Thursday, June 9, 2011

Practical packaging

I want to ask your opinion about something. I want to know if you are a practical, do-what-works-best kind of homemaker or if you are a look-good-first-and-foremost kind of homemaker.

Here's why I'm asking. I've noticed lately that pantry, linen closet, and bookshelf makeovers in the blogosphere almost always involve taking products out of their containers and putting them into pretty jars and baskets and bins. It's almost as if there were an unwritten rule that an attractive pantry or storage cupboard cannot include original packaging.

And there's something else. When I read some blog posts, I feel as if I don't quite measure up because I don't have vintage locker baskets or antique crates or apothecary jars for my closet shelves. As if there were storage police who might show up and issue me a citation for my practical-not-pretty ways.

But you know what? I know this may sound rebellious, but I want to make a statement.

I like to store things in the original packaging.

a photo from my real-life organized pantry

Yes, I know--shocking, isn't it? But I really like food to stay in its packaging, which is complete with the nutrition facts and expiration dates right on the label. I like paper goods to stay in the protective packages, just like at the store. I even--gasp!--like to keep DVD's in their original packages. Then I put them on shelves, just like books at a library.

Now, I will admit that some packaging is large and cumbersome and should be tossed. But for me, most of it is useful. I even like the way things look in their colorful packages.

Now, I want to know. . . is it just me? What about you?

51 comments:

Amy@ Just Pleased as Punch said...

I recently did a pantry makeover that included the use of those pretty containers. My practical husband was the first to comment how impractical those containers were. I still have them in there, but trust me when I tell you the pantry doesn't look like that on a regular basis. The reality of it is definitely keeping things in their original containers!!!

Paula said...

My pantry looks almost exactly like yours! I definitely keep things in their original packages. There's no way that I'd come home from the store and empty the pasta, cereal, rice, etc. into separate containers. I do use vintage tins to corral things like cake decorating supplies and I use baskets for bread and snacks. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like your pantry is supposed to be pretty. I think neat and functional should be the goal!

Michelle said...

I have been stalking your blog for a little bit. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for more functional ideas for my pantry. Your blog post on yours came up. I think yours looks just fine. I am a more practical person. I don't empty things into pretty containers either. I prefer to have the expiration dates, etc too. My pantry is a point of contention.. it never stays nice! It is an ongoing battle with kids always digging in there! It wouldn't make sense for me to make it all pretty. You have an amazingly beautiful home!!! I wouldn't worry about the pantry.

Stacey said...

Laughing a little about this. I always admire the pantries with beautiful containers. The truth is that I would not keep that up over time. I know we'd end up putting the cereal right next to the spiffy container. What's the point in that? My pantry and cabinets are much like yours. They work perfectly well. :)

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Mine is all in original packaging and I don't make my shelves pretty. That is why the doors stay shut. I don't cook a lot anyway.

You are a very good guesser!

claudia b said...

I totally agree! Mine has some stuff corralled in (oh no!) plastic bins, but most of the stuff is in its original container. I do put the pasta in a see through container on my kitchen counter but I use it every day because my son is addicted to pasta and I'd rather have the nice container than pasta boxes all over, but my pantry? uh-uh, it's not pretty at all.

Mary said...

If I don't keep it in the original packaging, I forget I have it!

alanna rose said...

I'm with you 100%!
I have so much to do, I prefer to focus my decorative projects on areas that are actually enjoyed by my family. Not that there is anything wrong with a fancy pantry, it's just not a workable pantry for me.

Meghan said...

Im pretty much the same as you. The only thing I really take out of the packaging is sugar & flour. Everything else stays in the originals.
You go girl!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

My organized pantry looks much like yours. The pretty containers are just another thing to clean.

Lauren Michelle said...

I can understand if you already have other containers for whatever reason or if someone gave you some swanky containers as a gift and you're just looking to put them to good use. But, no, it's not practical to go out and buy them just for looks. Only people on HGTV do that, lol. Yes, it looks really pretty and neat, but how many people do you know would want to come home and remove everything that could just stay in its current packaging, unpack, and restore it in something else. Unless it's rice or something that comes in similar packaging that needs a container after use, then it's not necessary to use other containers. That's how I feel about it.

Blondie's Journal said...

With the exception of flour. sugar and salt, all of my things stay in the original packaging. I don't see the point in putting everything in containers into which I can't see. It looks good but is it practical? My time is better spent keeping the shelves neat...I'm a little Type A that way!

XO,
Janie

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I am a practical girl and love your organized pantry.

