Dream Shelf

The kitchen cabinet of my dreams consists entirely of whole, nourishing foods housed in those nice, neat clear glass (or BPH free plastic) containers. I'm a smoothie-bowl-for-breakfast and a grain-and-greens-bowl-for-lunch kinda gal so I need to store lots and lots of dry ingredients. Food packaging has become an unwelcome stressor for me both on the store shelf and in my kitchen cabinet. How does one remember that they have two types of brown rice to choose from when they can't even discern the rice package from the quinoa package from the farro package at first glance? I got to a point where I had to pull almost everything out of my cabinet to figure out which bag or box contained what. Being over stimulated visually, especially because of branding and marketing on packaging isn't something we need to keep dealing with once we get a product into our home. Going labelless in the kitchen makes decisions about what to eat easier and it creates a little more calm space in our lives. Your morning smoothie routine should start you off in a positive, clear, calm direction and facing a messy cabinet first thing does not set you up for success.

BEFORE - Piles and piles of disorganized bags and jars and packaging

BEFORE - Piles and piles of disorganized bags and jars and packaging

So, how did I fix it? I shopped online and IRL at the Container Store for the fancy containers for months and months without being able to make a single decision, let alone a purchase. There are so many options out there and I needed something quick, easy and inexpensive. I was feeling pretty bummed about not having sorted this out yet so I reached for comfort in a pint of ice cream and a jar of homemade blackberry sauce. As soon as I opened the jar it hit me. Ball Mason Jars.  They had been a staple in my house growing up for everything from button storage to food preservation. Why did it take me so long to remember how valuable these were for storage? Who cares. I practically ran to my neighborhood hardware store to check out their selection. Of course, I ran out of my apartment before measuring the height of my shelf or counting the number of products I needed to store, so I picked out a few different sizes in the wide mouth jars to take home and try out. The 18oz and 24oz sizes ended up working best for my needs. 

AFTER - All that mess fit perfectly into 25 wide-mouth mason jars

AFTER - All that mess fit perfectly into 25 wide-mouth mason jars

I was able to solve my kitchen cabinet crisis in about 45 minutes (including a second trip to the hardware store) and for less than $30. Yes, 20 mason jars for less than $30. I feel like I hit the jackpot on this one. One concern with going labelless, especially in the kitchen, is losing cooking instructions and expiration dates, but you can label the jar or the lid with a p-touch (the lid is less conspicuous) to remember any important information about a product if necessary. I'm storing long and short grain brown rice, red and tri-color quinoa, amaranth, farro, pistachios, sliced almonds, mixed nuts, raw almonds, acai powder, hemp protein powder, popcorn kernels, shredded coconut, goji berries, chia seeds, flax seeds, moringa powder, marcona almonds, and coca nibs. 

The aftermath - check out all of the packaging I was able to recycle!

The aftermath - check out all of the packaging I was able to recycle!

I know you're wondering what I was able to make happen with the rest of the cabinet, especially the spices so check back for some more tips on kitchen cabinet organization!