This is Day 24 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.
Food is capable of feeding far more than a rumbling stomach. Food is life; our well-being demands it. Food is art and magic; it evokes emotion and colors memory, and in skilled hands, meals become greater than the sum of their ingredients. Food is self-evident; plucked right from the ground or vine or sea, its power to delight is immediate. ~Anthony Beal
Food is all that, and more, but it has become such an afterthought in our society. To that, I say—slow down. Enjoy the mystery that nourishes us all. Take time to learn to cook, for sure. And when you do, you’ll need a well-stocked pantry to cook from. Having what you need on hand lowers the barrier to cooking and baking.
I buy things in bulk or when they’re on sale and my pantry shelves are usually well-stocked, but it’s so easy to let it get out of hand, which leads to waste. Just like every other part of my house, I am motivated by beauty. So, I find that if I makes things pretty, I’m drawn to them, more apt to tend to them, and more apt to use them well.
Let’s make a pretty pantry, shall we? (And here’s the download for the pantry stocking list!)
1. Decide on some pretty containers.
I use large glass containers (from Walmart) for my baking supplies and keep them on the counter, ready to use! For my dry goods, I use plastic containers (also from Walmart) and add pretty homemade labels. If you have a closet pantry, you might want a combination of baskets, glassware, and plastic containers.
2. Labels, labels, labels
You can get fancy with this and order labels from an online shop. I just printed my labels at home, using the champignon font at 200. I then use clear packing tape to tape them on. When they get dirty or dusty, I can always redo them and change the font around, if I want.
3. Take everything out
Start with a clean slate. Take everything out of the pantry or off the shelves and group like items together. Discard items that are expired or no longer edible. You might discover that you’ve been hoarding pasta or cake mixes, in my case. Consider purchasing uniform containers for things like pasta, rice, and baking goods. You’ll save space and mess if you have those items stored in airtight, uniform containers. Wipe all the surfaces clean.
4. Put it back pretty.
I personally find lots of food packaging pretty, so I try to arrange them on my shelves so that the pretty side shows. The uniform containers are nice for this, too, because they let you see what you have and if/when you’re running low.
5. Maintain it.
Once a month, when you do your biggest grocery shopping trip, it won’t take long at all to revisit the pantry. If you’re like me, the kids have rearranged a lot of things in a short amount of time. Better yet, add that to their list of chores. My girls have been wanting some new shorts for ballet, so I had them take everything out of the pantry, clean the shelves, and put everything back in order to earn their shorts. It’s a win-win. They get to practice very helpful task and I get a clean pantry. I was gonna buy the shorts anyways!
*Remember, all of this organization and beautifying is so we can make our kitchens places of nourishment for the body and soul.
Challenge Day 24: Make a date with your pantry today. Think about what containers you need and wash them out or purchase what you need. Create or purchase labels. Take everything out, sort it by type, then put it back and make it pretty. Next, make a meal plan for the next week that uses up all the food you forgot you had on hand. For inspiration check out Edie’s recipes here or my recipes here. Snap a photo of your pretty pantry and share it with us on Instagram or Facebook! Be sure to use the hashtag #31DaysLessMore
Read Ruth’s corresponding post here, Less Kitchen Confusion and read Crystal’s insights on Less Paper Clutter/More Filing!