Kitchen Kleaning Wednesday Mission: Pantry

Ahhhh… it’s Wednesday, hump day, and we are halfway through a whole week of working in our kitchen here. (I started writing this yesterday.) Today was a tough day for us here with cranky kiddos and many, many interruptions. Jacob was really excited to get started this morning.

Our focus today was on our pantry cabinets. We have three tall cabinets that we use for pantry storage… two are dedicated to food items and the other one is for small appliances and such. They were fairly organized but some of the items were hard to access. So we decided to work on that.

We started by taking everything out of one section at a time.

Then wiping it out and replacing the old bay leaves with new ones to help prevent pantry moths. I hate those little buggers.

After completing one section we moved to the next.

The younger kids were very helpful with taking out everything, wiping down the items, and wiping out the shelves. They were very interested in what surprises might be hiding. I did throw out a few things and emptied some of the individual snacks into one basket

We made a list of the items we are overstocked on, like flour and grits?, so we can plan to use them during our pantry challenge next week. We were also able to get rid of one big container by simply filling our syrup bottle.

Joey was more interested in saving some boxes for his ‘projects’ though.

He has a very active imagination. This is one of his pieces of recycled art:

This job wouldn’t have been too long if I hadn’t kept getting sidetracked. I somehow decided that I needed to clean out the rolling cart which led to me putting in a shelf liner too.

Then I decided to rearrange a couple of the cabinets to make them easier to get too. That took way longer than I expected but I am very happy with the results.

When we finished with the foods we moved on to the appliance cabinet. As you can see it wasn’t working well as part of the food processor was in one cabinet with the other parts were down below.

I got sidetracked with this project and decided to rearrange another shelf too. I figured why not make room for all of the small appliances in the one cabinet?

I haven’t been happy with this shelf but I am liking it much better now. I also purged a few cook books while reorganizing this area. I’m still not sure if I’m completely satisfied with the way this shelf is set up but it is much better than it was. I do like having the cookbooks within reach. We still need to clean out the area beside it though… maybe tomorrow?

Then reorganizing this area led me to moving a couple of things to under the sink. (I had cleaned this out when we organized the bathroom last month.) Plastic bags had somehow taken over the cabinet so when I found the bag holder I put the boys to work.

Then back to the appliance cabinet… we were able to move the mixing bowls to an upper cabinet along with the measuring cups. This may also store a couple of other items later on this week.

Now the girls have no excuse for not putting away these items. I was worn out but we still needed to go grocery shopping.

After tidying up the kitchen and clipping a few coupons we headed off to town. This was quite the adventure today but we survived! We had three stops and I was ready to be headed home before we finished at Walmart. (Yes that is an affiliate link just for you… I may have another one or two listed later on in this post as well.)

The kids were happy to get a cookie from the Walmart bakery… funny how such a simple thing can bring a big smile to a child’s face.

We picked up a couple of things for the kitchen while shopping. The kids helped me pick out some new potholders and a couple of kitchen towels. I also picked up a shelf for one of the cabinets. We tried to find a valance for the window with no luck. I think I have some fabric stuck in a drawer that might work.

Maybe once we get this house in order I’ll finally be able to catch up on a few sewing projects as I have been having many requests for dresses and skirts. I have also bought a bunch of patterns from eBay recently and I am excited to make some outfits for the family.

I had to search high low at Walmart for some pencil sharpeners too… the kids have somehow managed to break the electric sharpener and lose every single manual sharpener they had. This has made homeschooling quite frustrating this week … but I got plenty of manual ones so we will make it through the last couple of weeks. I’m gonna keep my eye for a heavy duty electric sharpener as well.

On the hand putting away groceries was quite easy as it was so much more organized. Here are the final results.

I know the top shelf looks a bit cluttered. I try to keep the flour and cornmeal in containers but my containers are not very space saving at all. I also appear to have taken stock in the flour company. That yellow pitcher is for making funnel cakes and I jut haven’t figured out where else to put it yet.

The next shelf is the baking supplies and mixes. (I used a couple of under the shelf baskets to hold the smaller items. Down below are the snacks and bottled juices. The green basket has a variety of individual snacks the kids can choose from.

We don’t normally have that many Oreos but there was a great BOGO sale (I had coupons too!) and who doesn’t love Oreos with a tall glass of cold milk? Hmmm… I might just need to have a couple when I finish this draft. (I never did make it back to the kitchen for that snack last night.)

The bottom shelf is our breakfast items. I have an over abundance of grits and oatmeal down there, not quite sure how that happened. We may be incorporating some oatmeal or no bake cookies into our menu for next week.

We moved the canned goods to the top shelf where the breakfast items were so that they are more visible and accessible. I really need to head to Sam’s Club soon to restock on some of our staples.

Then the next shelf holds the necessary ingredients for my kids’ favorite sandwich (PB & J). Plus the canned fruits and such.

Next comes the pastas, sauces, and grains. The condiments are kind of split up between shelves but that may change later on.

Last but not least are the ‘extras’ and some of the bulk items. Most everything is within the kids’ reach for them to get when it’s their turn to be kitchen helpers.

Then we have the appliance cabinet. The new shelf on top gives a little extra room in this cabinet. I am so glad to have the measuring cups within reach now. They were way up in this empty space here where I had stand on tippy toes to reach.

Then we have a basket with some of the smaller things like my pink hand mixer that I love and the electric can opener that I hardly ever use. Beside that is our four slot toaster that I’ve had forever.  I did throw a couple bags of chips in here as I didn’t have any other place for them.

The food processor has a new home with all of its parts. That basket holds all of the attachments for the stand mixer and for the food processor.

The very bottom shelf holds the appliances we use less frequently like the waffle iron, pizzelle maker, air popper, and the quesadilla maker. I have had a lot of these appliances for years as well.

I debated on whether or not to keep the popcorn popper and decided that we would. We just need to remember it is there. I have many fond memories of popping corn with my mom-mom and I know my kids enjoy watching it pop too.

While dinner was in the oven I rearranged the tops of my wall cabinets and hung a small shelf over the window. I’ll post a picture soon, hopefully after I cleaned the cobwebs down… lol.

We will definitely be cleaning up the tops of the pantry cabinets tomorrow as well as polishing the cabinet doors and cleaning up the appliances that are stored on top. I may hold off on the doors until I finish the other cabinets though. That may be our final kitchen mission for Friday.

We are definitely on the home stretch now, at least in the kitchen, and I am feeling very optimistic about tackling the rest of the house. I guess this may be a late version of Spring cleaning but it’s better late than never, right?

We did not get around to working in the garden today but I’m sure we will be able to make some time for that tomorrow. I must say that I’m proud of the kiddos as we have been keeping up with our daily routines and chores while working on these missions. They have been happy little helpers too for the most part.

If you haven’t been following along or if you just walked into our kitchen you probably wouldn’t have a clue how much work we have accomplished. It doesn’t look a whole lot different until you start opening cabinets or actually working in the kitchen.

The ‘flow’ is definitely improving which will help with a lot of my frustrations when I’m trying to cook. A couple of more areas to tackle and we’ll have a wonderfully improved kitchen just in time for Mother’s Day!

What plans do you have for the weekend? I think it’s been hinted that we might go fishing… I’ve got a new pink fishing pole and a pink tackle box so I’m ready to go!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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