Episode 096: How to Pick Pantry Containers

Episode Transcription

Today's episode is a juicy follow-up to our chat back about decanting.

We're diving deeper into the nitty-gritty of actually doing it – figuring out what containers to use, making the most of your pantry space, and achieving that perfect balance of pretty and practical.

Grab the Decanting Container Cheat Sheet here.

For more info, listen to The Decluttered Mom’s Podcast episode 90: What is decanting and why would you do that and episode 96: How to Pick Pantry Containers .

Find Diana’s recommendations for ….

  • Micro vs. Macro Organizing: Forget the Instagram-worthy pantries – we're talking about what works for your life and your pantry size.
  • The Functionality Factor: Let's be real, a beautiful pantry is nice, but a functional one is where it's at! We'll chat about choosing containers that fit your family's needs and budget.
  • Freebie Alert: I've put together a handy PDF with links to my favorite containers for all your decanting needs.

What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?

  • 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
  • How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
  • Guest interviews
  • Deep dives on specific topics 

Find Diana Rene on social media:
Instagram: @the.decluttered.mom
Facebook: @the.decluttered.com
Pinterest: @DianaRene

Are you ready for a peaceful and clutter-free home? Watch my FREE training video “Kiss Clutter Goodbye” to learn how it’s possible! And find all of my resources here.

This transcription was automatically generated. Please excuse grammar errors. 

Diana Rene: 0:06
You're listening to The Decluttered Mom podcast, a podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Rene, and in 2017, I had my second daughter and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home okay, not literally, but I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next 10 months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show. Welcome to another episode of The Decluttered Mom podcast.

Diana Rene: 0:57
Today is actually going to be a follow-up episode to one that released on April 16th. It was episode number 90, and it was called what is Dec and why would you do that? And I got a lot of questions after that episode, basically from people saying, okay, I want to decant now and I need help figuring out, like, the actual logistics of doing that and figuring out what type of containers to use and all of that. So if you have not listened to that episode, please go listen to that episode first. We will link it in the show notes and, again, it's episode number 90. Please go listen to that because that's going to definitely give you the framework for what we're even talking about, and you're going to need to understand that before today will make sense for you. That before today will make sense for you. So, as we talked about in that episode, decanting is not something that you necessarily have to do to organize in your home or in your kitchen, but it can be helpful in several situations. And again, go listen to that first episode because it's going to talk about what those specific situations or reasons why you might want to decant. So today we're going to talk a little bit more about the actual process of figuring out what type of containers to use and how to make best use of the pantry space when we are talking about decanting.

Diana Rene: 2:19
So the pantry is one of those spaces in your home that can easily become out of control when it comes to organizing, and what I mean by that is it can be simple to drop literally thousands of dollars on organizing containers when it comes to the pantry, if we are trying to emulate some things that we see on social media, because most pantries that are all over Instagram or Pinterest or TikTok that have organizing type accounts are going to be like when I look at some of those and I start just understanding and knowing how much different types of containers cost. When I look at those and I start adding it up, it's hundreds, sometimes, honestly, literally thousands of dollars in just containers for these pantries, especially if you have a large pantry. So I want you to know when you are starting to decant and I mentioned this in the last episode is that you want to start small. You want to make sure that you're only doing one, maybe two or three items at a time, because otherwise it can get really expensive really fast and you can also waste a ton of money on containers that just don't really work for you and your family. It's going to take some trial and error to figure out what types of containers you really like and you don't want to invest in containers that three weeks down the road you're like I hate every time I have to open this container because it's so hard to open. My kids can't open it and the whole point of having this was so that they could help pour their own cereal in the morning, and now they can't even do that and I have to help them, and so you have to remember that not every container is created equal and not every container is going to work for your specific family and your specific setup, and so we don't want to waste money trying to just make our pantry look beautiful and have it look organized. We want it to be organized and to be functional, functional, functional, functional that is like my main word when it comes to organization, because, yes, I love a beautiful pantry. I think it can look so pretty and make you happy and it feels calming.

Diana Rene: 4:36
But if it's not functional for your family, or if it costs thousands of dollars and that is not in your budget, then that's just, it's not going to work, it's not going to be realistic for you and you're going to find yourself just feeling frustrated. So what is the ideal purpose of the pantry? Are you really into aesthetics? Are you someone who really wants it to be pretty, or are you just really wanting it to be functional, so that you stop wasting food and that your kids can access it and you don't get bugs in your pantry? Think about the reasons that you really, really want, because if you're someone who doesn't like yeah, it'd be nice if it looked pretty, but that's not my main focus then you're going to have a lot more options when it comes to the actual containers and how you actually organize the pantry.

