Pantry Organization & Spring Cleaning with OXO #Sponsored

Last month I decided to tackle a huge organizational project—my home office. This month I'm at it again, but it's our kitchen and pantry I'm hoping to get back in order.

It's been a while since I've given any thought to organizing my pantry. Way back in 2014 (as you can see from the photo below) it was a disorganized mess. Very little had changed over the past few years until I discovered that my laziness had finally caught up with me. I pulled out a bag of flour to bake my son a cake and found it full of weevils. They're those annoying little bugs that you find when you've left your flour sit too long.

Whoops!

I guess that means I should bake more cakes... or remember to put bay leaves in the bags... or maybe clean my pantry a bit more frequently?

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Cleaning & Organizing with OXO blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of pop containers and cleaning tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Cleaning & Organizing with OXO blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of pop containers and cleaning tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

A not-so-quick cleanup got rid of them and fortunately they hadn't spread beyond my flour bin, but in the process I found a swarm of silverfish that had been making themselves right at home eating the glue that holds together my canning jar boxes.  I made it a priority to pull everything out, get rid any paper boxes, and put my bulk dry goods away properly. 

After that I ran out of steam...

By the time Spring rolled around you couldn't even tell I'd organized anything. I had tons bags hanging everywhere and no idea what was in them. When OXO reached out to me a few weeks ago about testing out their POP containers (and a few other goodies) I thought I'd give my pantry the proper cleaning it needed—starting with the bags of snacks and other one-off items I can never find a place for. Those are the things that tend to end up stuffed in grocery bags and hung from hooks, never to be heard from again.

Pantry Before

What I really like about the POP containers is the variety of options. Whether your shelves are large like mine or on the smaller side, you'll likely find one to suit your needs since they come in several different formats (square, rectangular, and round.) Since they can be stacked several high they'll accommodate a variety of shelf heights which is especially handy if you don't have adjustable height shelves in your pantry or kitchen cabinets. With the variety of shapes and sizes you'll be able to store your leftover bits and bobs just as easily as a 5lb package of flour.

Out of all the containers I've actually found the smaller sizes the most useful for reducing the clutter in my pantry. My half-eaten packages of nuts, chocolate, and granola fit in the 0.3 and 0.9qt containers perfectly, so I no longer have a bunch of open packages cluttering up my shelves. You can see from the photos how much of a difference moving my open packages of food to storage containers did to keep things more organized.

Where to Purchase

10-Piece POP Container Set: Find it on Amazon or purchase it directly from OXO

In addition to the POP containers I did add a few other items during my pantry reorganization to help make things more manageable. The first was a beverage organizer that holds 24 cans of soda. I decided this was necessary after I dropped a half-open case of soda during my pantry clean-out and had it explode all over everything.

Talk about a mess! 

I never want to clean that up again, so with the new organizer I know that my precious stash of Dr Pepper (that I use for making Dr Pepper Pulled Pork) isn't wasted when I have butter fingers.

The second addition was a set of command hooks running up both walls. These hold packages of tuna, spices, pre-made sauces, and other odd-sized items that have a hole punched in the top. This way they're easily accessible and I can quickly see what I need to restock without having to dig through the pantry.

IMG_7350.JPG

Now no organizational post would be complete without a little Spring cleaning thrown in for good measure. Fortunately OXO also sent me their new Microfiber Under Appliance Duster to help me get started. Let me just say that I've never had a kitchen tool terrify me as much as this one! It occurred to me recently that the last time I cleaned under my stove was when it was installed eight years ago. I'm pretty sure it's a disgusting wasteland under there, so I chickened out and have been using it to clean under our furniture instead.

The duster's long handle makes it perfect for fishing out all the toys and snacks that find their way under our couch. It's raised off the floor, so all sorts of things get lost under it. After the first pass I came away with a large collection of lost legos, balls, bits of play-doh, snacks, a few random socks, and a whole lot of salt, dirt, and cat hair. It's only been a month since I pulled the couch out to clean, so I can only imagine what I'll find when I work up the courage to clean under the stove. It's accumulated eight years of dirt and grime, so can you blame me for procrastinating?

On the plus side, the duster comes apart easily and cleans up with a quick wash in cold water, so once I'm brave enough to tackle the kitchen at least I won't have a lot of extra clean-up to do.

