Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pantry Overhaul

Mindy here, and we have officially moved into the big house. Things aren't perfect, not that they ever will be. Some finishing touches still need to be done, like the exhaust pipe for the venthood over the stove, some shelving, etc. Little things that we can get by without for a short time.

In the meantime, there's still that physical act of moving-in. While most of our things had been moved into the house the day after Thanksgiving, we didn't spend our first night in the new house until December 15th. Then it was a rush toward Christmas, hopping into the car Christmas morning to meet the rest of the family in Ft. Worth, welcoming baby Taegan, coming back for a day and half with one daughter and her 4 boys before I headed back to FW for 10 glorious days of getting to know my new granddaughter.
I can't believe she's 3 weeks old already.
And this little guy...
He's 8 months old now and trying his hardest to crawl.

But I digress. Babies will do that. 

Moving in. Yes, that's what I was talking about. So you know how it goes. You're unpacking boxes, not sure where most things are going to go, but shoving them here and there as you go. Then, once you get most of the rooms kinda settled, you go back and figure out where to put all that stuff you just stuck somewhere for the sake of putting somewhere.

Which leads me to my pantry. For two months, it pretty much served as a catch-all. When something needed to be out-of-sight-out-of-mind, we stuck it in the pantry where it wouldn't be in the way of the workers. I mean, not only did it have all those shelves, it was also the the first space that was truly "finished." So by the time we got somewhat settled, the pantry looked like this.
Which was okay, for a time. I mean, for the most part, we knew what was in there. Then I woke up one morning with a determination for some sort of organization in the house. Living in chaos for several months will do that do you.

And so it began.

But where to begin?

At the bottom.

Bet you weren't expecting that. 

Notice all the crapola on the floor, rendering our walk-in pantry un-walk-inable. So the first thing I did was remove everything cluttering the floor.
This isn't all of it, but these boxes took up a lot of space. We'd purposely kept boxes for things, knowing we'd be moving, but now that we're in our forever home, it's time these things had a permanent place to live where they're easily accessed. 

Next, I segmented similar-use items into their own areas. Like my baking supplies.
Of course, flours and sugars were already at home on the counter.
Cereals were grouped together in clear containers so with one look I can see which ones need to be added to my grocery list.
Even snack foods were grouped. Now I just need to come up with something to hold all those individual little packets, but that's a job for another day.
Once everything was grouped and put back in, this was the result.
The stuff I rarely use went on the top shelf. While the things I use regularly...
Are easy to grab. Note the air fryer on the shelf. Now it's ready to go whenever I want to use it. No unboxing necessary.
Notice how much more free space I have. And would you look at the floor.
No more tip-toeing around things while I'm looking to see what I need from the grocery store. 

You know, when I envisioned my new house, everything was perfectly appointed and clean as a whistle. Reality, though, is that I am not an organization freak, nor a clean freak, and my rooms rarely turn out as beautifully decorated as they were in my mind. However, I'm pretty proud of my tidy little pantry. And all it took was some time and determination. If only the rest of the house were that easy to tackle.

Now it's your turn. Does organization come naturally to you or do you have to work at it? If you're a natural, the rest of us would love some tips. 

Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com  


  1. I am pantry-shamed!!! Lacey took to my two pantry cupboards on Friday after we stocked up at our now-closing Sam's Club... and she organized them to look beautiful and they were in desperate need... so clearly this is a January take-back-control of crazy lives!

    I am in love with those babies... and do they look alike? They're first cousins, right? But I look at those pics and they could be brother and sister by those photos...

    What a blessing!!!

    Mindy, cooking when there are deadlines is over-rated... and when there are deadlines and MOVING and BABIES and CHRISTMAS.... well, priorities must vary!!!!

    Congratulations on moving into the house but mostly on these precious babies.

    Oh my stars, I can't even!!!! Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

    1. Oh, don’t you just love that Lacey, Ruthy? I can’t wait to get to Sam’s again. We had no room to store anything at the camphouse, but now I do.

      Yes, Max and Taegan are first cousins. And, for now, they both have those deep blue eyes. Grandkids really are a blessing. We get to love on them, spoil them, Jazz them up on sugar, then send them home to Mom and Dad. (Anyone else think an evil laugh should be inserted here?)

