Saturday, June 04, 2016

Organizing my food pantry and decluttering my dish cabinet...

This stuff happened almost a month ago, not quite a month, but almost and I want to put it up. The week of May 9th-13th I decided to tackle 2 fairly big jobs in my kitchen. One being the food pantry and 2 being the built in dish cabinet. Of course I still had my regular weekly cleaning, food shopping, meal making and laundry, plus kid pick up and lunches to pack etc and stuff to do. But these 2 bigger tasks really needed addressing and I wanted to get them done. I did purchase some affordable liners for each shelf and stuff. I didn't buy enough, so I did have to run back to Besia/Cainz Home where I purchased them during that week and bought a few more.  

This food pantry took honestly most of my day one day that week and that's fine. I wanted it 100% done and not a half ass job. So, doing a quality job in one go, for me was worth it. Immediately after sending Noah to school, because Bran rides his bike. I came home grabbed a hot cup of coffee. Cranked up some music in the kitchen. And got right to business. I took absolutely everything out of every shelf. I brought the vacuum out because the bottom floor area in there had debris that needed vacuuming. I also got a hot soapy wash rag and scrubbed the heck out of the floor in the pantry and then dried it with a few paper towels. And then I set the liners down. Because well...if a can makes any rust marks I'd prefer it not be on my floor. So liners down. And of course checked dates on stuff too. because again, I'm not doing a half ass job, and I don't want to put anything old and expired in. So, a quick check and back to put things in place.  

Okay bottom floor area of the food pantry done. Very happy with it!

Next shelf! Again wiped everything down and dried it and a nice new liner is in this picture. 

Breakfast stuff for the bottom shelf. Cereal, Pop Tarts. Pancake mix, syrup, coffee, chocolate milk straws. I hate hot tea and only drink it if we're sick, but I do keep a small pack of tea bags on hand in case any of us gets sick. 

Coffee creamers. 

Old Ikea liners which I am replacing with the nicer Besia ones.  

Above the breakfast shelf is the food shelf. Like panko, croutons, spare Miracle Whip. Spare Lawry's garlic spread. Stuffing. Butter noodles. Roux (for curry and beef stew). Cook Do. Pot roast mix. Peach cups. That sort of thing.

You can sort of see 3 shelves at once in this pic.

Essentials row/shelf. Like grains and stuff. Rice, beans. 

Same shelf as the rice but this is on the other side. We have spices galore. Beef gravy, chicken bouillon, garlic salt, buffalo wing power, BBQ sauce and salad dressing and mustard and popcorn oil and popcorn salt for cooking/making popcorn and Lipton soup packets.

Sweets and baking shelf. Marshmallows for rice krispy treats. Reese's Peanut Butter cups. 

Giant Nutella... frosting, cupcake liners galore... baking paper for lining baking pans far right and Crisco for baking. 

I am sure you could splurge and buy very expensive containers made especially for food pantries. But, I buy my plastic containers from the Daiso for 100 yen. And like for me that's good enough. I lump all my sugars in 1 plastic box/container. That way I know where they are. They're all together. : ) Granulated sugar, brown sugar, Japanese white sugar that dissolves easier in cooking. Salt. I have a favorite salt here in Japan the one closest this camera. There is a pic of a stock pot on the front of my favorite salt. This salt doesn't get all wet and clumpy lumpy like the other salts do in Japan. This salt is always nice and dry. In the other plastic container I keep plastic disposable forks, plastic knives and plastic spoons and disposable chopsticks all this stuff was bought at the Daiso. And if we ever have an emergency say a family member in Osaka gets sick and we need to grab a quick meal and pack it up immediately. I don't have to go..."where did I put those plastic utensils?" This way they are all lumped together in one 100yen container. Again I am sure there is a fancier way. But this is my way and it works. : ) 

Paper plates on the right of the plastic forks and spoons etc. This right here is all the Thanksgiving plates and napkins. 

Here are the rest that aren't Thanksgiving. We have the 4th of July plates and napkins in various sizes. I see a green plate with a snowman on it. And other holidays in between.


Birthday napkins, if ever I should need one, it would be easy to find.

