Making the pantry a little more user friendly

Making the pantry a little more user friendly

I’m not sure about you, but one of the busiest spots in the house is the kitchen pantry. Whether it’s me who needs to access items while cooking dinner, or the kids wanting their snacks eight times a day, this spot is a high traffic area. After coming home from the beach with leftover snacks and condiments that needed to be incorporated into the madness of an already full cabinet, I felt the need to completely purge and reestablish a new place for everything.

I started by pulling everything out and looking at dates. All expired items went into the trash. Food that was soon-to-be expired went on the dining room table because my plan is to get creative and use all of them in upcoming dinners. Finally, the items that were going back into the cabinet were left on the island to sort and organize.

As I was looking at all of the food, jars and boxes that needed a spot in the drawers, I made notes on how to best organize them to be most efficient for every day use. I wanted to place things in bins to separate food staples and in containers to maximize freshness. To do this, I made a list of what I thought I needed in terms of plastic storage vessels, measured my shelves vertically for maximum height, and headed off to Home Goods to see what I could find.

My trip was definitley succesful. Not only did I run into a friend and help her choose new pillows and a lamp for her updated living room (BONUS!), I came home with a plethora of items to use for my little project. My thought is that I could always take back what I didn’t use.

After some time and thoughtfulness, the end game came together. Can goods and nut butters on the low top shelf, Whole30 staples and other necessity items in the middle, and kid snacks on the bottom tier. Now the kiddos have a specific spot to grab their snacks without the need to stand in front of an open cabinet for several minutes at a clip.

In addition, I placed our cashews, pecans and chocolate chips in handy, stay-fresh containers for easy access. J and I are constantly reaching for handfuls of raw cashews and now they are readily available.

Now that the pantry is picture perfect, the real challenge is going to be keeping it that way! ūüėČ

gift wrap organization

gift wrap organization

It’s been a little hectic around here lately. ¬†With last weekend being my daughter’s performance weekend, I didn’t have a lot of time to write and photograph for blog posts. ¬†Saturdays and Sundays are the days when I get most of my blogging work done, and it just wasn’t happening. ¬†I also want to thank you to everyone who reached out with the kind comments and notes in support of her. ¬†It was an amazing few days!

I did squeeze in a little time to finally organize my gift wrap and ribbon. ¬†Although I am saving my garage for a summer project, I really wanted to get my wrapping paper in check because it’s too pretty not to display. ¬†You see, I have a little problem with paper and ribbon. ¬†I love them. ¬†And I know I get this addiction from my mother, who has a self created “store” in her basement. ¬†She has boxes of every shape and size, wrapping paper and bags for every season or occasion, gift tags and cards galore, and enough ribbon and bows to wrap for over 1,000 people. ¬†If I’m ever in a pinch, I know I can call her and she will have the exact paper I am looking for. ¬†Even better, she sometimes offers to wrap it!


So that being said, I have my own little stash of paper and ribbon that I wanted to organize. ¬†To do this, I used The Container Store’s White Elfa Utility Gift Wrap Door and Wall Rack. ¬†Right now, it is on sale and they are offering free shipping as well.

This is the photo from their website.  I love how everything looks organized and cohesive, yet visually appealing.


Assembling and installing was very easy. ¬†No extra hardware was required besides using the Allen wrench needed to tighten one screw. ¬†That’s it! ¬†I have to say, the construction of the metal and all of the hooks and baskets included in the kit were well-made and sturdy. ¬†Everything that you see pictured in my photos was included. ¬†I ended up not using a few translucent boxes because I didn’t need them, but it’s nice to know I have them as extras.



I am a huge fan of colored paper in all patterns, especially if they can be mixed and matched.  Most of my wrapping paper comes from Home Goods.  Their rolls are under $3 each and the paper is thick and durable for wrapping.  There is nothing worse than cutting cheap paper and having it tear half way up the cut.  Every time I am there, it is hard to resist the many rolls they have.  I also made a place to store my rubber cement and mounting squares since I grab them all of the time.



My go-to gift bags are colors of brown, white or gold.  They are versatile and can be used for anyone Рmale or female, and for any occasion.  The bags can be switched out with different ribbons and tags, and I always have them on hand.



Bottom line, I love my new wrapping paper station. ¬†It’s also safe to say, I don’t even mind having the closet door open for all to see as they arrive in my home!


planning goals

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to planning and calendars I am a pen and paper kind of girl. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, the online apps are great, but for me, I like to see things written out. ¬†I currently keep a monthly calendar in my bag and carry it everywhere. ¬†It’s my Bible and I would be lost without it. ¬†On occasion, people make fun of me for not evolving with the calendar technology, but I don’t care.

photo copy

Besides the calendar in my bag, I bought a new planner for this year. ¬†It’s just a planner from TJ Maxx that was under ten dollars, nothing fancy, but I think it will do the trick. ¬†I wanted one that would work twofold ~ blog content/planning and fitness tracking.

For me, there’s something so exciting about choosing a new planner! ¬†When searching, I always browse through a bunch in order to find the one that feels just right. ¬†I loved this one because it has tabs that divide the months. ¬†Then within each month’s section, it has both the month at a glance and the daily calendar divided by weeks. There is a page that is dedicated solely for that month’s goals and dates. ¬†There’s also weekly to do and planning pages.



I can’t wait to start filling in my blog content calendar and goals! The notes section is particularly useful for jotting down random thoughts or questions, as well as the things to remember section.

Old school runners ~ For years, I kept a running journal which logged my miles, types of workouts, how I felt, times, distances and races. ¬†Maybe some of you would remember the Runner’s World log? ¬†It was perfection for me. ¬†At the end of each year, I would browse through all the pages to see what I accomplished for those past 365 days. ¬†I would also keep a running tally of mileage for the year. ¬†Have you heard about runner’s high? ¬†That was a runner’s high in itself! ¬†Like I said, today they have apps for things like runner tracking, but back then, I loved it.

Takeaway Tip ~ If you can take away one tip from this post, it’s this: Use the weekly section of a planner for your workout diary. ¬†As you can see, I started logging my workout progress for the first week of January just like I did when I was younger. ¬†It included what workouts I did, times of day and how I felt. ¬† This way, I have everything all in one and it’s nice and simple. ¬†Note ~ You can also jot down info about the weather if you workout outside, calories burned/heart rate taken from your watch, as well as daily caloric intake.


In addition to becoming a healthier me, this is just another way that I am keeping track of my goals for the year.  How are you holding yourself accountable and tracking your progress?