BeforeThis kitchen cabinet has been on my list to clean and organize for quite some time now. Since making the change to more real food, my storage needs have changed somewhat. Instead of three kinds of sugar, I now have Sucanat and honey. In place of canola oil, I use olive and coconut oils, both of which are purchased in large containers. I am nowhere close to the perfect real foods kitchen, but I continue to take baby steps towards a more natural lifestyle.
Other than needing a good cleaning, this cupboard really didn't look that awful. It just needed to be organized not only to look better but better suit my needs. In my small kitchen, this is the only cabinet for food storage. I try to keep most of my baking supplies here. There is also a small bookshelf in the kitchen that houses fresh non-refrigerated produce, canisters of more baking supplies, and massive containers of vinegar and olive oil. All other food items are stored on a shelf in the laundry room or in the dining room.
My goals for this project:
- Clean the cabinet; wiping down shelves and cleaning all grungy jars and bottles.
- Throw out old stuff or items we no longer use.
- Reorganize and purge spices and herbs. Some spices were not frequently used and were at least 5 years old. I also wanted to get rid of all the various containers and put them into matching glass jars, of which I had plenty. (I purchased most of these at thrift stores for 10 cents each.)
- Use the space to store more of my dry goods. Utilize glass jars for whatever I could.
Filling spice jars on cookie sheet for easy clean-up.
I buy many spices in bulk and store the large containers in the freezer for freshness and longer storage. Some folks prefer to just use the large containers and not mess with small jars. It takes a good amount of time for my small family to go through a large spice container so refilling small jars works better for me.
Among the items I threw out were baking chocolate(expiration date 2008), seasoning salt that I only used once, Karo syrup that we no longer use and was also old, empty jars and bottles that had never been discarded, old spices and herbs. I also ended up recycling a huge pile of plastic spice bottles. When I did childcare, I would keep these for projects, but I really have no need for them at the moment.
The dated orange Tupperware containers (a newlywed yard sale find) were put into the donate pile and replaced with various glass jars. I love the clean look of glass versus plastic and it's nice to be able to easily see the contents. Eventually, I'd like to switch everything over to glass as I find more jars.
A label maker would've been really nice but I didn't have access to one nor did I have any labels on hand, so I improvised. I took the cheap-o route and used some cute sticky notes, Scotch tape and a permanent marker. My mom gave me a cute set of sticky notes similar to this one for Christmas and I've enjoyed using them! So much more fun than plain yellow.
A six pack carton holds various jars and bottles of vinegars, liquid smoke, etc. The Glad box stores bread bags and twist ties.
I can't believe how much more space I have now! I'm actually storing quite a bit more than before, too. Having a clean and organized cabinet works for me!
And the question of the day: What do you use alum for and why did I have it in my cabinet? (One of the items I've never used; I wonder why I bought it.)
**This post is part of Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family!