Before and After: Pantry Edition

 

Whenever I show before and afters of pantries on my Instagram feed they get the most comments and likes. I think it’s because it gives people ideas, hope, and inspiration to know that a crazy space can become an organized space.

Want to see some of my favorite before & after pantries? Let me show you…

 

Before & After: Pantry #1

 

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Before: My client had tried to create order by using small clear bins, however the bins were too small for the amount she was tying to contain, and because they were see through, the bins created visual clutter. The other issue was that she had great Oxo brand containers , but they were spread throughout the pantry. They make a cleaner visual impact when they are all together.  Storing holiday items used once a year also took up space that could be used for everyday items.

 

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After: By using larger baskets and bins, as well as creating zones, I was able to bring order to every shelf. Storing like with like, she now knows exactly how much of every item she has, and it’s easy to find. These large lazy susan’s are my favorite for pantry corners and top shelves. You can twirl the lazy susan and bring what you want to the front with ease, no step stool needed. Lazy susan’s in corners use all the available space so nothing gets lost in the back.

I always try and use large floor baskets to hold items like paper towels, lunch boxes, large amounts of snacks, etc. Adding labels also helps everyone in the house know exactly where everything is, and where it goes when you’re unloading groceries.

The holiday items now live in an unused cupboard up high.

 

Before & After: Pantry #2

 

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Before: No rhyme or reason to where items are put. They have no idea how much they have of anything, or where it is. This makes for double purchases as well as waste when lost and unused items become expired. There was a lot of wasted space in here as well. Let me show you how I solved these problems.

 

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After: I created zones; baking, breakfast, lunch, dinner, baby food, canned goods etc. Keeping like with like they will know exactly how much they have. I also put all the Oxo containers together, again creating visually clean lines. Lazy susan’s hold bottles of vinegars and oils, and bamboo bin clips tell you exactly what is in each basket. In the blue floor baskets I stored lunch boxes and reusable bags. The sides of the pantry are lined with bins too, and the dog food was relocated there. Every inch of the pantry is being used to its potential now.

 

Before & After: Pantry #3

 

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Before: Costco purchases left on the floor in boxes made everything hard to get to plus created a ton of visual clutter. Again, there is no rhyme or reason as to where things go. This creates chaos and frustration when trying to find what you know you have.

 

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After: I took everything out of the big Costco packages and put the contents into bins my client already had (similar ones here). This makes it easy to grab and go. When the bin gets low you know it’s time to buy more. I also used my favorite affordable white bins and labels (click here to order) to clearly distinguish where everything is. What’s for dinner? Let’s go look in the dinner bin and see what we have!  Kids want to pack a lunch? The lunch bin has everything they need, just bring the bin to the counter, pack their lunch, and off to school they go. So easy.  Want a snack? Grab the eat first bin and find all the opened snacks. Once again, I used large lazy susan’s in all the corners to hold jars and bottles, and cereal containers stored all together make it visually pleasing.

 

You too can have an organized pantry!

Do you see a formula here? Zones, bins, labels, and floor baskets are my go to when I am organizing any pantry. You can do it too by following these easy steps:

Take everything out: sort everything into like piles and check expiration dates.

Create zones: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, eat first, baking, canned goods, etc.

Plan the layout of your pantry for what works best for your family. It’s not one size fits all. See my pantry here (click “My Pantry” under my saved stories).

Find containers that fit your space. Bins, lazy susan’s, Oxo storage containers, can stackers, baskets, and  floor baskets.

Now label and put it all back in. Enjoy!

 

Live in the DFW area? I can help you! I”m an email away. Don’t live in the Dallas area, that’s ok! I offer virtual organizing sessions via FaceTime. It’s really fun. We facetime for 45 minutes and talk about your space. I then send you a detailed to do list complete with links for products.

You can see other posts about pantries here.

As always, I’m ready to help you today,

Lisa

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Fridge Organization 101

organized fridge

Want to know how I organize my fridge?

I’ve always loved having an organized fridge. Let me tell you how I organize my fridge, saving time and money.

Step 1. Clean.

The first thing I do when organizing my fridge is empty it all out. This is the best time to clean it and sort through all your leftovers and condiments. I usually do it when the fridge is running low of food.

Then, I like to wash it down with warm water and vinegar. Smells clean and fresh.

Step 2. Line the fridge.

