Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sometimes You Just Have To Stop and Organize the Pantry

Do you ever have those days when you feel overwhelmed with the amount of items on your to-do list and you have no idea where to start? Do you feel like your mind is going to explode with all the random thoughts and ideas bumbling around in there?

When this happens to me, sometimes I just need to stop trying to figure it all out. I can best do this by choosing an organizing project to work on, something that I can start and finish in a relatively short time period. While I'm working on this project, my mind relaxes and I'm able to return to that same to-do list with a new perspective.

After compiling a complete to-do and goals list (covering several pages!) for the remainder of the year recently, the overwhelm set in. I knew that in reality there was plenty of time to prioritize and work through the list over the remainder of the year, so I decided to stop thinking about it and organize our pantry, which had become cluttered and disordered. It wasn't necessarily terrible, it had just gotten jumbled . . . and (I discovered) we had purchased a few items more than once!

I basically divided this project into three parts. Starting with the section on the left, I cleared/straightened/ reorganized each shelf top to bottom. (In the photos below, check out the BEFORE on the left, AFTER on the right.)

Next I did the same thing with the right section, removing items from each shelf, wiping the shelf clean, then putting everything in place again, organizing along the way. I'm happy to report that there were only a handful of expired or stale items that had to be thrown out.

By re-arranging everything neatly, I was also able to get the bread basket off the counter top and back in the pantry. I was also able to make note of items we typically stock up on before the holidays!

My favorite part of this pantry is the spice rack hanging on the back of the door. It's an Elfa unit that we purchased years ago. I keep the spices in alphabetical order, with the exception of a few larger items that I have on the middle or bottom racks.

Now, I realize that you may not see much difference in the before and after photos, however this project allowed me to take one space that was out of order in my home and get it organized while my mind was able to begin to organize the massive to-dos I want to accomplish in the coming months.

I also realize that organizing the pantry (or some other area) might not be enjoyable or relaxing for you. However, there's probably some task or activity that would allow your mind to rest and release the feeling of overwhelm - maybe it's taking a 15 minute walk or creating a greeting card or baking a cake. Do you know what helps you relax in order to process and overcome overwhelm? Please share in the comments.


  1. Well done! Your pantry does look very neat & tidy. I often get over whelmed by my own to do lists. For me settling my mind could be a walk outside or if it's late in the evening, I like to sort through my sticker stash (which is quite large), seeing & touching the pretty stuff makes me happy & distracted from what's causing the mind to race.

  2. Your pantry is huge---as is mine! I think that alone presents its own problems as it's easy to become disorderly. You made it sound like a small job, but I know how big it actually is! I'm trying really hard to overcome my multiples problem. I buy too much when it's on sale just because I have the room. I love your spices on the door. I'm going to do that and free up a cabinet. My spices are really hard to deal with. I just need to get busy and get started!

  3. Your pantry is much nicer than mine (which is in the basement of a 1930's home), but it certainly needs the same attention you've given yours.


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