Thursday, March 31, 2011

Project: Simplify - Hot Spot #4: Pantry and Fridge

After seeing this week's hot spot on Monday, I decided to tackle it right away. Organizing our pantry and refrigerator was a simple enough task to temporarily take my mind off of the events of last weekend. Parker was taking a long morning nap and Morgan was coloring quietly in the living room, so I took advantage of a little alone time to clean, purge and organize. Our trash can is conveniently located right next to the refrigerator for easy tossing. I also kept a notebook nearby to make notes of food we needed to replenish.
First, the fridge:
No major transformations really. I wiped down the shelves and drawers and moved leftovers and already opened food to the front. I put Parker's thawed baby food and other food reserved for him on one shelf. Cut up fruit and veggies on one shelf for easy lunch prep. I filled up our Pur water dispenser and removed a lot of almost empty boxes, etc. Then I thought I might as well hit the freezer too. We have a bottom freezer drawer and the narrow top tray holds our ice cube tray, teething rings, ice packs and Parker's baby food cubes:
Not much to do here. I made a list of the produce I need to buy to make Parker some more food. He's in an in-between stage of eating pureed/mashed food and feeding himself, so I need to make more food for his stash. The deep bottom section holds everything else:
The right side is all of the frozen fruit, veggies, chicken and rolls. The left side is everything else. I threw away a few things that got buried at the bottom and brought out our supply of small binder clips to neatly secure the opened veggies, rolls and french fries.

Next, the pantry. We have a nice big 30" wide pantry that I organized and filled last summer after we got our new kitchen cabinets, so it wasn't too bad. There is always room for improvement though. The top portion has shelves that hold vases, flowerpots, candles, lunchboxes, chips and popcorn, cereal, spices, some baking staples, vinegars and oils.
The bottom section has 4 roll trays, which makes it easy to keep the open/need-to-use-first food in the front and the unopened stuff in the back. Each tray has it's own 'category'. Snacks on the top (away from little fingers):
I tore off the flaps of all of the open boxes that held individually packaged granola bars, fruit strips, etc. because it looks neater and it's easier to just grab what you want. Everything that is in the front is free for the taking. The snacks in the back are unopened and I try not to open until something from the front is used up. That way I can prevent having Cheez-its and Goldfish and cheesy puffs all open at the same time (and something likely getting stale).

Lunch stuff, like bread, buns and peanut butter, tea and hot cocoa, and extra spices on the second roll tray:
Most of our dinner type food is on the third roll tray:
And all of my baking staples are on the bottom roll tray.
This was the area I rearranged and purged the most. I moved the glass jars to the front and the bags of flour, sugar, etc. to the back (these are just the leftovers to fill the jars, so they don't need to be front and center). I also used file folder labels to re-label the bottoms of the containers and jars.
Like I said, no drastic after shots, but it was really nice to wipe everything down and get rid of the unnecessary ick. More than just organizing our food, this week's project really made me more aware of what we are eating (especially the healthy vs. unhealthy snacks). I found an app for my iPhone called Fooducate that has a fun scan bar feature and it tells you a grade (A-, B, D) for almost every food I scanned. It also gives you a list of healthier alternatives! It's super convenient to use in the grocery store with 2 antsy kids (instead of reading label after label). I'm still playing with it, but I highly recommend it. Plus, you can't go wrong with free.

Next week is the final week of Simple Mom's Project: Simplify. What do you think the final hot spot will be? I think it's the bathroom - toiletries, bath toys, towels, sheets and the like. At least, that's what I hope it is. We'll find out on Monday! Thanks for looking!

You can see my before and afters for the last three weeks here:
Hot Spot #1: Master Closet
Hot Spot #2: Paper Clutter
Hot Spot #3: Kids Clothes and Toys

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