Fondly,
Glenda

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I'm so torn because like you mentioned...you see all of these awesome posts with beautiful, beautiful pantries. I can't help if some of those posts popped up simply because the blogger felt she had to be "on trend." I feel like a schlub because all of our cans and boxes are well, just cans and boxes. In all honesty, I haven't bothered with a pantry makeover yet b/c I had to organize it first...and I have so many (!!) other places in my house that need to be worked on. Places that people see. And as I type this, there are 42 million pounds of laundry on my couch. ;) Big hugs to you!

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top said...

I don't even HAVE a pantry so boo hoo for me. haha But I have everything jammed in my two food cupboards, all in original packaging. :)

Dawn said...

oh you BRAVE girl :)

years ago i tried to store stuff in tupperware- to keep it fresher. well... it might have stayed fressher, but i never found out because by the time i remembered i had it, it was far too old to eat! so yes, we store things in the original package, too :) i do have some dollar store bins that i organize in... but the stuff in the bins is in the pkg too :) xoxo

Becky@OrganizingMadeFun said...

I'm half and half. Half in packages, and half in containers! That's practical for me and I can easily keep it up. Oh, and I use cheap 99 cent store containers!!

Becky B.
www.organizingmadefun.com
Organizing Made Fun

Haven Conner said...

If my items are in cabinets where they don't show, I always leave them in their original packages. If they were say in glass fronted cabinets,I might fancy them up. Ha ha! I don't have any glass fronted cabinets. I say do what works for you. Love your blog, by the way.

Larissa said...

I know what you mean about keeping things in their original packaging! Normally we do this too, though when it comes to things like flour, pastas, cereals, parmesan cheese and other things like this, we do use tuperware to store them - otherwise we'd be inundated with ants, cockroaches and the like, ew!!
And, all my dvds and cds are in their original packaging in shelves/bookcases too! I much prefer seeing the covers rather than a random black folder holding a couple hundred discs.

Mandy said...

I'll ditto Larissa. We keep nearly everything in original packaging, and did so without incident for a long time. But one day out of the blue, ants laid siege to our home and somehow they always know exactly where your pantry is!

It's just me and my husband right now (no kids yet), so we don't buy cereal in boxes, but in bags. That was fine for us except we had the ants and at the same time one of those cereal bags got a hole in it, so we started storing them in cheap, clear plastic containers. We do the same for flour, white sugar and brown sugar, but most everything else goes in "as is." Thankfully the ants are gone and haven't returned, but we still store those few things in containers. Nothing like the impractical "pantry decor" out in blogland, though.

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I'm like you, Richella. I don't even have a pantry, I have a pantry cabinet and store the bulk or extra things on shelves in our garage! The only things I take out of their original packaging are flour, sugar and the corn flake crumbs I use for my gluten free recipes. I put those in labeled glass jars above my stove. The only decorative thing you will see on my shelves are those colored clips that keep bags closed!

Anonymous said...

I really like my glass containers, and since I don't buy very many packaged foods, it's not a hassle to keep things organized. I also don't have children rummaging through the pantry anymore, so this method works best for me. I think we're all free to do what works best and what pleases us in our own pantries. My hat is off to those who can make packaged food look pretty and organized! That, I never could get the hang of!

Nadir@StitchSense said...

I'm with you! Unless I'm buying in bulk & I need overflow of something like pasta to go in a different container, I'm a practical packager. I'm glad someone mentioned this! :-) Sometimes seeing all the pretty containers is tempting but then I remember its *just* a container & doesn't have to be my way of storing things or way of life.

Renee said...

Very true! Not to mention who has the time AFTER an exhausting grocery trip to restock pretty little impractical containers.
I like to rip the tops off cardboard packaging for easy access... so that's my not purty but very practical packaging solution. :)

Quilting Grannie said...

I also prefer to leave products in their original packaging. About the only time I don't leave them, is when I really tear up the plastic bag that the cereal is in and I know that it was draw dampness and be stale in no time. Then I have some big Tupperware containers that I put it in. But then it does not fit my cereal shelf!! My pantry looks like yours and I love it!!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

Honestly, who had TIME to transfer all of their stuff into new containers? There's no way that would happen at my house.

Now, can I just say that you have shamed me into cleaning my pantry. It's gotten just a little bit . . . unruly, if you know what I mean. Could you come over and organize it for me?

Rebekah said...

It depends. If the packaging is flimsy (like the plastic bags popcorn sometimes comes in ) I toss it and use a jar or something. Also, if the packaging is too big to fit on my pantry shelves -- which are quite small -- I transfer it to another container. And if it's something I store on my counter (dry goods) then it goes into a pretty jar. Otherwise, it's original packaging for me. Except for bar soaps. I always take bar soap out of its wrappings so it can dry out before we use it. It makes the soap harder so it lasts longer in the shower!

