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Organizing a Messy Pantry

September 20, 2018
Organizing a Messy Pantry

I’m not a morning person. I’ve tried to be, but I’m just not. Like, don’t talk to me until I’ve been up for at least an hour and have had a cup of coffee. Coffee. Is. Life.

In the summer, it’s not so bad. The sun comes up early, and I usually have to get in a workout before Robb goes to work. I’m either running, which is great because I can be alone, or at Orange Theory, silently hoping no one will talk to me. (Seriously, don’t talk to me at the gym at 6am, I have morning breath and no makeup on. That in itself should be a deterrent.) This usually works well though because it gives me time to wake up and get those endorphins flowing so I am in a much better mood after.

Back to School

Fall is different. In the fall I’m not getting up to run or go to the gym (usually) because it’s back to school. That means it’s still dark out. That means I’m dragging two grumpy kids out of bed. That means making the dreaded school lunches (ugh) and getting the kids out the door in time.

Last spring, every morning was an unorganized mess. We would be rushing to make breakfast, make lunches, sign agendas, check the calendar, fight about hair-dos, look for shoes and get ourselves ready in about an hour. And that was on a good day. I won’t even mention the days with cat puke on the carpet, kid meltdowns or me being completely and utterly fatigued. Either way, after everyone was gone, I would be left with a kitchen that looked like a bomb blew up in it.

Now, I’m am a bit of a clean-organization freak, but I’m also lazy sometimes. I’m really bad at putting things away when I’m in a rush. But if the house is unorganized, so is my brain. If the house is a mess I am one crusty mofo and no one is safe from my wrath. And kids really don’t need their mom like that right before they go to school.

Why tho?

I couldn’t figure out why we could not get our shit together. Even if we managed to get some stuff done the night before (yes I realize this helps), we still had this huge mess every morning. Then I suddenly realized what the problem was. Nothing was where it should be. Containers were hard to find, snacks and ingredients were hard to find, pieces of the blender were missing, etc. Why? Because of this.

Pantry Organization

Messy af

Our pantry was a fricking disaster. We are lucky enough to have a home that has this amazingly huge walk-in pantry, and this is what it looked like.

I’ve organized the pantry many times before. I have containers, labels, designated spots, you name it. But this is still how it ended up, again. It was time for a reorganization.

I pulled out my favourite cleaning and organizing book, “Simply Clean” by Becky Rapinichuk.

I bought this book after following her blog Clean Mama for a few years. I was not always a naturally clean and organized person, but this blog and book have helped me so much! I highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to keep their house clean and organized.


Organizing a Messy Pantry



Organizing the Pantry

Time to get down to business. I followed Becky’s advice in her book on how to clean and organize a pantry.

First, gather your supplies!

  • garbage bag
  • cleaning cloth
  • all purpose cleaner

Then I followed her step-by-step process. Her first step is to determine zones for everything. But since I already had a place for most things and labeled containers, I skipped that step and went straight to step 3 which is to empty out the entire pantry. I tossed a lot of food that had gone stale (874 boxes of crackers from Christmas) and donated a few items we didn’t use anymore. When that was done I vacuumed the floor and sprayed the shelves with cleaner (I use my homemade cleaner that is just water, vinegar and rubbing alcohol). After that I mopped the floor. Oh, and I also cleaned under the deepfreeze. It was frightening under there!


Organizing the Pantry

Storage Containers

Now it was time to put everything back. I had a bunch of bags full of bulk flours, nuts, seeds etc. and put them into containers with labels. I also unpacked boxes of multiple items that we got from Costco such as black beans and Motts apple sauce and stacked them neatly on the shelf. I also got Robb to take the wine bottles recycling back cause it was starting to look like we had a problem. We are patiently waiting for our city to get curb-side recycling, so we don’t have to store it in the pantry anymore.

One new thing I did do was designate a container for my Ninja Nutri Pro and all my protein powders. IOrganizing a Messy Pantry usually have a protein smoothie every day and when I make them I usually destroy half the kitchen in the process. Plus, I was always staring blankly in the pantry looking for the different ingredients which were on multiple shelves. Now they have their own container where I can find everything. Super handy.

Some tips from Simply Clean to maintain an organized Pantry:

  • Have specific zones in your pantry for snacks, baking, oils (smoothies!). Label them so your kids and SO can put stuff in the right spot!
  • Remove products from their packages to keep an organized look
  • Take it out, put it away (I suck at this)
  • Take the time to put things away after you buy groceries. This is another big one for us! Especially when we get home from Costco, is so easy to just stack the boxes of food on the floor.

Organized Pantry

And that is that! It honestly didn’t take that long. And our mornings AND evenings have been going much smoother because we can actually find everything. Now to see if we can actually keep it that way.

Organized Pantry

My husband is amazingly helpful at home. He makes the kids breakfast in the morning and does the dishes every night, but dude needs help putting things where they belong. I’ve had to show him a few times where everything goes (I’m told it’s a man thing?). He’s getting better 🙂

Organized Pantry

All in all, the mornings have gone a bit smoother than they were in the spring, and my mood is a little better. Not perfect though. I still have to make breakfasts and lunches, there are still meltdowns and small feet without socks, but at least my damn pantry is organized.

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