The Organizing Continues – Pantry & Paints!

I love the month of January. For me, it is a time to slow down after the busyness of the holidays. It’s usually peppered with a couple of snow days which adds to the take it easy, watch movies, stay in our pj’s all day kind of mode.  And there simply is less to do at this time of year – no outdoor chores, not as many school projects and activities with the kids and no big celebrations. It’s a time that I typically catch the organizing bug and actually have the time to do it! I accomplished three organizing projects this month and each has given me a good deal of satisfaction and renewed my creativity.

The first was organizing my desk space. And, I am happy to report that in the past three weeks it has stayed organized!

The second one I tackled was my pantry closet. I don’t have a before photo but it had gotten pretty bad. So, no big earth shattering ideas here but basically I use baskets and some shallow enamelware trays to corral like items: baking items in one; breads and crackers in another; nuts, seeds and dried fruits in another, and so on.

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My canned goods are arranged in rows back to front. This makes it easy to see when I am getting low on something.  It also ensures nothing gets buried in the back.

For cereals, flours, and sugars I use large plastic rectangular containers by Click Clack that allow me to see the contents.  Because they are stackable I can make better use of the shelf space.  I’ve been using these plastic containers ever since a professional organizer came to one of our MOPS programs when my teenage daughters were just toddlers. They have served us well!

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On the floor I have an old large enamelware pot for storing dry cat food. So much more convenient and attractive than a big old bag.  The cat food stays fresher, too.

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I use a rectangular Basketville basket for storing paper towels. They fit perfectly.

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I also have two small baskets that I added “s” hooks to so that they can hang from the wire shelving … one houses extra flatware and the other one keeps straws in arm’s reach for my little guy.

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Ahhh…. it feels so good to have some organization in the kitchen again!

My last organizing project was to address our ever growing supply of leftover house paints. We probably had 30 cans or more containing varying amounts of paint and scattered throughout the house. If you’ve ever opened a can of paint after it’s been sitting around awhile, invariably there is rust around the inner rim which falls into the paint upon lifting the lid, making it unusable.  That’s because paint cans are not air tight. The best idea I could find for long lasting paint storage was to transfer the paint to mason jars.

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I covered the ping pong table with a plastic tablecloth and then gathered up every paint can we had. I opened each can and stirred up the paint. Using a $1 plastic funnel I poured each paint color into one or more mason jars. I labeled each jar with the color and finish information, along with the room that we used it in. Nothing fancy – just masking tape and a sharpie.

My 6 year old son had a blast helping with this project – he’s responsible for the happy faces on the labels and jar lids!  I know I will look at these lids years from now and smile, thinking back to the day that he excitedly stirred and poured alongside me.

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I worked on this over the course of several nights and voila – this long awaited project is now finished! The paints are altogether on a shelving unit in our basement, each properly labeled. The jars take up less than half the space of all the paint cans. Incidentally, in order to throw paint cans in the garbage they need to be completely dry inside. Adding a little kitty litter to each empty can quickly absorbs and hardens any paint residue.

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January, you’ve been a good month. I hate to see you go!

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