time to clean the pantry

I couldn't even click the "BEFORE" photo, the pantry was such a disaster.  Super, super lazy me - just don't get around doing something until I just can't take it anymore.  But finally I decided it was high time I cleaned the pantry.  Time to refill partly empty bottles, throw away unnecessary packets, make a list of items needed to be restocked, sort out everything, and use the space efficiently.

Zoomed in, the pantry looks big.  But it's actually a weird triangle-shaped small closet.  Such bad layout, shame.  But at least with the left and right sections, I divide the food items accordingly.  All lentils on the right hand side, all spices and flours on the left, etc.

I am picky, and couldn't find a set of reasonably-priced transparent canisters the kind of size, shape, height, weight, and width I wanted.  So I used these Simply Juice bottles to store the lentils.  Though plastic, they're quite durable, hold good enough quantity, lightweight, see-through, slender, tall and don't take up too much space.  At least temporarily, I could do with them.

The same goes for these oil bottles.  A $3 bottle of juice and a $3 bottle oil that, instead of throwing away when empty, you can reuse to store a lot of your lentils and other pantry items consistently.  Now multiply it and see how much you can save?
{Update: 24 Sept 2012 - not that I recommend or encourage using plastic. several readers commented below on health concerns when storing food in plastic containers. please read their comments and make your wise decisions.}

I used to drink a lot of Ovaltine earlier.  Each glass bottle added a colorful touch to my pantry.  I love red.

Because we lived in a small apartment temporarily and knew we had to move soon, I didn't want to purchase too many bottles and canisters that I might have to throw away when moving out.  So I used up every possible bottle to store every possible item.  More interesting ideas to reuse, recycle, and repurpose stuff at home.  My younger sister studying in UK and living alone thought the idea of reusing the water bottles for her to store the small amounts of lentils and spices was good.  Singles, students, and those who don't want to spend too much on containers from stores can definitely make use of these things.

By now you may have noticed name, quantity, and price on some containers.  I cut out that part from the packet of the grocery item and tape it to the bottle.  I have a bad memory in remembering how much something costs.  When I see something needs to be restocked, if I find it on sale or at a similar price, I buy it.  Otherwise, you see the raw peanuts bottle?  The same 4 lbs with $4 difference.  This might not be a big deal to someone else.  But since I'm not earning, I try saving up by shopping smart, and even using coupons, deals, and price matching.

Organized.  Done.  Kept the bottom floor half empty for the times I don't know what to keep where and might just need some space to keep it there.  Don't know if that made sense, but the concept is same as "buffer time" in project management... this is my "buffer space" :D

This is not one of the best organized pantry, but I'm hoping you'll take something good from this post as you go.  Or at least get encouraged to clean up and organize yours?  Or if you are a blogger - write a post on how you organize your kitchen and pantry and link back so I can check out and learn too?  Or if you are not a blogger - share some of your tips here?  Or at least just say hi to tell me you were here?  =D

My next mission: time to clean the refrigerator ...