And a better view and nicely stacked and stuff. That way any holiday I need something, I can quickly look to see if I have it? Do I need more? Do I need replacements? Etc. 

A very good view and idea of these 2 rows. Again nicely organized. Easy to see what's what and where something is. I like things nicely organized. 

Even Happy Easter napkins.

Platters. An Easter platter. And 1 Easter egg holder and some Easter coasters.

A 4th of July platter. 

When my grandma passed. All daughters and granddaughters got to get a nice sized stack of her recipes. And many of us gave copies of the recipes we didn't receive to each other, so we made copies for eachother so we tried to make sure all recipes were given to all of us. Of the recipes we specifically wanted. I am so thankful to have a container full of cherished family recipes as well as some recipes that can't even fit in there because they're a bit too big. But that's okay. They're in my Nana's handwriting and I cherish them and would never let them go. : ) 

That double chocolate cake recipe is out of this world. Bliss. And these are old school American recipes. And I will be giving copies to both Branden and Noah to have and pass down if they'd like too. : ) 

It is hard to see the top top shelf and the bottom of the pantry in 1 shot. See... you can only see to the breakfast row in this pic. 
Here is the bottom of the pantry but now the top shelf is missing...not in this frame/pic. Oh well it does give you an idea at least of what I did that day. I was super tired that day. But really happy with what I could accomplish in one day. : ) This is the day I made the beef stew. I remember because I was basically able to organize my pantry while the beef boiled all day long too. I was knocking 2 jobs out at the same time basically. Getting dinner nice and tender and boiled and an organized pantry all at the same time. 

The day after I finished my food pantry. I did my light house cleaning for that day and I ran to the Besia/Cainz store to pick up more liners. This is what I got that day. 2 extra liners and some napkins for the boys obento/lunches. These napkins seemed so fresh and so right for this season to me. : ) I also picked up a Starbucks drink along the way on my drive home. 

So 2 days after I cleaned my food pantry, I jumped in head first with getting the dish cabinet tackled. As soon as Noah was driven to school, I once again grabbed a cup of hot coffee and turned on some music and got right in on my pantry. I first took absolutely everything out of it and then vacuumed and wiped and scrubbed everything. Dried everything and then lined everything. Tippy top shelf all nicely lined. I placed my beloved all white Crock Pot up there because I want it out of reach from everyone and I really want to keep it safe so that's why it's there. And next to it...

Great big platter, cake cover, and inside that is my big wooden salad bowl (you see this on holidays), a container and my Ikea cheese graters which I seldom ever use anymore, since Costco has the best selection of cheeses (from America) and at the best prices for cheese in all of Japan! And the ones I use most come grated. However eh...I'll still keep my cheese graters around. You never know if it might come in handy. : )

Bowls on this shelf. And I'm not going to go and show you shelf by shelf like I did with the food pantry. It's tedious. But this just gives you an idea. And in this container...clear 100 yen container I keep all my measuring cups and spoons and I like them here... because it keeps things neat tidy and organized in 1 small space. I also keep the big wide soup type plastic spoons in here too besides measuring spoons too. Under that funnel far back right is toothpicks and everyone in the house knows. And they're not hiding it's just saving space keeping the funnel and toothpicks on top of the kakigori (shave ice) bowls, far back right)

Our dinner plates from Costco. And the 2 plates the boys use for breakfast, they have dividers for different types of foods.

Top 2 rows. On top of the crock pot is the popcorn containers for family movie night. 2nd top row is obento stuff/lunch box stuff far left... and plastic containers for storing food far right. I used to have so many plastic containers that I never used so I threw a whole bunch away. I just don't want excessive clutter or massive amounts of crap we don't use.

1 wide whole view of all rows and shelves. Again everything clean. Everything organized. No clutter. Everything has a spot where it belongs. Baking pans on the bottom floor area of my built in dish cabinet.

And lined.

Cutting boards and rolling pin, ceramic bowls next to plastic bowls and colanders. Pans one row/shelf... and baking stuff at the bottom. Again everything super easy to find. Nothing cluttered at all. Again it's just a nice feeling to know my kitchen is done. It's clutter free. It's a calm feeling knowing the house is in order. And not a disaster area.