      We are dealing with ice ths morning. It started overnight and there’s more to come. Sounds like a good day to bake. Or clean. Anything that doesn’t involve going outside.

  2. I love the organized pantry... almost as much as the babies!

    1. Stephen (or is this Rachel masquerading as Stephen?), both make me smile, too.

  3. Oh, Mindy! Now I have pantry envy!

    I actually have three pantries. The one in the kitchen is small, but I'm thankful for it. And it desperately needs reorganizing. (Your pictures are inspiring!)

    Then there's the one under the stairs that doubles as a broom closet. But we put in nice, strong shelves, and that's where I keep all my canned goods.

    Since the oldest son got married last year, we've been using his room for storage, and one wall is my dry goods pantry. Extra flour, sugar, paper goods, etc., as well as those "use once or twice a year" things like the roaster.

    But if we ever build a house (not likely!), I have my perfect pantry already designed. Walk-in, or course, and with windows.

    Sometimes I dream about that pantry... :-D

    1. Jan, the pantry at our old house was just a small closet, so we added shelves to the closet under the stairs for overflow. Trust me, there was a lot of overflow. So it’s nice to have the space, especially since we rural and there isn’t a market right around the corner. In addition to the pantry, we have cupboards in the laundry room, so those kind of serve as a butler’s pantry and the paper goods get to live in there.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had a dream pantry in my head, I just want the space to store the stuff. I’ve seen some of the uber organized pantries on Pinterest, but they’re a little much for me. They surpass organizational skills. I’m too busy expending those extra brain cells on my characters.

  4. Sigh. I have pantry envy. And I love the way you organized it. That makes me happy, just looking at the before and after pictures. Almost as happy as the baby pictures. There's something about January that has me itching to organize. Spring it's cleaning but January it's being organized.

    1. Kav, you are right about January and organizing. Must be that whole new-year-fresh-slate ideal. We can’t control the weather, but we can control our surroundings. And having the pantry organized makes me happy. I often find myself opening the door just to take a peak.

  5. Pop tarts. Seriously, Pop tarts?

    1. LOL! The 19 yo boy requested those. I've noticed that he never goes through them very fast, though.

  6. Oh, Mindy. :(

    Want to come organize mine?

    I have such dreams of a beautifully organized home. Alas, I'm missing the organizational gene. Organizing truly defeats me. My husband bought me that Japanese book on the art of decluttering. Um, it's in a stack somewhere. so very sad

    1. Mary Cate, I think I would’ve reminded my husband that I’m not Japanese. Organization doesn’t come naturally to me either, but I occasionally like to play pretend. As I did last Saturday when I decided to tackle the pantry. That said, I could be persuaded to do your pantry, too. IF there were some New York pizza involved. ;)

  7. Oh my goodness, Mindy, I thrive on organization!! That being said, however...we bought a house in March of 2017 that has a walk-in closet (my first ever!) that is similar in shape to your pantry but bigger, obviously. I knew from day one of moving in that I wanted to keep it from being a catch-all. True confession, while for the most part it is, but for the other parts there are things I KNOW I can get rid of or organize better in there. Big plastic totes that probably has stuff in them I can go through but haven't, shelves can be decluttered that have accumulated who knows what, and etc! I guess because I know I can shut the door and nobody can see it because it's in MY room, I've put it off for far too long...lol! That old "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy, oy!

    I keep saying to myself "one of these days", ya know?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Wait a minute, Trixi... You say you THRIVE on organization? You just might need to come visit me here at the ranch. You'd have the time of our life. I promise, I'd feed you well.

      You bedroom closet sounds like mine during the holidays. Where do I put this? Oh, I'll just throw it in the closet. It's amazing the things I've unearthed in March.

    2. Mindy, I literally laughed out loud until I cried at your comment!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Yea, the old "ah, just shove it in the closet" has tried to overtake my thinking all too often since our move...LOL!! It's like fighting a dragon with a toothpick...lol!!!!

      I will GLADLY come help you organize and educate you on the concept in exchange for some good food! I never pass that up. Never. Since I am the only cook in the family I would treasure the respite from slaving away in the kitchen...even though I do love it :-) HAHA, I wish I could come!