The Great Pantry Caper

It all started with the capers.

Well, actually, it all started with putting the pantry doors back on!

Disorganised pantry
My disorganised pantry

My tidy open-shelf pantry quickly deteriorated into a disorganised shemozzle as soon as I put the doors back on. Within about ten minutes, I swear!

Lately it has been difficult to shop effectively with my pantry in this state. It isn’t really so very bad, but it has been building up to a crescendo of silly. I seem to have a bit of a blind spot for capers, it appears.

Cluttered pantry shelf
This was the worst of the shelves.

Where have my Capers gone? I know, I’ll buy another jar. Actually, I’ll buy two jars just to make sure I don’t run out.

And yet, I never seem to have any capers!

The time had come (the Walrus said) to think of many things! Chiefly, separating my stockpile from my pantry, once and for all.

Organised pantry
Hey presto, organised!

And then, in a blink, it was DONE(*). Now the pantry is only storing items that are in active use — bags we have opened are emptied into the “active” container (eg. rolled oats, cashew nuts etc.), but items that are still sealed up are now in my stockpile location.

Stockpiled goods on the kitchen counter
Stockpile items

Okay, so the kitchen counter is not the final destination for my stockpiled goods!

From this pic you can see just how much stockpile stuff I had crammed into my pantry. It turns out that you need a lot more space around objects you use frequently, in order for it to stay organised! Pulling these stockpile items out means I can (theoretically) store like items together and keep track of when they are running low. I can “shop my home” when I need to refill my pantry, instead of going off to the shops! Sounds great.

Stockpile moved to an Expedit shelf
The new stockpile location

… so now the stockpile is in the laundry. It’s a work-in-progress as I only have a bit of space cleared, and the boxes I removed are now “stored” on the kitchen table. But it is so much better. I wish I’d done this ages ago!

What I learned from this

First of all, my pantry shelves are too deep — items stored behind other items get forgotten about! My new pantry organisation has hardly any items stored behind. Only those items that are infrequently used (like the preserving salt) go behind.

Second, it’s easier to pull containers out from the pantry if there is some space around the boxes to get your hands in. Stacking my containers shoulder-to-shoulder was too cluttered.

Finally, taking the stockpile items out made enough space that I could group items together (like all the nuts, all the dry staples, etc.). I could also put healthy foods down low (cereals) and unhealthy snacks up high (lollies!) so the kids have a good example of food at their eye level.

I also learned that there were containers storing things I never use, so I liberated those boxes and gave the contents to the chickens (eg. quinoa — I made baby food from this, but I just don’t use it any more!)

Oh — and it turns out I had FIVE bottles of capers in the pantry. Go figure.

(*) You know this didn’t really happen in a blink, didn’t you? *wink*

4 thoughts on “The Great Pantry Caper

  1. Ah yes organising the pantry. I remember doing that as a child with my mother. She too has deep shelves the back of which yielded all sorts of wonderful treats and surprises! My pantry has deep shelves but everything is stored in wicker baskets which you can pull out to get at what you want 😉

    1. Olives get used so often in my house 😉 I know what you mean! I keep the capers for an Irish Stew (and occassionally in salads or pizza topping). It’s only when I want some stew that I go looking for capers, or I’m in the shop and assume I have none left. Not an ingredient that can be left out! 🙂

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