Friday, January 31, 2014

Organize It: The pantry

On to the next spot in the house needing some organization.

I don't remember how we lived without the huge open kitchen and ample pantry area in our first house.  In all honestly we didn't really have less stuff but when we moved and had more room, every nook and cranny was still full.  I'm not sure how it happens, but I bet you all know the feeling.

I blame it on organization.  In the townhouse I tried to keep things very organized since there was so little space.  Things were grouped together, stacked, placed in boxes, etc.  I might have had to move something to get another item but that was the way it would all fit.  When we moved and started deciding how to organize the new place, we spread out a bit more.  The small plates weren't stacked on the large plates which were on top of the serving plates.  There was no longer stacks of 4 glasses but each sitting by themselves in the cabinet.

The pantry for the longest time was the catch all for kitchen items that had no place.  The land of the misfit kitchen items.  It was becoming a problem though.  A problem that needed fixed before it got too out of hand.

Hey you lovely mess!  Don't be fooled by the few organized areas.  Or the fact that I removed some items before I remembered to take a picture.

I pulled everything out and spread it out on the kitchen table and counters.  I started grouping everything together that once put back in would sit in one spot.  We have serving platters, storage containers, pastas, baking supplies, all the extra paper towels we buy in bulk (why do we do this?!), knives, the griddle and foreman.

I could barely fit half of these items in there without warning people to not open the doors.

Don't forget the random s'mores supplies next to the soup and tea bags.

Next step was to think about what we use most often.  What items are just stored in here.  How to I fit the most item into the space.  How can I configure all the boxes to not take up valuable shelf space.

Top shelves

Drink at the top.  We don't drink very often so this doesn't have to be handy.  This is also all the extra that doesn't fit with the liquor and things.  We're hoping to find a wall mount wine rack we can use in the dining room.  We also have a large serving bowl and some gallon drink containers if we're mixing something up.  Hidden to the right is the griddle and foreman.

Next shelf down has a lot of my baking supplies, the cupcake stand which holds various items as well.  We have a large seashell shaped serving bowl (from my wedding shower) that holds all the ready to make pastas (yes, these are a staple in our meals).  Then on the far right is the pasta in Oxo containers and cereal.

I love the organization this bowl of pasta gave us.

Bottom levels

I forgot a picture of the one level that is cut off in the above picture.  It has pancakes mixes, our knife block, soup (which we buy in bulk as well), breakfast bars, oatmeal.

Next is a lot of the storage items we buy in bulk (paper towels, napkins, ziplock bags).  Then cans dressing, other supplies that last longer.  To the right (which you can see below) is all our snack stuff like chips and cookies.

The bottom shelf and the floor house all the party supplies, boxes of serve ware and coolers.

Lookin' good.

The organization of the pantry has definitely made daily life a lot easier.  I know I said most items aren't used frequently, but something in here is used at least daily.  So opening the doors up and knowing exactly where to look is nice.  It's kept up petty well so far (a few days) so we'll see how this set-up works for the long haul.  I'm sure there will be some adjusting.

Do you buy any items in bulk?  Any handy tips on organizing a pantry you'd like to share?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Organize It: The ribbon box

Today starts me cleaning of the catch all room.  As I've mentioned before we bought a much larger house to become our forever home.  It has rooms we don't even use.  Heck, the kitties have full reign of the 500 sq. ft basement that I rarely see.  The one thing I think our house is really missing is a proper mud room.  I live in Ohio people, 80% of the year the weather sucks and I have wet, muddy, or snowy shoes that need removed and a coat to take off and hang.  Our laundry room is right across from the door we enter through (from the garage) and we place all shoes and coats here.  But when I walk in the house with my arms full of stuff from shopping, it goes in the catch all room.

This is also known as the craft room, the office, the back room, the workout room....the list goes on.  We just got a cable box for back there so I've been spending more time in there cleaning up and organizing.  To organize the whole room though, there are a lot of little things I must organize first.  I'm getting there, tiny bits at a time.

Enough rambling.

For a few years now I've had a box thrown in with my scrapbook stuff where I store ribbon.  Spools, tiny pieces, from gifts, scraps I find.  Every little bit!  I started by throwing out the worthless stuff then went ahead organizing the rest.

Nothing too scary right?

WRONG!  Pop that bad boy open (well actually it wouldn't even shut) and you have an explosion!

I tried to roll them up then lay into the box, but they kept unrolling.  No bueno.

Laying nearby in the crafts pile were a bunch of twist ties left over from small clear plastic gift bags.  I usually use ribbon to tie them up instead but have kept the twist ties.  I decided to give them a go.

At first I wrapped it under and around, but I found that it was squeezing the ribbon too much.  If it stayed like that for a long time, when I go to unwrap and use sometime it wouldn't be smooth.

So I switched to tying from one side to the other.  I left it loose, squeezed it tight and then twisted.  These seemed to work great.  Bad description, let's look at some pictures.

Looking neat and pretty

Thick ribbon, thin ribbon

Rope and chord

Patterned and solid

Alright, that's starting to sound a bit like a Dr. Seuss book.

I organized it all.  Every last piece got wrangled up and twist tied.

Ahh, organized

I'm happy with the results and that everything now fits into the box.  Part of the reason the box never shut before though was because of the spools of ribbon I have.  A few I took off since there wasn't much left, but other larger rolls have been tossed into the crafts bin for now.  Organizing that is another day.

Nice.  Clean.  Organized.

And that my friends is the tale of the ribbon taming.

What are you organizing around your place?  Or are you waiting for Spring cleaning to really kick you in the butt?