From Marty: After binge watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I felt very inspired and ready to go through what was in my kitchen - specifically, the pantry and my spice cabinet. Even though we have only lived in this house one year - it's amazing what was expired, not used or hidden out of sight. What was even more amazing was the duplicates - I had unknowingly duplicated so many items! Realizing that it is financially and environmentally wasteful - I went full throttle into my pantry. I took everything out, cleaned the shelves and started fresh. Marie's process is very simple and effective. All it takes is time and patience. I edited the process so it's more geared towards the cooking process. The more my pantry makes sense, the more I want to cook.
This is a reminder of SAUCHA, a Niyama (2nd of the 8 limbs of yoga) which is an observation of cleanliness and order in our minds/bodies/and dwellings. We can practice this observation in our physical world by keeping our kitchen pantry/drawers/cabinets neat and orderly.
1) REMOVE + CLEAN
Take everything out and place it on a table or other central location close by. Notice the pile and how lucky you are to have so much food and so many choices. Take a moment and say THANK YOU to the abundance. Vacuum/wipe down the shelving and any additional areas that are needed in your pantry.
Discard what is expired with the environment in mind. If the container is reusable, wash it out and put it aside. Recycle as a last option. If you have food that is not expired but is new, designate a FOOD BANK bag/box/bin to drop off. Discarded and donated food - say a silent 'thank you' for what it has offered you. Even if you didn't eat it, you have learned about your buying habits and if you are donating you are offering nourishment to someone in need.
After you have sorted (don't put them back in pantry just yet!), start to arrange your food into groups that suit your lifestyle - some ideas are:
LUNCHES (if you have school-aged kids, or pack your own lunches)
Much of our foods can be transferred into air tight containers that can be stacked and labeled. Baskets do well for grouping - for example: I have a designated 'pancake' basket. It has pancake mix, a container of chocolate chips and a special tin for confectioner's sugar. When making pancakes for my kiddos, I just grab the pancake basket and that makes it very easy. I also have one for baking to keep vanilla, honey, baking soda/powder, etc.
It's time to structure how you want your pantry organized. The most valuable real estate in your pantry should be used for items that you use very frequently. You can make a visual by making a quick sketch or writing down your specific categories and order them in priority. The higher shelves or harder to reach areas can be used for when you don't use the food/goods as often. You may find it helpful to label your shelves. The taller items can go in the back - small shelves are available at Bed, Bath and Beyond with steps for more visibility and efficiency. I used the shelves for canned goods.
I went back through my pantry after it was finished and shifted a few things. Some containers were sized better for other things along with baskets, etc. The idea here is we are constantly tweaking, to keep up with quantities, organization, and usage levels. Our lives are changing constantly too. So by keeping up with tweaking our pantry, it will never be in a place where it needs a complete overhaul!
HAPPY ORGANIZING + PRACTICE GRATITUDE
P.S. Marie's book: