It's time for some spring cleaning and organizing! Let's do this.
It's been a little while, hasn't it? I like to disappear every so often, so I can make a grand re-entrance! It makes things much more exciting.
Life got unexpectedly hectic the last several weeks and I promise to spill all of the details very soon. In the meantime, let's talk about spring!
It's officially spring, regardless of what the weather is like outside right now. And what usually pairs well with this season (besides tasty seasonal fruits and veggies, obviously)? Cleaning and organizing! Huzzah!
Because of the craziness that was my life over the last couple of months, I became slightly irresponsible with keeping things, um, tidy. I may or may not have a basket of clean laundry that has been sitting there, unfolded, for days. Oops.
Something else at OMGfood headquarters that has become a bit unruly: the pantry.
At some point in the last several weeks, Jason and I both got lazy about how and where we stored the goods. We have a relatively small kitchen and pantry, with only so much room to store canned and dry goods. It got to the point where I was forgetting just what we had because food was hiding behind other food! No good, friends. No good.
We decided enough was enough and attacked the pantry. We also gave the kitchen a good cleaning, because whoa, did that room need it. With the help of some products from OXO, we made things tidy again. And life was good.
I documented the experience with many photos below. Hilarity will ensue!
Let's do this.
Spring Cleaning and Organizing the Pantry
I received a set of products from OXO to help me with my cleaning and organizing adventure. Here's what they are:
- 10-Piece POP Container Set
- Microfiber Under Appliance Duster
- Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set
And here's a little more detail on what they're great for:
The 10-Piece POP Container Set
Available in various sizes, The POP containers are great for storing your pantry staples. They're stackable, space-friendly, and designed for modular use, so you can organize in any number of height combinations to fit your counter-top and/or pantry. The lid has a push-button mechanism which creates an airtight seal and the corners are slightly rounded, making it easy for pouring.
The Microfiber Under Appliance Duster
This duster is long, flat, and slim, making it super easy to go around and underneath appliances and cabinets. If you happen to have a half-inch opening between cupboards and appliances? Works wonderfully there too. The long and fluffy fibers conform to uneven surfaces to capture all of those dust bunnies. Also, the head is washable.
The Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set
The cleaning set is compact and versatile. It features durable nylon brushes and scrapers that can get into your kitchen fixtures and appliances' tight spaces and gets any gross buildup out of them. The tools snap together into a clip for easy storage.
And now, without further ado, here's the mess.
I don't dare say this is the worst our pantry has ever been, but it's pretty close. I find the photos don't do this mess justice, so here are a couple of closer looks.
Below, you'll see a bunch of goods are just kind of thrown in together. There are canned goods in the back, trying desperately to stay organized on a shelf divider behind the chaos, but in order to reach the cans on the bottom, you have to go through what's in front, which means moving many things out of the way.
All things mixed together in the first photo below include peanut butter, tomato sauce, hazelnut spread, some crackers in a plastic bag, and mustard. Also, one protein beverage. And it's hard to see because it's so dark, but there are two plastic containers to the right full of dried chilis.
In the second photo, it's basically a baker's nightmare, complete with crackers for snacking and breakfast cereals.
And here we have a bin with random food things thrown together such as two bags of rice, a big bag of cane sugar, a bag of dried cranberries, and coffee. It makes perfect sense these would all be stored together, right? ????
And that marks the things you *could* see, but there were more on a couple of shelves on the bottom that had food hiding behind other food. And because it wasn't in plain sight, it was very easy to forget about. Out of sight, out of mind, am I right? Here's everything laid out on the dining table.
I originally tried to compartmentalize everything to sort through and re-organize, but eventually, everything took over.
And here's what the pantry space looks like when it's empty. It looks a little sad. I sometimes wish our landlord would renovate our space a bit, but I digress.
Here's what I discovered when taking everything in the pantry out:
- We had four opened packages of pasta, with two of them being the same type (penne); both of them half used.
- We had three jars of peanut butter. One was basically empty, but we were holding onto it because why not, I guess?
- We apparently really like crackers because we had more than a couple of types and nearly all of them were close to empty.
- Other nearly empty packages/bags/jars include: hazelnut spread, chips, and cookies.
Jason and I sorted through all of the food and tossed out/ate the things that weren't worth saving. Seriously, keeping a big box of crackers around when there are three left? Really?
As for the things we decided to keep, we got to spend some time figuring out what we should store in our POP containers! Then, we moved onto sweeping and scrubbing before putting the pantry items away.
I was strangely excited to try out the under appliance duster because getting under our appliances has been, well, non-existent. I had no clue what I was going to find under there other than crumbs and dust bunnies.
Actually, that's all I expected to find, really. But we were in for a treat!
As I slipped the duster under the oven, Jason and I heard something metal bang around and we both looked at each other with curiosity. Low and behold, out came a...pizza pan?
Fun fact: This July will mark three years since first renting this apartment. This pizza pan does not belong to us.
I laughed and took a photo of the result; proud of what this duster has done for us. It just might be my new, favorite cleaning tool.
We also have about a half-inch space between the cupboard and oven, which I was able to sweep out using the duster. I really love this thing.
After we dusted beneath our appliances, we took out the broom and mop to clean the rest of the floors before moving onto some fine detailing. We brought out the Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set!
This set did a great job on cleaning up some caked on mess from our stand mixer and food processor - and I especially loved using it on and around our faucet.
Yay for squeaky clean!
And finally, it was time to put the pantry items back. I told Jason I wanted to own this part, so I could surprise him with my ideas.
There's a very top shelf not pictured below because that is going to be part of different pantry overhaul another time (once I figure out just what I'll do with that space), but I'll explain what I did differently from top to bottom in the photos:
Top shelf: I removed half of the shelf.
Half of the problem with our pantry space (aside from it desperately needing some renovating), is it's very deep. My ideal pantry would have wider and more shallow shelves to allow for easier storing and grabbing. Since we can't do that here, I removed one of the boards for the top shelf, making it easy to see what I can grab and not have to worry about grabbing a step-stool to see what's hiding in the back. I decided the best use of space up here was for the canned goods.
Also, I love how open this space looks because of this slight change.
Second shelf: I removed one of the shelf dividers and lined up some POP containers and cooking staples.
I also moved some of the jars to the fridge to save pantry space because those goods would need refrigeration after opening anyway. I lined things up against each wall, making it easy to see exactly what we have there, (which will also make things easy to take without moving everything around like crazy or dropping them).
Third shelf: I removed the other shelf divider and added a rotating tray!
Or do you call it a lazy Susan? I alternate back and forth.
We originally kept the tray on the counter, but it really had no good use there as I never quite figured out what to store on it. This new change made perfect sense.
I also removed a marble slab that has better use elsewhere (like, for baking perhaps!?) and I honestly don't know why I kept it on this shelf to begin with.
Bottom shelves: I grabbed a second storage bin to carefully store the rest of our goods.
The top part of the black shelf holds unopened pasta boxes, some dried chilis, and other cooking staples. All visible.
The second part of the shelf will probably get a do-over, but for now, it's only holding the two bags of rice shown. Placing anything behind them will only result in me forgetting there is food there.
Bottom shelf: Bagged snacks live there now. All standing up and easy to see and grab.
This pantry reorganization was a real refresher and I already have it on my list to get more POP containers at some point. Life without foods wrapped in plastic is beautiful and I love it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! I look forward to tackling more cleaning and organizing fun at some point soon.
Happy spring, friends!
Disclosure: OXO provided me with free products to use in this blog post. All opinions are strictly my own.