Diana Rene: 5:27
Another note on that is, unless you have like a huge hallway walk-in pantry, you likely are not going to be able to attain the level of micro-organization that you do see on social media and I know I keep mentioning that, but it's just interfaces, right and what I mean by micro-organization is where you have everything organized down to very specific things. So I will see pantries on TikTok where they're doing an ASMR on stock my pantry with me, where it's just them stocking the pantry and all you can hear is the actual snacks going into the basket. If you've never seen one of those, you probably think I'm crazy. But if you are on organization TikTok at all, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. But a lot of times I will see where they have like one bin for granola bars and one bin for individually packaged various fruit snacks and one bin for various individually packaged crackers and like that's what I mean when I say micro-organization. So they are taking all of the kids' snacks and they are implementing it down to a micro level where this one container that probably costs $32 is going to house our granola bars.

Diana Rene: 6:56
Again, is that bad? No, but unless if you have a smaller pantry, that's never going to work. You're never going to have enough space to be able to get down to that level of micro-organization. Also, if you are not like a naturally organized person, you are going to struggle with maintaining that. You are going to have a very difficult time sustaining such a micro-organized pantry, because every time you go shopping, you're not going to want to put everything in those little specific areas. You're also never going to be able to have help from anyone else in the family because they may not know where everything goes, and so that's just something to keep in mind as you're looking at containers is what level of micro versus macro organizing? Do we want eight different containers for all of the various types of kids snacks, or are we good with one or two containers for all kids snacks and they can take an extra 10 seconds to kind of like look through the kids' snack bin to see what's in there? So hopefully that makes sense as we go into the rest of this.

Diana Rene: 8:06
So, as you're considering what type of containers to use, here are some questions that you can ask yourself. Number one is what type of space am I working with? Is it that large walk-in room with cabinets and shelving galore? That might be your home and that might be your situation, and that's totally okay. That also side note. That also does not mean that you have to do micro-organization if you have a large space. It just means that that's typically how we see it on social media. But do you have a very large space that you're working with, or is it a small closet? Or is it maybe non-existent and you just have to figure out which kitchen cabinet is going to house your food? For you, all of those options are a-okay and we can work with them. We just have to know what types of containers are going to work best when we are working with those. So if you have a large space that you're working with, you do have the ability to go much more micro when it comes to organizing, if you want to remember. That doesn't mean you have to. If you have a smaller space, you definitely need to go more macro again, where we're having the one or two larger bins for all kids snacks instead of micro-organizing them each by category or brand slash type.

Diana Rene: 9:21
Another question is it important to me for the space to be super aesthetic and pretty, or is it important to me for it to be really functional? If aesthetics are very important for you, then you're likely going to need to invest more in high quality containers that are matching or they coordinate, because visually, that's what you need for an aesthetic space. If your focus is more on function, you're going to be able to mix and match a little bit more. You're also going to be able to bargain shop a little bit more, because it's not really important to you if every bin is frosted clear acrylic, right, it doesn't matter to you. And so you're able to get a couple bins from Family Dollar. You're also able to get some from Target. You're also able to get some from Amazon, and it doesn't necessarily matter to you if they look really pretty together, but they work for your pantry and for your space.

Diana Rene: 10:18
Another question am I someone who forgets something if it's there behind closed doors or if it's in closed bins? Or do I prefer the aesthetic of hidden items and I can easily remind myself to check what's there before making the grocery list? So if you are the former, who ends up with like 20 cans of tomato paste because you keep forgetting that you have it when you order your groceries, then you are going to probably need either clear or like low, cut open top bins or drawers in your pantry so that you can easily see what you have right, because if it's out of sight, it's out of mind for you and then that's how you end up building up too much food, taking up all the space and wasting food. You also are going to have to make sure that you have a routine of cleaning out your pantry, either weekly or just not overbuying and overstocking too much, because that's just going to make it harder to manage. And if you really are someone who just is like it's very important to you to have backstock and to have extras of things for whatever reason, then maybe you can consider storing that somewhere else. So another closet or in the basement or the garage or something like that. We have a backstock area and a closet on our first floor of our home. It's not huge, it doesn't take up the whole closet, but it is like if I go to Costco and I see that they have the protein drink that I love and it always goes out of stock, then I might buy two or three packages and put the extra two packages in that backstock area and so I have it, but it's not taking up that valuable real estate in my kitchen where I'm using it day to day. Just a quick side note for backstock items like that, if you do store it anywhere else like if you're storing it in the basement or the garage make sure it's either in cans or in a bag or like containers that cannot be get like uh, basically, we don't want to attract rodents or bugs, so you want to make sure that you're not just like putting random food in your basement or in your garage Um, you want to have it in a bin or in cans or something like that.