Step two of organizing my fridge is to insert new Fridgecoasters. They come in so many pretty colors. This time I chose the mint. They are like coasters for your fridge, absorbing spills and keeping your bins and shelves easy to clean. When you order them they send enough to line your fridge twice! I change mine out once a quarter unless there is a spill. They are also biodegradable and can be added to your compost or recycle bin when you are done with them.

Step 3. Create zones.

I love creating zones when I organize my fridge, and I do it by adding these fridge bins! I have them labeled to make it easier for my family to find all the like items together. It also helps when my family puts away groceries, they know where everything goes. I have one for fruit, lunch, and snacks.

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Use bins to contain like with like.
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Labels make it easy to find what you want.
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Create a lunch bin with all your favorites in one place.

I love organizing my fridge this way. When I want lunch (my favorite is a veggie and hummus sandwich) I just grab my lunch bin and take it to the counter. The same goes when packing lunches. You can grab all the bins, bring them to the counter and everyone can make their own lunches. When you organize like with like, you know exactly how much you have. Makes less waste too, as nothing gets lost in the back of the fridge.

Step 4. Decant.

Just like with snacks in my pantry, I like to decant my liquids too. These carafes make it easy to see exactly how much milk and OJ is left. I don’t have to worry about expiration dates as we always run out before they expire.

The other product I love to use are these wine stackers. They are perfect for keeping white wine cold or stacking my hubby’s favorite lemonade. The bottles are too tall to stand up so these stackers help a ton! Use that vertical space.

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Decant liquids.

I also keep frozen drinks in my freezer for company or parties. I like to have drinks ready, all I have to do is take out a frozen treat and make it in this carafe. Drinks look prettier when served in clear carafes don’t you think?

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Keep frozen food on hand.

Step 5. Food Prep

Last but not least, I prep food for the week. I love using these egg trays. I keep one dozen hard boiled eggs (perfect for a quick breakfast, in salads, egg salad sandwiches, etc) and one dozen raw eggs for baking or scrambled eggs.

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Make ahead food.

I also wash and prep all our veggies! These  Oxo Green Saver containers help keep my fruits and veggies lasting longer. They come with a carbon filter which absorbs ethylene gas, keeping my produce from turning bad. I love the strainer that is included as well. I keep grapes in one of them and just wash as I eat them.

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Keep produce fresher longer.

 

You can also find more food prepping ideas here….Food Prepping – Back To School Edition or here.

Last step….enjoy!

Having an organized fridge saves you time and money. Time is valuable and having food prepped and ready to go each week will cut down your stress, I promise. Prepping healthy food to eat eliminates those last minute decisions to run through the drive through. Time and money saved!

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Organizing your fridge is as easy as this!

Are you in the DFW area? Do you need help organizing your fridge or other areas of your home? I’m an email away. And did you know I offer virtual organizing? I FaceTime with you and help answer all your questions during our call, then send you a detailed to do list and a follow up email in two weeks. Click here to schedule. I promise it’s fun!

 

As always, I’m ready to help you today,

Lisa

 

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**this blog was done via partnership with The Container Store, however all editorial comments and opinions are mine.

I Love Pantries

Why do I love pantries so much?

 

 

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Pantry Organization

 

 

I love organizing pantries so much because I’ve always felt that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s my happy place, and I want to make it yours too! We spend so much time in our kitchens through out the day that we need to make it a priority! You should love being in your space. I can help you make it pretty as well as functional.

 

 

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Clear, Air Tight Containers

 

 

I look back fondly, to the years when my kids were little, of cooking and creating good meals for my family. I’ve always loved cooking for large groups, after all I am the oldest of seven, I can do it with my eyes shut.  Like my Grandma, feeding people is my love language.  So naturally for me, creating a functional yet pretty space in any pantry is a must.

 

 

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Create Zones

 

How I organize a pantry.

 

If you follow me on instagram you know the drill by now. Take it all out. By taking everything out of the space, you will touch and see it all, forcing you to decide if you want it, need it, and/or use it.

 

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Before….you must take it all out!

 

Next step is sorting. Sort like with like. Check expiration dates during this process. I put all the baking together, all the lunch items together, all the snacks together and so on. If I had a quarter for every time I heard “how did I end up with five of these?” I’d be rich.

 

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Oxo Brand Pop Top Containers

 

Now create Zones.  Here is how I zone my pantries: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, eat first (snacks), baking, paper goods, cleaning supplies (if applicable).  I use the top shelf for large items that aren’t used very often.

