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DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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12 January 2015

Pantry challenge


I did a lot of baking over the holidays and now my pantry looks neglected and untidy. I looked in there yesterday morning when I was starting to prepare cinnamon rolls and I could see small amounts of flour, dried fruits, lentils and other pantry food in large containers. I need to reorganise it, check all my jars, wash some of them and freshen up the contents so I'm ready for the year ahead. Even though I'm very busy, I know if I take the time to do this, I'll reap the benefits later on because the pantry will be easier to use.


I could be wrong but I doubt I'm the only one with a pantry that needs some attention after the holiday season. I wonder if yours does too. I challenge you to thoroughly clean out your pantry cupboard, check all your containers and organise the jars and containers so you can easily see what you have there.  I reckon it will take me a week to do mine. Not that the work will take a week but I'm sure I'll be able to get to it, do the hour or two of work it needs and have a photo ready to show you next Monday.


Our stockpile is in good order. We cleaned it out and reorganised everything just before Christmas. Now its just the pantry that needs some attention and I'm ready for it. If your pantry is fine but you need to work on your stockpile, do that instead of the pantry.


Who is up for this challenge with me?  I need you to take a photo of your pantry now. No tidying up before you photograph it.  We're all in the same boat and we're doing something about it. There is no shame in that, my friends. Just to recap, let me know in a comment if you're in the challenge, then take a before photo of your pantry. Sometime over the next week you'll have to clean out the pantry and get it in ship-shape order. Take another photo when you're satisfied with your work.

Next Monday I'll put up my before and after pantry photos and write my follow-up post here. When I do that, you can either write a post on your own blog with your photos, or load your pantry photos on the forum in a thread I'll start there (next Monday). Either way, all those photos of pantries should inspire us to take on a few other organising projects before the year gets into full swing. I hope you'll join me.  ♥︎


47 comments:

  1. I have been thinking the same thing. The holidays threw my tiny pantry in a tailspin. I'm in!

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  2. Oh Rhonda you have read my mind. My pantry needed cleaning and reorganising way before Christmas it is a mess, but I do know what it is in there and where it is. It has been put on the back burner.........I will join you providing the light is good enough to take any pictures. It is a bit gray here, but I have a week to take pictures and do the job so should be ok!

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  3. I had to empty out all my kitchen cupboards, including my pantry in December, as my whole kitchen was pulled apart by cabinet makers for repairs, due to damage from a burst pipe. I took the opportunity to reorganise my pantry, kitchen cupboards and drawers. But I do need to improve my pantry stockpile. I want to keep larger quantities of staples like flour, sugar and rice. That's a lovely photo of your back yard Rhonda.

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  4. Rhonda, I just did mine last week and I can't BELIEVE how it's affected my cooking! I feel so much more creative and inspired as I know EXACTLY what's in there and am no longer dreading looking for something vital. I had bags and containers of things falling out when I opened the door and as there were a few spills over Christmas, it was a breeding ground for a pest infestation. No more! It took me an entire day, but I did it and it looks glorious.

    I also took the time to bring the family over to it to show them EXACTLY where to put things and HOW to put things away (sealed/clipped tightly). They were impressed with how much easier it is to find things so hopefully, they will be as motivated as I am to keep it clean and organized. I've decided that at the first of each month, I'm going to give it a going over to stay on top of things. It won't take but a free minutes that easy instead of a whole day...

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  5. This is one of the first things on my to do list when the kids go back to school as we have visitors for the next two weeks. My pantry is driving me crazy and I know it's going to take me a week. Good luck with yours I'll be a couple of weeks behind you in this challenge. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  6. Good morning Rhonda, we all must have pantry fever as I tidied, cleaned and cleared out clutter from my pantry on Saturday. I did a post about it yesterday. I didn't put a before post up, even though I did take a photo. I was too embarrassed to show it to the world.

    This is a great challenge and I look forward to following along. Maybe I will get courage and post my before pics over at the forum. I hope to blog more this year after a very quiet year in 2014.

    Happy New Year to you Rhonda, Hanno and all of your growing gorgeous family,

    xTania

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  7. Yes, I'm in too! My pantry desperately needs cleaning and reorganizing. It has 5 shelves, so I'll do a shelf a day. Thanks for the inspiration! Nicole

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  8. Oh yes, it's that time of year isn't it! I did mine when I was spring cleaning but my pantry drawers could really do with a going over again. I also need to get rid of (i.e. use up) the last of the special Christmas indulgence ingredients that will tempt me to stray from my healthy goals if they are constantly seducing me from the pantry shelves. I have a half jar of spiced fruit I made for various Christmas recipes and obvious didn't use it all. Will make a large fruit loaf today to slice and freeze for a not-so-naughty treat.

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  9. Great idea, I have to admit that I have a bit of an obsession about keeping my pantry in order, in fact I am ribbed by my family as I keep my spices in alphabetical order. It saves so much time to know where things are, and avoids unnecessary purchases. I would love to see what ideas other people have for keeping the pantry in order!