Where to Purchase

Microfiber Under Appliance Duster: Find it on Amazon or purchase it directly from OXO

IMG_7351.JPG

Last but not least is the OXO's Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set. It's a handy set of nylon brushes and scrapers that helps you reach the hard to clean spaces in your kitchen. It's especially great and cleaning off all the burned-on crud that builds up around the burners on your stove, but I've also found it useful for cleaning around the sink and backsplash, or scraping off stubborn stuck-on food from stainless steel pots and pans. 

It has a lot of uses, so it's one tool that would be a valuable addition to any kitchen.

Where to Purchase

Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set: Find it on Amazon or purchase it directly from OXO

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Spring Cleaning & Organizing with OXO blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of pop containers and cleaning tools for evaluation, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Behind the Scenes at Not Starving Yet with the Anker SoundCore Mini #Sponsored

I think I've mentioned this before, but I do about 75% of my writing away from home. The rest is accomplished at my kitchen table, or it was until I decided that I really needed a more comfortable place to work. The trouble is that our house isn't large by anyone's standards, so carving out even a small space meant I had to really consider what was necessary for me to work efficiently.

I learned a lot during last years downsizing of my mobile office—I don't use half of what I had been carrying with me and the same was true of my home workspace. I really only need a small portion of what I keep on hand, so step one was a massive purge of old props, papers, and other whatnots. That was a painful process, let me tell you, because I hoard bits and bobs like nobody's business. I eventually got through everything, then set about designing my new workspace.

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes.   As always, all opinions are my own.

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

The most difficult part of the whole process was finding furniture that would fit in the small corner I carved out of out guest room. There isn't enough room for a desk, but EKBY Hemnes Shelf from IKEA is just wide enough for my laptop so it makes an excellent makeshift desk, plus it happens to match the bookcases I bought. Coupled with a super comfortable Slipper Chair from Target, it makes a nice little writing nook (I absolutely love these chairs, we have several and they're the perfect size for a vertically challenged person such as myself. Plus they've got some great fabric choices.)

Once I had the basics decided on it was time to find a way to organize everything—I have an obscene amount of props that are stacked in random places throughout our house. A handful of Wire Storage Bins, a dozen or so 10qt and 25qt Sterilite Storage Bins, and some Hanging File Desk Organizers (for keeping my poster tubes full of backdrops in check) helped keep most of my props out of sight and cut down on the clutter in the kitchen. 

Then it was time for the fun stuff; those little touches that give a workspace personality. The first thing to go on the wall was my Alfred Hitchcock poster from Apple's Think Different campaign. It has been in every office I've had since the late 90s because I find the message from the campaign inspirational.

After that I added a few odds and ends to my bookshelf: some Dip Bowls from Target to hold miscellaneous office supplies, a set of A - Z bookends that I found on etsy, some coffee mugs to store my favorite pens. I called it a day with decorating after that. My office will never be minimalist, but I am attempting to keep the random bits and bobs down to the bare necessities.
 

It really doesn't help that I like pretty, shiny things...

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Today's post was sponsored by Anker who has provided me with one of their nifty SoundCore mini for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Last but not least are the electronics: a macbook retina, a Drobo 5C (for photo and document backup), and the latest addition, the Anker SoundCore Mini. My standard workday includes a lot of singing along (very off-key and at the top of my lungs) to whatever music has caught my attention lately. Music is integral to both my writing and my cooking, so I've been looking for a pint-size speaker with good battery life that will act as a replacement for the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks that I've been using since college.

The compact size of the SoundCore Mini makes it perfect for a tiny workspace like mine. It's small enough that I can tuck it away in one of my decorative bowls to keep my desk unclutered or take it from room to room as I need to move throughout the day. I don't even need to track down my phone when I want to switch rooms—it can stay on the charging station in our back bedroom and still stream music in the kitchen without the speaker disconnecting.

The range on this speaker is impressive.

Now, as much as I love this speaker, it does have one huge downside—especially if you're looking to listen to the radio instead of streaming music from your phone. The volume control and FM tuner use the same button, so it's easy to accidentally switch radio stations when what you really meant to do was turn the volume up.