 

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Keep it simple.

 

 

Next, choose your favorite organizing supplies. Mine are  Oxo brand containers,  baskets,  bins,  lazy susans , can stackers, and labels.

 

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Use lazy Susan’s in the corners.

 

 

Lastly, use floor baskets help hide clutter. I use big floor baskets for paper and plastic sacks, lunch boxes, cleaning supplies, paper goods, and Costco snacks.

 

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Hide the clutter with large floor baskets.

 

 

 

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Target Basket

 

 

 

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Belly baskets hold a ton!

 

Now, it’s time to enjoy!

That’s it! That’s my pantry formula!

 

I’d love to help you organize your pantry too! Did you know I do virtual organizing? It’s so fun and easy. We FaceTime for forty five minutes and then I send you a detailed to do list and links to all the products. It’s that easy. Or if you live in the DFW area, I’ll drive straight to your house. I also travel! Send me a plane ticket and I’m there! We will have fun, I promise.

 

Is redoing your pantry on your to do list?

 

I’m ready to help you today,

Lisa

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Food Prepping – Back To School Edition

What does it mean to food prep?

 

For me food prepping (preparing food ahead of time) is a way to keep my sanity during the busy school weeks. When we have food prepped and ready to go for lunches, dinners, snacks and breakfasts, we not only save time, we save money!

 

I typically grocery shop on a Friday or Saturday and food prep on Sunday afternoons.  Sunday’s are slower days for us and it’s relaxing for me to be in the kitchen making good food for the week ahead. Get the whole family on board to help. Littles love to help in the kitchen, and big kids can help you cook!

 

What food items do I prep ahead?

 

Meat. Even though I eat vegan, I prep meat for my family. I will cook up all the chicken, beef, turkey burger, bacon, sausage etc. all on one day. Then I freeze it into portions for quick meal prep for spaghetti, tacos, chili, breakfasts, or whatever is on the menu for the week.

*Side note: our trash cans go out on Monday night, so when I cook up all the meat on Sunday, there’s no stinky wrappers sitting in the trash can all week!

 

Veggies. I wash, dry, cut up and prep all the veggies I can. We use these for salads, lunch boxes, snacks, fajitas, you name it!

 

Fruit. You’ve seen my vinegar wash for strawberries and blueberries. I buy in bulk, dump them into a large bowl. Cover with water and pour in 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (with the mother), stir and let set for one hour. Drain, rinse and set out on a towel to air dry completely. Then I put into mini serving reusable baggies for lunches or snacks.

*Side note: fruit has to be completely dry before putting back in the fridge.

 

Snacks: I buy snacks in bulk and portion them into smaller reusable baggies This saves money and time each morning. When you have a grab and go section in your pantry it makes packing lunches a breeze!

 

Muffins: I like to make a double batch of muffins (any kind) to freeze. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or to have on hand for guests. They freeze so well.

 

Steel Cut Oats/Pancakes: I make a large batch of oatmeal and heat up a little each morning for breakfast. Add honey, walnuts and cinnamon for the yummiest breakfast ever. You can also do the same for pancakes; make a huge batch on Saturday or Sunday and freeze the rest…pop them in the toaster and you have a quick, hot, and home made breakfast!

 

Quinoa/Grains: I also will make up a batch of quinoa, lentils, rice, or couscous, etc. They make a great side dish when you add veggies, are good in salads, soups, tacos, etc. Having them made up ahead of time makes weeknight meal prep go quickly.

 

Chili/Soup: I love to make a big batch of chili or soup for dinner on Sunday. Freeze the rest and you’ve got a quick dinner all ready to go. Add a salad and bread and you’re done.

 

What do I use to freeze my food in?

 

I have slowing been phasing out plastic baggies and switching to reusable baggies whenever possible. Last week I showed you all the reusable lunch box inserts we have for the grandkids.  Today I’ll show you the reusable silicone baggies I love and use daily.

*Side note: they are dishwasher safe, but I prefer to hand wash and dry them.

 

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Half gallon reusable baggies made of silicone. Thick and durable! Perfect for freezing soups and chilis. I also use them to freeze cooked up meat of any kind. They hold a ton! So easy to have it already cooked up and ready to add to any recipe.

 

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Keep all your frozen bags in this clear bin for easy access, not to mention great freezer organization.

