Today’s assignment is best summed up with before and after photos:
The difference isn’t dramatic, but the exercise did teach me three things:
- The food we’re most likely to buy and then not finish is crackers. We like variety when we do meat-and-cheese plates, but there are only two of us, so it’s easy to end up with several partially or nearly empty boxes in varying stages of staleness. From here on out, we should probably look at buying some kind of variety pack to avoid food waste.
- I like having a “caffeination station” so that tea and coffee and their accoutrements are readily available, especially in the winter, but I think it would more successful if we had something closer to a traditional bar cart with an open front and sides. Then we could spread things out on the lower shelves instead of crowding them on top, and also store our mugs here.
- This represents most but not all of our dry goods. Cereal and bread are currently stored on the counter and spices are in one of the upper cabinets. Although we have a healthy supply of grains here, we haven’t had a big grocery trip since before Christmas. If we were fully stocked on pasta sauces, canned vegetables, and crunchy snacks, this cart would be packed to the hilt, which is why we end up with multiple open boxes of crackers or two nearly full boxes of barley. Not being able to see what we have leads to overbuying and food waste.
This exercise reinforced to me that I’d like to put in wall-mounted or free-standing shelves in our laundry room to create a pantry. It would allow us to spread things out so that they’re easy to see and access and to make a real home for things like lunch boxes and the electric knife sharpener, which tend to float from kitchen to dining room to where you see them in the bottom right. It would also allow us to move or get rid of this cart, which is currently sitting in our living room and, along with a few other things, is discouraging us from trying a different furniture arrangement.
In fact, typing it out has convinced me that I’m going to commit to making “create a pantry” my goal project for this month. Since my next step will be researching my options and their costs, does anyone have any suggestions for pantry organization? Anything from a preferred shelving system or containers to tips for arranging things so that nothing gets forgotten is welcome!