The Dreaded Pantry Cleaning & Organization

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Before Pantry Organization | Creativecaincabin.comStep into the mess….We lost power last week about 7:30 in the morning due to a transformer going down from the extreme cold temperatures, I had two options….hop back in bed to stay warm or clean the pantry. I decided to use the time wisely and do some cleaning and stay warm at the same time. I have to say while cleaning the power was restored in about an hour but our house had dropped 8 degrees in that time and ice was forming inside on one of the walls. Good thing I was keeping busy I needed to generate some body heat.

Hubby was out of town working about 2.5 hours away, so that meant no generator hook up for me. I knew the power company would bring in generators to power up the system while they worked on it. They couldn’t leave people without heat when it was 30 below outside. I was in constant communication with Grama Red, since they lost power too, and was ready to go start her generator if things didn’t change soon. Her house was down to 53 degrees by the time power was on. Ah the joys of living in Michigan.

That story was all leading up to why I cleaned the pantry believe it or not? It seemed to get a little sidetracked for a while there.

So here’s my strategy for cleaning and organizing the pantry. I opened the dreaded door, and said to myself where to begin? Now you see why the cute little curtain was a must. 

Pantry Storage and Organization System |

1: Clear everything off my 9ft. island and use that as the space to organize everything.  I purchased the plastic bins at Walmart to use for food storage. They’re square at the top and bottom so things fit nicely, I don’t like tapered bins (wider at the top than at the bottom) it’s a waste of space in my opinion.

2:  line the storage bins up (as you can see in the picture above) and as I took things out of the panty, shelf by shelf, I organized them in the storage bins according, Nuts, Baking, Crackers, and so on. No need in handling the things twice. Also dispose of outdated items or donate items that you wont use. Don’t put them back in the pantry, it just makes more clutter. 

Pantry Storage and Organization System |


3: Wipe off each shelf as it became bare and flipped it over to avoid any sagging.

4: Put things back into the pantry with items you use most at reaching height. 

TIP: I have electrical outlets in my pantry that way I don’t have to have appliances out on my counter. For instance the bread machine never leaves the pantry. I pull out the loaf pan, add the ingredients, and use it in the pantry. Love having these things out of sight. 

I’m happy to have it organized again and I told myself I couldn’t shop for anything but fruits, veggies, and milk until the pantry is empty. (Oh my, I don’t want to even say this but I also have a panty in the basement larger, much larger than this one loaded with food.) Soon it will only be Hubby and I in the home, so I need to learn to downsize. 

Thanks for looking in on my new, clean and organized pantry. I know there’s still a lot of things going on in there, but I know what we have and where it’s at now. 


P.S. I’ve also added a couple of new collections to the shop this week: The Fox Collection | Available in Mug, Pillow, Phone Case, Tote, Note Cards | Print | Canvas | CreativeCainCabin.comThe Fox Collection

The Light Bulb Moment Collection | CreativeCainCabin.comThe Light Bulb Moment Collection

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  1. says

    Hi Dawn. I did my pantry the first week of this year. It feels so good to have it clean and tidy. I don’t use lots of bins and baskets because I know my family would never put things back in them. I just line up the boxes and containers in an orderly fashion and try to keep it that way. Isn’t it amazing how many crumbs show up in there? Ick!

    You are so lucky to have another pantry in the basement. You are prepared! You say you need to downsize the food, but doesn’t it feel good to have all of that on hand? For some reason I like that feeling.

    • says

      Stacey, yes it is nice to be able to make what I want because I always have the ingredients. Luckily for me I do all the cooking so no one does much in the pantry but me, so I hope I keep it clean now.

  2. says

    On a whim I cleaned out our tiny pantry yesterday. Ahhhh, to get old stuff out of there and now I have room for new groceries. I could not live with that kind of cold.

    • says

      Kim doesn’t it feel good to get it all clean? LOL I say the same about the heat, I’m not a hot weather girl at all.

  3. says

    Steve and I are organizing slower than most – gave ourselves the entire month of January to organize the kitchen – the pantry is next.

    I look at other peoples’ pantries and wondered why ours is so empty compared to theirs. It just hit me as I read about your weather and power woes. We don’t use much canned or packaged food because we can get fresh daily at the store. If we lived in a climate like yours we would need a stocked pantry.