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  10. Me too. I will also be a few weeks behind as I am waiting for things to settle down here after christmas and waiting for my son to get back to school. As well as the pantry, I am intending to do all kitchen cupboards and drawers over the period of a week. Not my favourite job but wish me luck!

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  11. Rhonda, it must be pantry cleaning time as a lot of blogs seem to be mentioning the pantry at the moment. I am not sure I would like to show the world my pantry cupboard like Tania said, but I do need to clean it out as, after being away for three weeks with hubby doing the cooking, I can't find anything :-) Thanks for the motivation. Have a great day.

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  12. g'day!
    mmm, pantry is a walk in with only one shelf, not much on those shelves at the moment but it is in desperate need of a clean. it's about time i did it, yeh, i'll join in too & i might even do a post about it as well
    have a great day!

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  13. I'm up for the challenge, my pantry needs a serious overhaul but I may take longer than a week as this week is dedicated to Design Team projects that are due.

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  14. I agree with Kathy, my pantry is in a tailspin too! I cleaned it out only a month ago and with 2 teenagers at home all the time they are constantly on the prowl for food!

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  15. Hi Rhonda, I have put off the big pantry sort-out for weeks! I have a day off work on Friday with nothing much planned yet, so yes! I'll do it!

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  16. I did mine last week.
    'Tis heavenly now.
    Being in the kitchen is a pleasure now, not a chore.

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  17. Actually Rhonda I've been thinking the same thing! So you're on. I've already sorted the pots and pans and the kitchen jars so the pantry is next on my list and it would be great to make it a little easier to find stuff.

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  18. What a great idea Rhonda, I'm up for the challenge (I think!). I'm off to take a photo of mine now, apologies in advance for the "before" photo, it's a bit of a mess! Thanks so much for the inspiration

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  19. I have actually started this after reading your blog. I'm embarrassed about my before photo as I was getting quite stress about the after xmas mess. As long as it's easy to post the photos on the blog, I'm there :)

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  20. Cleaning out the kitchen cupboards is on my list too, so I'll join in the challenge. I went to make bread yesterday only to find I'd run out of bread flour - I hadn't realised stocks were so low! A bit of organisation (and shopping) is needed, I think.
    Michelle

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  21. I did mine last week when the weather made gardening outdoors on the allotment in the UK impossible - still winter jobs to do.

    I've made a conscious decision to use up as much as possible before shopping again. This week only needs fruit as there are plenty of vegetables in the freezer from last season. Towards the end of the week I may need milk and butter type spread but till then shopping is an activity to avoid.

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  22. I'll make a deal with you. I'll send you a picture of our pantry if you send me one of those cinnamon rolls.

    :)

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    1. Bill, if you and your wife pay us a visit, I'll make up a fresh batch just for you.

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  23. Never mind about the pantry pass over one of those cinnamon buns they look amazing , I am now going to have to google a recipe .

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  24. I did mine last week! It's a great feeling when the pantry is nice and tidy.

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  25. We have 2 very large bills that come due annually in January (right after Christmas -- eeek!). I make it a goal to clean and inventory our pantry and freezer between Christmas and New Year's. Then in January and February, I do 2 no shop months (except for milk and a bit of fresh vegetables). I rely solely on our pantry and freezer to come up with meals for 2 months. The money I save by using our stockpile in the pantry and freezer really help us get by more easily after paying our large bills and not having to dip into our emergency fund. By using the stockpile (of store-bought and home canned goods), basic cooking skills, and a little ingenuity we get through the 2 months just fine! Granted, we start to get cravings the last couple weeks but it's a good way to save and use up the stockpile. I wish I would have taken photos but will enjoy looking at everyone else's! I wish our bills came due in the summer when our garden is going great guns! ;)

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    1. I agree Kristina, it's a great way of saving and getting those bills paid. Good luck with it.

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  26. Seems like after putting up all the Christmas stuff and starting a new year just makes us feel like it's time for Spring cleaning. I really need to do my pantry and closet. Who knows, maybe I will!

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  27. I cleaned my pantry and cupboards just after Christmas. Now I am working on decluttering and downsizing on a lot of households. See, I'm a packrat, an almost 65 year old packrat. My kids don't want the hassle of my mess when I am gone, so I will reduce it. The funny thing is now it seems cozier to me. I actually feel like sitting and work on some of my crochet, quilting and rug making projects...

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  28. I just tidied up and cleaned my 2 kitchen cupboards on the weekend during my kitchen tidying session. I needed to shop so thought I'd review what needed restocking and put it all in order before I added any more.

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  29. What a good idea. I need to think about my pantry, too. I have the problem that I am 5'1" and my 6'2" son lives with me and we both store things on the pantry. He often puts my things on the two top shelves which I cannot even really see completely let alone take things from without a small step ladder. Maybe we can take a couple of hours and take everything out, throw out some things (I'm sure this needs to be done, alas) and reorganize.......I think spaghetti sauce jars are on every shelf! And I know I will feel wonderful once this is done.

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  30. Our pantry is looking good right now but we are making an effort to eat up what we have for a bit as we just have too much on hand.

    The area we are cleaning out is our attic. A twenty year accumulation of stuff and raising five children in this house has taken it's toll! We are well underway.

