantry with whatever budget you are working with.

This is my pantry.  It is the narrow cabinet system on the left side of my refrigerator.  It is deep and narrow, only about 16 inches wide so it is a bit of a challenge to figure out a good working system!  In the photos below you will see what the pantry looked like before.  It was pretty bad!!

The first thing that I did was to empty all of the shelves and wipe them down with an all-purpose cleaner, making sure to dry them well.

The next step was gathering all the containers and organizers that I had around the house or that I purchased.  I have several baskets from Target that I already own (blue and wicker), the canisters are from Walmart and they are the Better Homes and Garden brand.  I also purchased labels and a basket at 50% off from Michael's.  The tiered wooden piece is from Marshall's and that is actually being used for my spice cabinet along with the cake pans and marbles (more on that in another post!).

I used this open air basket to store my potatoes and onions.

The larger blue basket is for storing all of my chips.  I use clips that I love from The Dollar Tree.  They are fun and come in a rainbow of colors!

The smaller blue basket stores all my son's snacks such as granola bars, cereal bars and popcorn.  This way whenever he is hungry he knows that this bin is his and can just grab something quickly without having to dig through the pantry.

This wicker basket holds miscellaneous stuff like canned fish, dried fruit, rice cakes, seeds etc.

I used my label maker and these cute black labels from Michael's to create labels for my canisters.  I love to store all of my dry goods like, pasta, nuts, grains, flour, sugar, rice, oats etc in these canisters.  It makes it easy to find and the seal tight containers help keep them fresh.

Here is the top shelf after picture.  I store my paper towels, dog food and granola on this shelf.  The extra dog food is behind this.  My shelves are deep so it allows me to store the extra items that are used to refill behind the items that are stored in the front of the shelf.

The next shelf is my chip basket and a container of trail mix that I make weekly as a healthy snack for lunches.  It is Trader Joe's raw almonds and cashews, dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips.  My husband and son love this mix!

The next shelf stores our canned goods.  I used an elevated shelf to allow for double the storage space.  There is a basket stored behind this with extra grains so that I can refill canisters when I need to.

The next shelf stores 2 baskets.  The blue one is my son's snack basket and the other has our miscellaneous items.

This shelf has all of out grains, pastas and baking supplies.  The 3 canisters behind the front canisters are flour, sugar and oats.  I store them behind because they are less frequently accessed.  There are 2 blue plastic bins behind the canisters that hold all of my baking supplies like vanilla, colored sugars for cookies and cupcakes, cocoa, brown sugar, baking powder etc.

The next shelf is my open air basket with potatoes and onions and the bottom shelf I store all of my Christmas cookie tins.  Below you will see pictures of what the pantry looks like after the makeover!

 I hope this post has inspired you to work with whatever budget you have and encourages you to use organizational supplies that you have around your home.  If you do have to purchase supplies please check out your local dollar store, Walmart and Michael's.  All of these stores have good quality organizing supplies at reasonable prices.  Happy Organizing!!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Battery Organization

Do you ever have trouble finding batteries when you really need them?  Don’t know what you have in stock and what you need to get at the store on your next visit?  Do you know how to store your batteries so they can have the longest life?
I used to store our batteries in a drawer in the packages that they were in when I bought them.  Not that my system was a bad system but when searching for batteries, I never knew what I really had in stock.  

I decided it was time to try something different.  The first thing I did was purchase a tackle type storage box from Staples.  I chose this particular box because it has a removable tray inside with separate compartments to store each different type of battery. 

The first thing I did was make labels with my Brother's P-Touch label maker for each type of battery that I would be storing in the box.  This way each type would be stored in it's own compartment.

I organized the batteries by placing one type of battery in each compartment.  Now I know exactly how many batteries I have of each type and I don’t have to dump them all out in search for a particular type.

Here are a few facts about how to store batteries and get the most life out of them.

1.  Batteries should be kept in a cool place but never frozen.  It was suggested by one site that you could store them in the refrigerator as long as you keep them in a sealed plastic bag to prevent condensation.    Another site said to avoid both the freezer and refrigerator all together. Summary:  cold and/or wet batteries do not operate at full strength and warm batteries have a shorter lifespan.  Ideal weather:  59 degrees at 50% humidity. 
2.  Keep their negative and positive ends away from each other to keep them from conducting idly. 
3.  Store new and old batteries in separate containers–old batteries near new batteries will shorten the new batteries’ life.  

Happy Organizing!!!