    • says

      Carol I also live over 30 miles from a store and grocery shopping is not on the top of my fun list so I would rather stock up and be prepared. I also bake from scratch so I need all the stuff that goes along with that. I hope to have things weeded down by the time my son moves out next spring.

  4. elma says

    Looks so nice when a pantry is all cleaned and organized!! I just did mine last week after my new pink Tupperware came!! I am ready for spring!! I am sick of being in the house but I am getting a lot of organization done and getting rid of stuff. This Michigan cold weather gets older and older each year!!!

    • says

      Elma, Ohhh Pink tupperware I didn’t even know they had that color. Do they still do house parties like back in the day? I’ve haven’t been invited in years if so. Yes I agree the cold gets to ya after a while.

  5. says

    I cannot see you going back to bed….the pantry looks great and thanks for the tips and ideas….Wow 30 below is a bit hard to grasp!…

    • says

      Shirley don’t think it wasn’t on my mind but I knew nothing was getting done if I was lounging around in bed all day. LOL

  6. Patty says

    Downsizing is the hardest thing to learn. I am used to cooking for 3 big sons, a husband and me. Now it is just basically the husband and me. He doesn’t like leftovers but I love them for lunch. I just cleaned out our freezer and was shocked at all the chicken, beef and pork I had. We are expecting a snow storm this weekend and I told my hubby I didn’t even have to go to the store. We have everything. I have to learn to downsize my shopping too.

    • says

      Patty, it’s so nice to have food on hand, but like you I am using what’s in the freezer and not shopping any time soon. We do have 2 pigs and a cow going to market soon so we will be all set for meat for the year.

  7. Kathleen G says

    Opposite here in Phoenix. Summers are to hot here. But boy! 30 below! I can see why you need to stock up, miles from the store and three men to feed. Kathleen in Az

    • says

      Kathleen, Im not a hot weather girl but 30 below is a bit much to take too.

  8. says

    That is so awesome! It didn’t quite make me want to go tackle mine, but almost! Ha! You did such an amazing job and I really am feeling inspired! Way to go!

    • says

      Amy, What it didn’t inspire you, LOL I don’t blame you it’s not a fun spot to clean ๐Ÿ™‚ and since no one sees it, it seems a waste of time.

  9. says

    Wow, 30 below. I think I would have opted for hiding under the covers. I hate cleaning the pantry, but it is always so satisfying when it is done. Thanks for the tips. xo Laura

    • says

      Laura, it’s not my favorite spot to clean either, it’s just easier to close the door but I am glad it’s done.

  10. says

    HI Dawndie! Oh, you did a great job on your pantry. It’s amazing how quickly a pantry can get out of shape! To have ice start to show up on a wall, that’s cold!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • says

      Shelia, yes it was very cold and I agree how can a pantry get out of control so fast.

  11. says

    Oh my word, girl! I don’t think I could survive 30 below! I have never experienced such cold temperatures. Today it was almost 70 degrees here! Anyway, you have inspired me to tackle our pantry. It’s on my list of things to do in January, and the month will be over before I know it!

    • says

      Jane, 70 is the hottest I like it so that would be great weather for me. Yes January is almost over but I know the pantry isn’t the most rewarding spot to clean. I feel like no one ever sees it so why bother.

  12. says

    Ah the dreaded pantry. I just did mine also. Clean and organized for a few more months. And I found a package of Krerig coffee and two chocolate bars. Cheers

    • says

      Lesley, I also found a chocolate bar in mine when I cleaned and yes I hoarded it for myself. LOL

  13. says

    Oh how I love your pantry! Mine is about the size of a shoebox (okay….slightly bigger) and it gets messy because it’s so tiny I just SQUISH everything in there. Yours is fabulous.

    • says

      Mary Beth, it’s easy to do when the space is small. Mine certainly is big enough so I don’t know why I have an overflow pantry in the basement.

  14. Cheryl Major says

    Great tips Dawn. I got inspired and did some spring cleaning here also. I also want to thank you for the wonderful spaghetti sauce and canned tomato recipe in the fall. I did both and made 60 -litre jars and 20- 500ml jars of Spaghetti sauce. I also made about 24- 500ml jars of canned tomatoes . The family LOVES the sauce and refuse to eat any store purchased kind that I already had in my pantry.

    • says

      Cheryl, I know what you mean my family will not eat store bought either. My son refuses and would rather go without. LOL So glad to hear you love it.

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