Monday, January 30, 2017

Kitchen Organization without a Pantry

We currently live in a two-bedroom rental house with limited storage space. In order to keep our quarters clean and organized, we are very selective about the items we buy, and we try not to keep junk around.

Our kitchen isn't huge, but the amount of cabinet space it has is amazing. Whoever designed it did a fantastic job. Since we moved in almost two years ago, I have moved things around several times in order to find the most ideal setup. I think I've finally found it.

Of course, the majority of our cabinet space is devoted to dishes, utensils, pots, and pans. However, since I don't have a pantry, I had to set a few cabinets aside for food. These are the two cabinets above the sink.

And these are the cabinets to the left of and above the stove. The first contains spices, assorted cooking and baking supplies (honey, molasses, baking soda, baking powder, peanut butter, and extra spices), and sweets. The second holds cookbooks, vitamins, and our "junk" box (medicine, scissors, tape, batteries, and other random items). Have you seen my spice cabinet organization tutorial? Watch it here.

I buy in bulk to cut down on grocery store trips, so I needed one more shelf for food. This is one of the two largest cabinets. it is currently my favorite cabinet because it has unused space. What a beautiful sight!


How do you organize your pantry items?

35 comments:

  1. Anonymous1/30/2017

    Your kitchen is huge compared to my kitchen! Two people in my kitchen and it is crowded, but I have no desire for a larger kitchen. The dishwasher is old and doesn't work properly so I just use it to store plastic containers.

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    1. Anonymous1/31/2017

      My mom used to store extra baking pans in the oven. We'd always have to remember to take them out before turning the oven on. Can't count the times I ended up with a big hot pile of pans, after forgetting they were in there!

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    2. Anonymous2/01/2017

      My mom stored a bag of bread in the oven one time. Emphasis on ONE TIME....

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    3. Love hearing how you all conserve space! To the reader whose mom stored a bag of bread in the oven, did it end badly? I have a picture in my mind of a burnt loaf and a melted bag.

      Ellie

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  2. Anonymous1/30/2017

    I have a separate walk-in pantry, so most of my food is stored there. The only foods in my cabinets are ingredients (spices, oils, vinegars, etc.) and teas. Stuff that I need while standing at the counter or while cooking. There is a cabinet for crackers and snacks and cereals. But the rest of my cabinets are taken up with dishes and pots/pans. I don't like keeping anything on top of my fridge. I can't reach it.

    In the pantry, I keep things grouped by type of item. All the baking things are together. All the canned and dried fruit is together. All the pasta, all the canned vegetables, etc. It's like a mini grocery store. I have to store the food logically. I can't just toss stuff in there anywhere, because I'd never find it again or know how much I had on hand.

    When I bring food home from the store, if it goes in the pantry, it gets the date bought written on it (in Sharpie) and the date it expires, written in BIG numbers on the front. Sometimes you need to know when you bought foods, if there's a recall. Plus I don't like searching for the tiny expiration dates on packages. With the dates marked on the front, I can see at a glance which can of tomatoes is the oldest and needs to be used first. My husband appreciates this system, too, when he goes in there to find something.

    My biggest storage dilemma was how to store large bags of things like pretzels or tortilla chips. But then I found some large square plastic bins at Target, and I have those on the floor of the pantry with the bags inside.

    There used to be a website called "Other People's Pantries." It was interesting. She posted pictures people sent of their own pantries. Not sure if the site is still up, but if it is, check it out.

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    1. I dream about having a walk-in pantry! Lol. You must have plenty of space for buying in bulk. :) Just looked up that website. Fascinating! I just love seeing spaces that are well organized. Have you ever been to The Container Store? It's a wonderful place.

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous1/30/2017

    Be careful where you store your vitamins and medicines. You don't want them in an area that gets too warm. You'd be surprised how much heat a stove vent light can generate to the cabinets around it.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up. I don't use my stove vent light too often, and I've never noticed that cabinet get hot, but I'll definitely keep tabs on it. :)

      Ellie

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  4. Anonymous1/30/2017

    Very interesting Ellie, thanks for the tour of your pantry!
    What women want!
    One suggestion, get a good step stool and put some stuff on top in an interesting way - like preserves!

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    1. That's a great suggestion. Right now I have serving bowls and vases up there, but preserves would be very cute!

      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous1/30/2017

    I like the look through to the living room area that is over the sink. You are not isolated that way.

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    1. Yes, I love it! It's great for meal prep. Sometimes I'll even stand in there and do dishes while we watch a TV show, but my husband usually makes me sit down and relax. :)

      Ellie

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  6. Great pictures Ellie. If you need more space in your pantry you can make simple "lazy Susans" using items from Dollar Tree or any dollar only type store. You get two cake pans from Dollar Tree. Put marbles in bottom of one. Put second pan on top and top pan spins. I saw this on YouTube. I have three I made in my kitchen cabinets for seasonings and spices, another for items for baking like baking powder,extracts and cocoa powder and the other for bottled sauces like hot sauce,liquid amino acids, etc.

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    1. Just looked that up. How neat! I would love to share the idea with my readers. If you wanted to take a few pictures of your contraptions and email them to me, that would be wonderful!

      Ellie

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    2. Yes I will be happy to email pictures.

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    3. Can you email me your email address?

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    4. Thanks, Regina! My email is NashvillWife@gmail.com

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous1/30/2017

    We also have a similar set up in our kitchen - no pantry whatsoever. We put some shelves up in half of our front coat closet, and use that for food storage. Works great! Especially since we try to keep our coats/jackets to a minimum, and have plenty of space - one heavy winter coat, one rain coat, and one more formal wool coat is all one needs.

