One of the greatest things that my house has is a convenient, large pantry. Shortly after marrying Mike and moving into this home, I spent a day organizing the kitchen cupboards and pantry. I designated spaces for everything—plates, bowls, glasses, mugs, large appliances, small appliances… you get the idea. But soon after, with the abundance of wedding gifts we received, the pantry turned into a catch-all place for items without a real home. It turned into an absolute, unorganized mess. I couldn’t see what food we had or what food we needed. And I certainly couldn’t find the dishes that I’d stashed away in there, either.
In addition to this problem, Mike and I had another problem. We were eating out way too often. We were both working full time and I was commuting 2.5 hours every day, in addition to my 9-hour workday. So we fell into a habit of eating out for convenience’s sake and continued that habit even after I started working from home.
With a baby on the way, I figured that now is the right time to get back into the habit of making good, home-cooked meals, like I did in college. But the first step in that direction had to be tackling the pantry.
So this Saturday, I did it. I really wish I’d taken before pictures. After several hours of sorting, organizing, and purging, I ended up with a pantry that was more than half empty! What was most surprising to me was that my “purge” pile wasn’t that big, after all that work. The space in my pantry was taken up mostly by disorganized and homeless items, not by extra garbage items.
The next step after organizing the pantry was stocking it with the right things. Now that I could see what I had, I could also plainly see what I was missing. So I googled “well stocked pantry” and found this site that listed items to have in a well stocked kitchen. I wrote down the ones that I felt applied to Mike and me, and we set out on our shopping adventure.
A fair amount of time and money later, Mike and I had a well stocked pantry. I had to keep telling him (and reminding myself) that now I wouldn’t have to make a separate grocery trip every single time I wanted to make something. I had all the basic ingredients and would just need to shop for fresh food every week, and some supplies to maintain my stock.
I highly recommend checking out the site I used and seeing what your pantry and kitchen might need. Yesterday, I started flipping through some magazines and I was delighted to read the recipes and realize that I could do about half of them without having to make a trip to the grocery store.