Ok, I have a confession to make. My pantry is a disaster. Definitely not Pinterest worthy, Marie Kondo would skip in a circle and clap gleefully at the sight of it. Despite my efforts, after a few weeks it inevitably resembles a terrifying game of snack food Jenga, with precarious boxes of crackers and other random items threatening to avalanche down a steep incline of canned tomatoes. Let me assure you, those carton edges are sharp! So when reaching for spaghetti puts you at risk, and preparing dinner results in carton sized cuts across your forehead , it is time to re-evaluate your strategy.
Marie Kondo (professional organizer and T.V. personality), is the master of managing chaos, and has many clever tips. One of her famous questions, directed at overwhelmed homeowners like myself, is to ponder which items we own, and manage “spark joy”. I can safely admit, my pantry only sparks stress. Trust me, cans of tuna are quite ominous, perched upon bags of flour. While the teenagers in my home shout with joy when discovering that one last hidden bag of potato chips, my relationship with our pantry is not that of a crusader discovering lost bounty. I decided to take some baby steps. These are things I found helpful, and perhaps you might too.
Part 1: It is time to let go of older pantry items. Remember those kelp noodles you bought in 2016 because you were cutting carbs? Hold the bag close to your heart. Remember how much they did not taste at all like fettucine? Does this item spark joy? Or disappointment? In my case, I would rather chew on a shoelace. Give away unwanted items if you can, or feed some to happy chickens if you own any. If your teenagers will eat kelp noodles, that’s also an option. Regardless, give your pantry a good cleaning and only keep what you love to eat.
Part 2: Once your pantry is clean, purchase or repurpose cute jars and containers, that will fit nicely into your own space. Thrift stores are great places to find inexpensive jars and unwanted Tupperware. Resist bringing home more than you need. Start small, to avoid having to repeat step one. Having your own containers to hold different food items saves space by removing unnecessary packaging. Even better, buying bulk means purchasing only what you need to fit into your pantry, which also saves you money! However, if you really can’t resist buying that 25kg bag of lentils, we are here for you. We can’t guarantee you will find a cute jar big enough though.
Part 3: Fill several jars with actual noodles. (locally made of course!)
Part 4: Use larger clear boxes, or baskets, to store similar items together. Gather up that pile of escaped fruit roll-ups, those half bags of cereal, and that one random jar of escargot (really, why?) and organize them into categories. For example, snacks with snacks, cereal with breakfast items, canned snails in a box marked with a giant question mark. Ultimately, the categories are up to you. This makes it much easier to find smaller items, and keeps your pantry looking adorable.
Part 5: Discover how many items you can purchase without packaging, to avoid dealing with unsightly and cumbersome boxes and bags that need to be recycled or tossed later. Having your own bulk food store helps, but there is no need to go to such extremes…
My pantry didn’t always bring me joy, but I am taking baby steps to change this and so can you. In fact, Pennyweight Market wants to help spark joy in your pantry this month! Bring your own containers and receive 10 percent off all bulk food and spices.