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  31. I’m most interested to see the pantries for ideas to make one for myself - on my “wish list” for this year. The few pantry items here are kept in various locations throughout our small home – all only a few steps away from the kitchen – but not at “point of use” as I would like.

    During my new year’s downsizing and organizing, cookbooks were given “on semi-permanent loan” meaning if I need to borrow them, I can. Also my aluminum bakeware, which I rarely use anymore, has been designated. The recipient knows, borrows it often and will take it when she has storage space, again with the option that I can borrow it if needed. We shared my oven for 3 years until she got a new one. I am pleased to be able to extend the use of items that have brought me much pleasure over the years to those who will continue to use them responsibly. I know it won’t end up in the landfill when I pass. Perhaps she will even pass it on to her daughters for three to four generations of use!!

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  32. I'm in! Cleaning the pantry is on my to do list. I'll take the photos and put them on my blog.

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  33. For several years now I have made a point of cleaning and organizing both my fridge and my pantry the first of each month, before I make my shopping list. I do the big shop then and only pick up milk,eggs,etc during the month. Our grocery store ( there is only one) gives a nice discount on larger purchases, so it saves us money at the beginning of the month and really slows impulse buys the rest of the time.

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  34. Well, I thought about the panty challenge and looked at it and decided that it really wasn't in that bad a shape. The only thing that really needs to be done is for things to be taken off the shelves and the shelves wiped down.

    Other things though, closets, drawers etc. are another thing altogether.

    Victoria in Indiana USA

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  35. i'm in...as we have the same blog writing idea, Rhonda...(i just need to publish mine..;-)

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  36. For several weeks now I have been working on our pantry areas. I have made a point to get rid of almost all plastic containers and go to glass. Over the Christmas holiday we went to Shreveport La. with friends. There is a Libby glass store there that sells 2nds. I got a whole lot of glass there for a reasonable amount of money. I also took advantage of Christmas sales and got some gifts for my daughter in law for next year. Our car was full of boxes on our trip home and I forgot to ask the lady who packed the glass items to mark the boxes. So when I got home and went to get what I wanted for our kitchen I had to go through each box...next time I will mark the boxes before I put them into the car.
    It looks so nice to see my food and pantry items in the class jars with white lids. I am very proud of how the pantry looks.

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  37. I've been thinking of relocating my stockpile and ,my pantry certainly needs attention though I'm not confidant I could do it this week. I look forward to your after post. :)

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  38. I actually cleaned out and tidies my pantry last weekend. Didn't toss a lot of stuff out, just a few opened packets that had been forgotten (I'll blame the husband) and some out of date herbs. Its so nice to go to it now and know where everything is and what is in there. I also reorganised all of my spare glass jars, placing the majority of them in a plastic stacker box which I can store in the garage. It frees up space and I know they are clean and ready to go.

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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  39. The pantry challenge really made me laugh; my man has been building my pantry for 16 months now and it is still not finished, so I'm really suffering from 'pantry envy' at the moment! I might make him sit down and look at all your readers' pantries as penance ;-0
    Jak x

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  40. I will join you, dear friend for the pantry challenge although I am 5 days late.. Does that mean that I get 5 extra days to clean? grin.. I will get to it asap.. I am a little behind in my blog reading, I am afraid.. Have a blessed weekend.. xo

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    1. Welcome Faye. If you can get your before and after photos ready by my Monday, post them on your blog and then leave a link to them here. Then we can all look and learn. :- )

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  41. We've just returned from a long holiday so I'm a bit late with the challenge. I did do a bit of a tidy up before we left but am keen to get the pantry and the stockpile sorted. Will post to the forum this week. Thanks Rhonda and Happy new year.
    kate xx

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  42. I'm a bit behind on my blog reading and missed this. I am with you all in the cleaning/organizing mode though, this past weekend I did the freezer. Emptied, cleaned, sorted, replaced and typed up an inventory. The pantry needs to be done as well. It wasn't next on the to-do list but this weekend is as good as any to get it done...as long as we're not derailed with a sick furbaby - a bit worried about our 14yo chihuahua and she has an appointment on Friday. Crossed fingers that it's nothing worse than just aging.

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  43. This is a great idea. I retired a year ago and have got through a lot of health challenges in that time. Now I am growing vegies (made my first baba ganoush from home-grown eggplant a few weeks ago!) and the pantry is next...now that I am cooking more often, I need things in better order. I made banana muffins yesterday and the whole batch was eaten in one day! Have done the freezers and am beginning to restock with my fave Weight Watchers curried vegie stew with all the tomatoes, zucchinis, chillis, eggplant and herbs from the garden. Help needed - something is eating my poor basil - little holes all over! Pyrethrum or derris dust? Love love love this blog

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    1. Lyndy, go out and get to know your plants. Early morning or evening is the best time. Try to find the bugs. It's possibly caterpillars, grasshoppers or beetles. If it's beetles, pick them off and squash them. For the others, you can spray with pyrethrum but there's a withholding period, so don't eat any the next day. If they're only on the basil, you might be better off just picking them off by hand.

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