Organizing without Overhauling: Fridge and Pantry
I got a wild hair on Tuesday and decided to clean out our fridge and pantry. I got done, looked at the final product, and thought to myself, “I should put this on the blog.” Then I thought to myself, “But it’s not really that impressive. Maybe I shouldn’t.” Here’s the thing, I love me some epic organization makeovers. You know the ones with custom built shelving, new paint, a chevron-fabric-covered bulletin board, and inevitably something spray painted gold. They’re the best. But they’re not always realistic. I would love for my entire house to look like that, and maybe someday it will. But right now, as I’m focusing on other projects in our home, I don’t want to have to live with dysfunction just because I don’t have the funds or the time available to make everything into a scene from The Container Store catalog. So when I thought that my refrigerator and pantry wouldn’t be good enough to blog about, I quickly thought back to myself (this thought conversation is getting a little weird…), “1. It’s my blog. I do what I want and I want to post about it. 2. This is real life and something I was able to do in my home, in about an hour, with stuff I already had.” We need those kinds of projects – something I refer to as naptime projects. We need things that we can do around our house without eating away at precious time and resources.
Anyway, here’s my fridge. I didn’t take a before, but trust me it was horrible. I used some chalk board labels I had on hand to make sure people can both find things and know where to put them away and I allocated specific spots for things that didn’t previously have a specific spot. I also wiped down all of the shelves and drawers with vinegar to get rid of any food stains or smells.
I realize, now, looking at my fridge just how much dairy we have. I’m not sure if that’s embarrassing or not…
Anyway, the key things were to have a place for our ridiculous cheese hoard which constituted its own drawer, arranging the condiments so they were easier to find, and having a specific spot for leftovers so they’re easier to grab and heat up (and also so we know what we have which means wasting less food).
I really like these Fridge Bins because they’re easy to clean and they’re also clear so I can see what I have. I got a set of 4 at Costco for $20 which is a STEAL if you’ve ever seen these at other retailers.
Next I moved onto the pantry which was just a hot mess. This space desperately needed to be cleaned out. There were crumbs, like 8 sleeves of crackers, 2 or 3 open bags of rice. I needed to consolidate and make it easier to find things when I needed them. Like the fridge, was just to allocate a specific spot for everything. I also labeled specific containers with chalkboard labels.
The hardest thing about this pantry is that it’s so deep – 24 inches – so things tend to get lost in the back. When we renovate this kitchen, pull out shelves are a definite MUST. Until then, I’m just going to have to deal with the fact that stuff sometimes gets lost in the back. My favorite things about this particular space are the oil and vinegar bin, the labels on all of the OXO Pop containers (which I’m a huge fan of, BTW), and the labeled cereal containers.
Here’s a close up of our spice rack, which I did a while back and shared on Instagram. It was a really simple project and I like it way better than any traditional spice rack we’ve ever had. I'll go as far to say as I like it better than any spice rack I've seen.