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Whenever a new season approaches, I get this uncontrollable urge to organize something. Sometimes it’s just a little bit, and sometimes it’s like the major nesting instinct I had while I was 8 months pregnant. I can’t ignore it. My pantry is begging to be organized this fall. It has been a mess since we moved into our house a year ago. Do you ever feel like you could save so much time in the kitchen if you just knew where everything was? I don’t even want to imagine how many minutes I’ve spent digging through the pantry. I can, however, imagine how many other ways I can use those extra minutes!
Based on my fall pantry project, I’m excited to give you some great tips to help you get yours in shape. The pantry was the biggest project to tackle on my organizing to-do list, but it motivated me to get a few other areas of the house in order, too!
The first thing I did was head over to Walgreens to pick up some new Sharpie Pens for my projects. They’re great for labeling just about everything. They come in tons of pretty colors, the ink doesn’t bleed through paper, and the eco-friendly aspect is that they’re refillable. Pick up a few new ones and and I bet you’ll be excited to tackle your project!
DIY Wooden Shelves
My pantry had wire shelves that were starting to bend and sag in a serious way. They weren’t safe anymore. My solution was to take them down and replace them with sturdier wooden shelves that I found at our local home improvement store. I like that they’re unfinished hardwood because they give our pantry a natural homestead look.
Our shelves are 16 inches deep and about 1″ thick. I attached 1″x4″ inch boards to the walls to brace the shelves on both sides, and attached a metal bracket underneath each shelf in the middle for extra support.
I saved the stackable wire racks that I was using before, and they’re much more substantial on the wooden shelves. I like how they provide an extra layer of storage and it’s nice to be able to move them around.
Glass Canning Jars
I moved dry food items in the pantry such as rice, beans, cornmeal, shredded coconut, etc. from bags into glass canning jars. Using my Sharpie Pens, I labeled each jar. Surprisingly, this really made the shelves more neat and tidy and freed up a lot more space. The bags created chaos because it was tough to see what was in them and they were making a mess by spilling all over the pantry.
Bushel Baskets and Wooden Crates
Bushel baskets work wonderfully to store veggies such as potatoes and onions. Previously, they were rolling around on the wire shelves. That was clearly not working especially since I was harvesting them from the garden and quickly running out of space. What a difference the bushel baskets make. They’re easy to slide out from the shelves to pick out what you need.
Nowadays, you can find unfinished wooden crates at just about any craft store or home improvement store for a really inexpensive price. They come in different sizes and they stack. I designated a couple of smaller sized crates as snack bins, and a few narrow crates as canned goods bins. Like the bushel baskets, they’re easy to slide out to get what you need.
If you’re into canning, you’ll love how these wooden crates stack nicely to store jars. This is a separate closet from the pantry but you can see how the crates make perfect sturdy shelves. My favorite part was labeling, especially with the cute little wooden tags I found at the craft store.
Before & After
It’s easier to stay organized now that everything has its own place in the pantry. It definitely saves me time in the kitchen.
Moving along from the pantry…actually, not too far for us because our living room is part of our kitchen and dining area. Our indoor space is pretty small so we have to be creative about how we store toys. We keep them in canvas bins on bookshelves, which works out great because the girls can easily get them down on their own and dig in. The issue we’ve been running into is organizing the toys INSIDE the bins.
My solution for keeping smaller toys together is empty oatmeal containers. They’re so functional. The lids are easy for kids to take off and put back on, and there’s just enough space for things like small metal cars, puzzle pieces, little wooden animals, and so on. I labeled the lids using my Sharpie Pens, drawing pictures to help the girls find what they’re looking for (and they have fun picking up their toys and matching them with the lids!) The containers fit nicely inside the toy bins.
I hope you’ve found a few tips that will help you in your quest to get organized this fall. The satisfaction of having a little extra space and time saved is the best feeling of all after the project is completed!
What are you organizing this fall?