Diana Rene: 12:32
Now, when I said before that it's important, if you're that type of person who's like out of sight, out of mind, to do like to weekly clean out your pantry, I don't mean take every single thing out and do like a full, deep clean. I just mean, as you are either going through your pantry to decide you know what you want to order if it's your meal planning or when your groceries are there and you're putting them away, make sure you're doing a quick run through weekly of like what food is in there, is anything expired that needs to go? Just do a quick run through, because if you do that weekly, it helps to not build up and to then have like a packed pantry that you do have to take everything out and do a deep clean. Now if you are someone who is really just really good, it comes naturally to you to check everything that you have in stock before you head to the store or before you are someone who is extra stressed out by that visual clutter, then that's ideal for you, but again, only if you are really good about checking the stock that you do have. So, using these standards and depending on your answers to these standards or these questions, you can start to take a look through different containers and start to see what types of containers are going to really work for you. You're going to also want to measure the space. So if it's a pantry, if it's a cabinet, measure the width, the length and the depth, because you want to make sure that, whatever you buy, there's nothing more frustrating than buying something at the store and coming home and it doesn't fit. It doesn't fit the space. If things don't fit number one they're just not going to fit. Number two if they like technically fit that, you can get it in there, but it doesn't, like, make good use of the space. You're kind of defeating the point, because now you're actually have less space to deal with in your pantry than you were hoping to before. So now that we have your answers to these questions, you're going to have a little bit more guidance in what types of containers you're going to be looking for, right? So are you going to be looking for the very pretty clear acrylic, glass type containers for your decanting, or are you going to instead look for containers that maybe are going to hide some things?

Diana Rene: 15:14
Now we're kind of talking about two things here. We're talking about decanting containers, but we're also talking about just organizing containers, right? So, like when you come home and you have all these snacks that you need to put away, or all of the things for your meals, we're talking about those containers too. So the actual containers to organize all of the items in your pantry, and just decanting. So think through the answers to those questions and then we have a freebie for you. It's a PDF, you can grab it in the show notes, and it has all sorts of different options of containers that I really like if I've used them personally, or they are ones that fit these different categories that I have, like if I've used them personally, or they are ones that fit these different categories that I have really researched and found ones that have really great reviews, even if I haven't used that specific container in my home, because as much as I love to organize, I don't have every container ever made in all of the world, because there are a lot of containers out there. So that PDF is available to you at no cost and it has links to all of the various containers that you can start to look at and consider and think about how it's going to work in your home.

Diana Rene: 16:33
One last thing I didn't mention before is like the material of the container. A lot of people love to use glass, but if you have young children and tile in your kitchen like that may be something you want to reconsider when you're looking at what type of container to use for your decanting. So obviously people use glass for different reasons, but if it's just for it to look pretty, then maybe you want to reconsider that if you have those things in your home young children and hard floors, right. So just think through how it's going to function in your home, how you want it to look in your home and then also taking into account the measurements and also the type of food that you're going to be storing in the pantry. If you are someone who buys everything in bulk, that's something to consider. If you're someone who goes to Sprouts and you get a lot of your food in the bulk bins up front and so you come home with bags of food that you have to put into containers, that's something to consider. If you're someone who buys all like individually wrapped snacks, that's something to consider. So, as you're going through this list in the freebie, think about that. Think about how those are going to work in your home, and then you can start to kind of navigate and Tetris this together in your own pantry. So check out that freebie. I hope this was helpful and we will see you on next week's episode.

Diana Rene: 18:11
Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories. And if you're this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories. And if you're on Instagram. Be sure to follow me at thedeclutteredmom and send me a DM to say hi. I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.