As long as it didn't affect the size of the speaker I'd love to see a separate button for the radio adjustment as well as a digital read-out so it's easier to figure out which station I have the device set to. I'd listen to the local radio stations a lot more if this feature was more intuitive, but considering how rarely I've listened to the radio in the last 10 years neither of these features are high up on my must-have list. If given the choice I'd pick a smaller form factor or longer battery life over more intuitive FM tuner—it just isn't a feature I'd use often at all, even with improvement.

Disclosure


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that a sample was provided to me free of charge by Anker, for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Snowmageddon, Egg Drop Soup, A Black Spoon and National Get Organized Month

It may surprise you, but all of these things are somehow related, although I'm sure they're only related in my life. I lead such an odd existence sometimes. I'll start my tale off with the fact that in addition to this being National Hot Tea Month it is also National Get Organized Month. I should really do that, get organized, I mean. I've been meaning to, it's on my top 10 list of things I should do, like eat more vegetables and take a multi-vitamin.  

I've given it a lot of thought, but I'm a huge procrastinator, so it will likely never happen.

If you ask anyone they will likely tell you that I'm horrible about staying organized. My kitchen is a mish-mash of things thrown here an there, leaving little counter space to work with. We won't even talk about my dining room... My husband is a little sensitive to the fact that I bought a table to seat 8 people and we're lucky to cram the three of us at it. The other 5 seats are taken up with props for food photography and tea.

An obscene amount of tea, but then again I consider tea as necessary to my existence as air.

Did you know that in amongst all of my piles of food props I don't own a black spoon? Probably not, I didn't know this until last night. I know this may seem odd, it certainly did to my husband last night, when at 11pm as he was heading off to bed, I was calmly explaining to him why he was not having egg drop soup for dinner the next day.

It was because I didn't have a black spoon. 

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm sure you've got the same confused look on your face that my husband had last night. Let me give you a little insight into how I work, it might make a little more sense. The night before I'm ready to put the finishing touches on a recipe, I set up a good portion of the photography layout on my kitchen table. When I wake up, after my toddler is done with our pretend school day and has gone off to have free play time, I cook whatever it is I have planned for that day. In this case it was egg drop soup, since in addition to being National Hot Tea Month and National Get Organized Month, it is also National Hot Soup Month.

January happens to be a busy month. 

Anyway, I was searching through piles of dishes looking for a white bowl to go with my white spoon. Apparently I don't have one, but I do have a beautiful Asian-style black bowl I decided to use. Problem solved, or so I thought. My white spoon clashes with the layout for the black bowl. It just won't do. 

I need a black spoon.

After a bit of searching online, I finally found one black Asian-style soup spoon. It will likely be the most expensive spoon I have ever purchased since most of my props come from Goodwill, but Amazon will have it to me by Thursday. Yes, I know my food posts are on Wednesday, I had something else planned for this week.

It will not be egg drop soup, that was actually my post for Chinese New Year later in the month.

I had intended on finally posting my egg nog French toast recipe, but I have a rather shocking admission to make. I've run out of food. That's pretty shocking for a food blogger and I imagine you're all sitting there with your mouths hanging open at this point. Probably not, I have an over active imagination, just ignore me.

I'm not out of everything, mind you, my pantry is stuffed full as it always is. See, here is the evidence that I did not run out of everything. My son, in fact, managed to find everything in the pantry. This photograph was serendipity, don't you love when that happens?

I may not be out of everything, but I'm out of some very key ingredients that I need to make, well, everything.

You see the problem started when Snowmageddon hit this week, at least that is how my mother is referring to it. We haven't actually had snow in days, but our temperatures have been hovering around -15 all week, apparently all the snow is down in St. Louis where she lives. I thought I had done a good job of stocking up, I picked up 2 gallons of milk and various other soup making necessities, but I forgot one important thing. You can't make egg drop soup or French toast without eggs. 

I'm completely out of eggs. How did that happen? Last month I was positively swimming in them. I had 6 dozen in the fridge, taking up very valuable space that I needed for Christmas side dishes, defrosting my ham, and other yummy things.

So back to National Get Organized Month...

It is officially on my to-do list, running out of eggs is not acceptable. 

There will be no food post tomorrow, but I hope you've enjoyed the brief look into my rather odd life. Hopefully by Friday Snowmageddon will be over and I can pop out to the store, pick up a few dozen eggs, and get back to putting the finishing touches on my egg drop soup and egg nog French toast recipes.