Actually, that's a lot of exceptions, isn't it? Maybe I am a "pretty over practical" kind of girl after all? No, I think not. I don't decant unless there's a good reason. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! :)

Rebekah said...

I am with YOU! Some things that I buy from Costco I'm forced to put in smaller containers, but if possible I also keep everything in its original packaging -- I can't afford the fancy containers, and I don't have room to store said containers in between uses! I also agree w/you that it is very convenient to have nutrition facts, cooking instructions, expiration dates, etc. always there. Thx for the post! It made me feel better about my pantry =)

Anonymous said...

First of all I don't sell Tupperware, BUT...
I went to some classes and when I learned what happens when food is kept in original packaging (except for canned goods), it made me sick!
Roaches, silverfish and pantry moths LOVE glue on packaging. You can brings those bugs home even from the grocery store. I don't care what containers are used for looking pretty, but knowing that now makes me empty my containers either into glass jars from peanut butter or something or tupperware like containers. It really does make a difference. I cut or copy the info from the pkg and put it on the outside of the container.
It also keeps your food fresher. Cereal especially gets stale quickly kept in the box. My kids get tired of a cereal before it's all eaten. Another tip is not to store potatoes and onions together. the onions make the potatoes spoil faster.

Diana Trautwein said...

A little of both for me. We live in a coastal climate and packaged cereal is stale in about 45 minutes if it's in its original box, so we have a row of airtight plastic containers for cereal. And I have some cute, small, fabric covered bins in my pantry to hold baking supplies, especially after they're opened. I also keep a larger one filled with individual snack bags of different kinds for the grandkids when they come around - that's been a big hit. (And I do hate the packaging for those 100 calorie snacks - why the big boxes that are half full of air??)

And the commenter just before me is right about bringing pests home from the market - we've had that problem in other homes than this one. So I may decide to get some more plastic or glass for rice/dried beans/etc. But all cans, jars,bags are like they came from the store. Only they're not neatly displayed like yours. Soon...I WILL organize that pantry!

Judy @ A Meek Perspective said...

I totally agree. The only things I put into Mason Jars (because they are cheap) are rice and dried beans and that is only because I find the bags too unwieldy to stack well in the pantry. I, too, like being able to look at the nutrition labels.

Hope Jack is still continuing to do well!

Judy :)

Julianne said...

Great post! I absolutely adore all of the makeovers, but I know I would never have the motivation or desire to do that. My stuff isn't even lined up as neatly as yours :p I just shut the door!

repurporsedlifedesigns.blogspot.com

Kristin@FavoritePaintColors said...

I completely agree with you. I think your pantry looks organized and so practical, which I love and I like to have the original packaging on hand as well just in case I need it.
I posted one of your paint colors on my blog today that you used in your last house. Thanks again! Hope things are going well for you!

Linda said...

Ok Richella I love your organized pantry. But I want to know if it is hard to keep like that?

I had a pantry in my other house and I would straighten it and organize it, but it just always got messy when people took things out of it, and then put it pack in in the wrong place...so I gave up...and just kept the doors closed.

I would always oraganize it after I went shopping...but it just never stayed that way for long.

**** April **** said...

Ha! I love the foo-foo'd up pantries, too, but I'd never do it. Now, I have THOUGHT about just painting the pantry but then quickly came to the realization that it just didn'dt matter!

I do remove rice and store it in a mason jar. My flour, sugar, baking soda, powdered sugar, brown sugar and .. hmm... something else are all in mason jars but that's just because I like them that way. I'm a big fan of mason jars.

In fact, I'm eyeballing some at Wal-Mart to just drink from. :) Why? Coz I'm THAT kinda girl! :)

Original packaging is for me SO LONG as it's not lumpy, bumpy and doesn't enable me to stack it.

Kim B. said...

I LOVE the practicality of this post! That being said, I do however, put my cereal & kids snacking items (goldfish crackers, mini rice cakes, etc) in tupperware to help them last longer. My boys aren't very good at closing the tops of boxes so those items if left in their box tend to get stale A LOT faster then if they're in a sealed container. Other then that, I too don't have any pretty boxes, containers or specialty marked glass jars...ha ha What you see is what you get :)

Crystal @ Ordinary Days said...

Great post!! I prefer pretty and therefore don't get anything done b/c pretty is not practical and therefore infringes on me getting anything accomplished! If I wait to make everything pretty, nothing will get done! :) Thanks for putting it out there that it's okay to be practical.

~Crystal

Terri said...