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    1. Great idea. If we are in this house when we have kids, I imagine that we would need to do something like that, too.

      Ellie

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  8. Good work Ellie! I have benefited enormously from a YouTube channel called 'Do it on a dime'; she might help you to continue making all your spaces as useful as possible, very cheaply.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! I'll have to check that out. :)

      Ellie

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  9. Anonymous1/31/2017

    I cannot remember if it was on your blog or not but were you the one with bikes in the house? If so did you come up with a nice storage solution for them? I have the same dilemma!

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    1. Yep, that was me. They are still in our kitchen. Someday we will invest in a shed, but since we're renting, we figure there's no reason to buy one yet. I thought and thought about a better place to store them but haven't come up with anything. Do you keep yours in the kitchen?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous2/02/2017

      Not sure if you hang your bikes or not, but it's a very efficient way of storing them, even in the house. My parents have hooks on the ceiling in our garage, and my current dorm room came with a bike hanger on the wall. Just google "ceiling (or wall) bike rack hook.

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  10. Shela G1/31/2017

    Since I am very short. The way I organize my kitchen is very simple I put what I use everyday where it is easy for me to reach. The stuff I use less often a little higher. Then The things that get used once a year or less on the highest shelves.

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    1. That would be difficult. Hope you have a tall hubby. :)

      Ellie

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  11. Anonymous1/31/2017

    Are you currently reading any good books, Ellie? I'd love to hear about them in another blog post!

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    1. Anonymous1/31/2017

      Me too!

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    2. I'm currently reading through a book on back pain, a marriage book, and a non-fiction historical book, but with blogging and book writing, it's slow going. Lol. What are you guys reading?

      Ellie

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    3. Anonymous2/02/2017

      Eat Pray Love. It's not Christian, but it's a wonderful story nonetheless. Would love to travel the world like that someday. The movie with Julia Roberts is excellent

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    4. Anonymous2/02/2017

      Currently reading "Open heart, open mind" by Canadian Olympian Clara Huges (speed skater and triathlete). It's an autobiography, but also explores how she got through her depression and mental illness. Incredibly inspiring woman, and what a wonderful Canadian. She is quite well known here.

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  12. I have a big kitchen which was always cluttered and pretty disorganised. I work full time (I'm a lawyer) and have two boys under three. I love to cook and use all my spare time preparing food/ playing with my boys/ hanging with my husband when I can and keeping on top of the "must-dos". But my kitchen got me down. It made me sad because it had the potential to be so lovely and yet it wasn't because nothing was in the right place and I didn't have any time to fix it.
    Solution: for Christmas, I asked my husband for a professional organising to come in and totally reorganise. It's amazing and has made me so happy. Best Christmas present ever.

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  13. I have a big kitchen which was always cluttered and pretty disorganised. I work full time (I'm a lawyer) and have two boys under three. I love to cook and use all my spare time preparing food/ playing with my boys/ hanging with my husband when I can and keeping on top of the "must-dos". But my kitchen got me down. It made me sad because it had the potential to be so lovely and yet it wasn't because nothing was in the right place and I didn't have any time to fix it.
    Solution: for Christmas, I asked my husband for a professional organising to come in and totally reorganise. It's amazing and has made me so happy. Best Christmas present ever.

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  14. My messy and disorganised kitchen made me really miserable but as a working mum of two boys under three (and I'm a lawyer, so busy). I love cooking and am in my kitchen all the time. Then I read about professional organisers, so asked my lovely husband for a kitchen reorganiser for Christmas. It has made me seriously happy and now my kitchen has been sorted to within an inch of its life. They had lots of little tricks and made it so pleasant and convenient. Best Christmas present EVER.

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  15. Anonymous2/02/2017

    My husband and I now have our own house with a decent size kitchen and a lot of storage. But the 3 appartments we lived in before we built our house... Oh my... The first two were in the same building. I don't know who designed the plan, but the kitchen was so small, we couldn't open the refrigerator door completely. The kitchen was a closed room, and we couldn't even stand side by side, it was too small. But we were both students and the rent was very affordable so we lived in that building for 2 years, until we graduated.

    Then, we decided to move back to our hometown, wich was a 10-hour drive. Obviously, we couldn't go there often to look at appartments so on one of our trips, we found one that fit our budget. The owner was in the middle of major renovations so when he showed us the appartment, there were no floors, no cabinets, some walls were open etc... Since we had a hard time finding the right place for us, we decided to take a chance and signed for the appartment. We didn't see the appartment again before the day we moved in, after our 10-hour trip. We were very disapointed. The water heater was behind the front door, so we couldn't open it completely. The washing machine was in front of the counter, so there was 3 cabinets I couldn't use because it was impossible to open them without having to move the washing machine across the kitchen. The dryer was next to my oven. The only space we could put our kitchen table in was a very tight space between the refrigerator and the washing machine. However, it was impossible to sit at the table because there was no room for the chairs. So I ended up using my table as a counter top because I barely had any, and we were eating on the couch. We used to call our appartment The Grotto because there was so little light coming through the windows we had to leave the lights on all the time. It was the hardest part for me. I was not happy about the lack of space but I handled it pretty well, it was the lack of light that was hard to deal with. I'm a flower. I need sun to survive. Haha! We stayed there for a year before we moved into our house.

    Josée

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