Monday, February 27, 2012

Project: Cupboard


The other day, I opened my cupboard and found half used bags of millet and quinoa; chickpea flour remnants, and leftover pinto beans from chili night.  As you may have gathered from the photo above, there was more confusion over odds and ends like wheat bran and wheat germ.  I realize this conundrum isn't exactly earth shattering, but it was driving me crazy.  Remember this post, when I shared my slight neurosis about eating broken food and longing for organization?  Well, that quirk is all out in the open now.  There's no hiding it anymore.  You have an exclusive behind the scenes look into my new cupboard.  While that announcement may have sounded a lot like a feature on Inside Edition, I'm pretty sure this story isn't quite newsworthy enough, lacking prominence and certainly, significance.  It wouldn't have made the cut.  However, mismatched bags have been whisked away into uniform jars, everyone finding their respective place.  Tucked away like little toy soldiers, beans, grains, and flours stand in a row, waiting to be called into action.  I thought some of you might be interested in having a look.  If you're yawning, I'm not at all insulted and promise to return next time around with a new recipe.  In any case, here's how it went down in case some of you, who may also have compulsive tendencies, (no judgment) decide to jump on the organization bandwagon (no pressure).  



I took everything, and I mean everything, out of the cabinets.  I collected all those half used bags and gave the shelves a good cleaning before heading out to the dollar store.  I found the glass jars for...you guessed it, one dollar.  They can hold sixteen ounces and since many of my goods come in one-pound bags, they worked out perfectly.  Being a tad too eager to get my project under way, I also managed to knock over and break a glass while wiping out the store's jar supply.  I did offer to pay for the glass, but the manager assured me it happens all the time.  She was just happy she said, that it wasn't a jar full of peaches, or worse, vinegar, both of which she now despises after inhaling during the length of her shift.  Understandable.  Although I did feel a pang of sadness, given the fact she may not be enjoying pickles quite like the rest of us.



When I returned home, I divvied up the jars and created three categories.  There was the beans/lentils/grains category, the seeds/nuts category.  And last but not least, the flours/oats category.  The larger jars you see below I received as a Christmas gift.  Those would house the bulkier guys I use more frequently; whole wheat flour, oats, and brown rice.  Goodbye chip clips, rubber bands, and Ziploc bags.  Hello uniformity.  I resisted the urge to buy a label maker for this project alone, although it would have been the proverbial cherry on top.  As I returned each one back to the cabinet, what could only be described as organizational euphoria rushed over me, a feeling matched only by that time I purged the old clothes in my closet.  I could finally see the contents of my cupboard at first glance.  Organization feels so good people.  


And while we're on the subject of stocking a cupboard, you may be wondering what I keep in mine.  Here's a look at what I generally like to keep around.  

Seeds/Nuts: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia or flax seeds, almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and pine nuts

Beans/Lentils/Grains: garbanzo, black beans, pinto, lima beans, sixteen bean mix, mung beans, cannelloni beans, red lentils, green lentils, black lentils, brown rice, white or basmati rice, black rice, quinoa, farro, millet, bulgur, wheat berries, barley, and amaranth

Flours/Oats: all purpose unbleached flour, whole-wheat flour, rye flour, almond meal, wholemeal flour, chickpea flour, old-fashioned oats, wheat bran, and wheat germ

I also keep a selection of pasta and couscous on hand including semolina, brown rice, and whole wheat varieties.  You'll also find udon and soba noodles tucked in there.

Do you have any organization tips?  What are your pantry staples?

14 comments:

Clair said...

I need to get on this bandwagon too. Our cupboards are disastrous. Your jars look beautiful though!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Hello Martha! I am seriously impressed and inspired. My cupboard looks like your before photo. I love the new jars, and I have a bit of a freshness obsession, so these would be a great solution for me. Fun post!

Margarita said...

Great job! I did this yesterday, only I don't have beautiful containers like you. My grains and nuts were in sorry little yogurt containers with post it labels. But, hey... Someday, right?

Krysta said...

I need to do this.

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

I can relate very well to this!!! I did the same thing and I LOVE my cupboard now! - your jars are gorgeous!!
Mary x

Amy said...

I love this! I need to get this--after just getting back from a grocery trip where I bought wheat bran, oat bran, quinoa, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds etc etc I need some organization like this instead of stacks and piles of bags in my cupboards. One of these days...

Jana ★ said...

Un post muy interesante :D
Un besito linda
http://janakitchen.blogspot.com

Epicurea said...

oh how cute and organized! and very inspiring for those of us whose cupboards look more like photo 1 :-). if you still have some energy for a next project, jam labelizer is a fun and free website for designing labels: jamlabelizer

Stephanie said...

Oooh great tip! Thanks! What a great website. Would love to use that over the summer too, with jams! :)

Helene Dsouza said...

I need jars like that too. the problem is only the storing in the monsoon. everything gets spoilt if not kept in the fridge.
Totaly understand how unorganized bags are, I wish I could get rid of my lil mess.

kyleen said...

I have a lot of random flours and pantry items too, a cup of whole wheat flour hear, a couple tablespoons of flax seed there. Organization tips... the only tip I really have is first in, first out!

Sarah (Snippets of Thyme) said...

Wonderful!! I LOVE pantry makeovers. I have most of my goods in baskets on the lower shelves and then jars on the upper shelves. I am sometimes embarrassed to show it so I am thrilled we are like minded about these cupboard issues!

Anna @ the shady pine said...

Well done!! I did the same task recently and know how amazing it feels to get this chore accomplished!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for sharing this useful info on this forum.