Doesn't it crack you up to see which posts get the most comments??! I have to admit that I have a huge aversion to unsealed food in the cupboard. If someone has a package of crackers where the box has been opened and the bag simply folded down, I will pass. Hence, I have a huge collection of bag clips. I have been looking for economical, sealing containers to use for dry goods. Last year I finally found Snap & Seal cereal containers that work perfectly for my whole grains, sugars, chips, and even cereals. (3 for $13 at Costco) I love, love, love having everything sealed and fresh, and labled. And because I only have 3 designated for cereal, we don't have excessive amounts of cereal open at once, going stale. The kids know they have to use up what's open before opening more. For me, it is really about practicality. Blessings!

Donna Hollingsworth said...

My pantry looks very similar to yours. I made shelves from 1 X 10 lumber from Lowes and installed them in the worlds tiniest dining room that we never use. Now I have a decent sized pantry too hold all my canned goods, boxes of cereal, small appliances, etc...The only pretty containers that I have to store things in is for dog treats because this container sits on my kitchen counter and I use it often. I like having labels to read so I know that items are fresh and what the calorie counts are! So fear not my friend, you are not alone!!

Erin @ Two Story Cottage said...

Funny post, Richella! You don't how many times I've thought "I wonder if that is practical" when I see a pantry makeover. I don't think my hubby would go for it! I wouldn't mind making it pretty but it would have to be well thought out! :)

Melissa Miller said...

You are so right Richella! How can we see the nutritional values if we remove everything? I know I can't always stand in the store and read while I shop. Your pantry looks pretty and very organized.

Happy weekend!
~Melissa :)

Life in the Big Grey Victorian On The Corner said...

A valid point! I almost always leave my foodstuffs in the original container...except if I buy those bags of cereal, then they go in my tupperware thingy.

HeathahLee said...

I have NEVER used pretty containers in the pantry. Too much trouble! I have an organized (somewhat) pantry and I like it just the way it is. : )

Judy @Southern Style Home Decor said...

I love your pantry. It looks organized and functional and that's the most important thing. We use original packaging except for cereal, flour, and sugar. I have to be able to see expiration dates or I would just throw everything away. I am paranoid about expiration dates.

Mandi @ Finding Home said...

I've got to admit that I do like a fancy pantry. Seems like I'm in the minority of the commenters but I do enjoy seeing the beauty in a space like that. Even if my family is the only one who sees it. Right now I don't have a pantry as we are undergoing a whole home reno and not even living at our place but once we get back home, I do hope to make the space semi-pretty. I may not put decorations on my pantry walls but I see nothing wrong with a fun paint color and cute containers. As it is, I did have a lot of glass containers on my shelves holding dry goods. and while I won't go to extremes, I am someone who would keep up with the "cute pantry" look by putting my stuff into containers. To each his own! Truly - because I think your pantry is a beauty!

FrouFrouBritches said...

Richella, I am with you on this. I want calorie counts, ounces, expiration dates, etc. I do like to group things together to put into bins, similar to yours. I put breakfast stuff on one shelf and snacks all in one bins, etc. I'm too cheap to spend $15 each for pretty apothecary jars full of flour that nobody will see anyway. No thanks. I'm doing good just to keep stuff off the floor in my pantry because it's REALLY small.

Holly said...

I have several glass jars in my pantry, but only to store things that I buy in bulk, like quinoa, oatmeal and popcorn. I do not take anything out of the package (well, I take that back...I do put cookies in a jar because the packaging doesn't seal and they go stale if I don't). I have several white plastic bins similar to yours to corral like items (pasta/rice, paper goods, etc), but before the plastic bins I used baskets because of what I saw on the blogs. Then I realized they weren't practical for me for several reasons.
I actually blogged about my pantry epiphany. http://bit.ly/gDTH2j

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

oh yes I keep everything in the original package. I need to clean my pantry out, thanks for the inspiration here, yours is so neat and tidy,

BrentDavis1 said...

Well we put some of the sugar, flour, rice and more commonly used spices in colorful containers, and if we were buying from bulk containers then we would probably have more colorful containers, but for the most part we leave things in their store packaging. In fact, several of our counter canisters have been broken and repaired several times but I'm pretty good at it and it looks really good. Of course if you just HAVE to spend money somewhere you can have the maid regularly transfer all that stuff into the pretty containers!

melissa * 320 Sycamore said...

So with you on this one! I don't think I'll ever have a "cute" pantry. It would take too much upkeep to empty everything into the containers. I had a friend who loved the bright colors of the packaging too~it's kind of fun to open (when there is food in there!)

corner pantry cabinet said...

I'm half and half. Half in packages, and half in containers! That's practical for me and I can easily keep it up. Oh, and I use cheap 99 cent store containers!!

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