 

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Here are the reusable baggies I love and use. You can write a name in Sharpie for each member of your family. Wash and dry to use again and again.

 

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These are my favorite reusable snack size bags. Portion out the perfect snack and reuse and reuse and reuse.

 

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I love keeping other snack items in the fridge using this divided turn table. I keep one in my fridge and one in my pantry. Easy access to grab and go, or to help littles pack their own lunches.

Fridge:

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Pantry:

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Use these bins and labels to keep fresh foods contained and accessible as well. Be sure and measure your fridge first. These bins come in lots of different sizes to fit any space.

 

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Now what?

Well, you’ve spent one afternoon cooking and prepping. Sit back and enjoy the rest of the week. Trust me, food prepping works. I was a teacher when my kids were younger. Our weekdays were jam packed with school work, activities, sports, you name it. By having a plan for each week, it saved my sanity not to mention my time and money. It takes a little getting used to at first, but if you start simple and stay consistent with it, you’ll soon be a food prep pro!

 

Need help? I’m an email away.

 

Ready to help you today,

Lisa

 

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Food Prepping

Do you food prep?

I started doing this years ago and I cannot tell you how much time and money it has saved us! Not to mention taking the stress away on those busy school nights. Menus planned and meals prepped help this busy, working mom run her home better!

 

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How do I do it?

I love to food prep on Sunday nights. I get lunches prepped and ready for the week as well as cook all the meat I will be using for dinners. Bulk cooking saves time, energy, and money since you aren’t tempted to run through the drive thru. We always plan on eating out once a week for our date night, so having meals ready during the week is key!

I love using these  Stasher brand reusable storage bags from The Container Store . They save so much space.

 

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For example, here are two leftover boxes that we had this week. Restaurant to go boxes stink up the fridge and don’t seal very well. They also take up a ton of space! So I transferred the leftovers into these stasher bags and wow, space saved and smells gone!

 

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Not to mention, three lunches for this week all ready to go!

 

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These reusable baggies are microwave, stovetop, and dishwasher safe! Here’s what the label says, I know you like to read labels too!

 

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The half gallon bags hold a pot of white chicken chili that I prepped and made ahead. Make a pan of fresh cornbread, and dinner is served in 20 minutes!

 

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Next I clean out my fridge and freezer.

I like to organize my fridge and freezer every week. Cleaning out the fridge weekly keeps it organized, and ensures we use everything we have. No waste. Plus it makes putting groceries away easier too!

 

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I love using these bins  in the fridge and freezer.  They are divided, which I love! The dividers are removable though, if you need the whole bin. Labels make it easy for my family to find what they want, and help everyone put away groceries!

 

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Perfect for snacks in the fridge, or frozen foods in the freezer .

 

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If you have a freezer drawer, try these wire baskets. I love having all the frozen bread items in mine.

 

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One quick grab and I have all the bread in one spot. Freezer organization made easy!

 

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Here’s a tip to help keep your berries fresher, longer.

One last thing I want to show you. Save your berries and make them last longer using this apple cider vinegar soak.  Pour one half cup of vinegar (must be the kind that has “the mother”) into a bowl of water. Soak for one hour, rinse, and let air dry completely before putting back in the fridge. No vinegar after taste! Just fresh berries minus the spores that make them go bad.

 

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BUT, if you do have some soft berries, don’t toss them! Make frozen berry cubes. I made mine in this covered ice cube tray  . So yummy in fizzy water, lemonade, iced tea or champagne!

 

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So simple and easy. I have so many ideas for this tray. Freeze left over coffee to put in my iced coffees, cut up herbs and freeze in EVOO, make homemade baby food…so many ideas!

 

Did I help you today?

I hope so. Once you get the hang of food prepping, it will become easy and routine to do. Get your whole family involved. Put on some fun music and make Sunday nights family food prep night. Kids love to help, and everyone will love the benefit of a hot, ready to eat meal during the busy school week!

 

If you’re in the DFW area, I’d love to come help you. If not, I offer virtual organizing services. We FaceTime and I tell you what to do lol! It’s really fun.

 

I’m ready to help you today,

Lisa

 

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Disclaimer: This is a paid sponsorship with The Container Store. All products mentioned above were given to me in exchange for my honest review. You all know by now that I would not recommend any product that I don’t use or love myself! Thank you for your support – Lisa