The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Re organising and rotating....

This week preparedness is REALLY in the news with a cyclone coming in towards Queensland and due to hit early tomorrow. We are not anywhere near this thankfully!  But Bridge lives just about the most affected area and we have friends living right where is expected to come in. Aly is inland from the ocean but could experience a lot of effects as well.  I hope you all will be ok and am thinking of you so much!
There is a sense of nervousness and the news is covering the developments.
I notice that QLD and the local councils have good advice and websites full of really excellent information.  If you are a reader living anywhere near this cyclone I hope you are listening to updates and preparing as much as possible.  I can't really imagine how stressful it would be waiting for this to hit land. I feel quite nervous about it from a good distance away!

Now to the last week...

My goal for the week was to rotate, organise and clean out my kitchen pantry cupboards. The week before I had started  moving my row of big glass jars in the kitchen as they were getting too much sunlight. Light is just no good for storage although I love a sunlit house.  
It took me ages to figure out what to do.  Then it hit me to completely empty my closed in kitchen cupboards and use them to store my jars and contents.  And I got baskets to sit on my long shelf which is under the island bench... and all my canned and packaged goods would go into those. The baskets greatly reduce light but anyway tins and packets would be fine there. 
This meant turning the kitchen on it's head basically.
Last week we were saying how things get worse before they get better. This was a mess unlike any other! haha I tried to do it in manageable stages but several times I bit off more than I could chew. 
And I bet you can predict what happened when my entire kitchen floor was covered in food.  I got visitors!   I can see that this is funny now but I didn't think so at that moment! 

Eventually I set up baskets and labelled them according to their contents and things that I tend to keep a lot of.  Now I can see exactly how much I have of each thing.  All tinned soup is together, all tined fruit is together and so on.

Fake chalkboard labels!

Before I was guilty of buying up on a good special and putting it away where ever it would fit. This was made worse by the usual needing to unpack the usual groceries and get on with the day, cooking dinner etc. Consequently as I cleaned out my cupboards I had a heap of surprises!  
In the end I washed all my shelves, re lined them and started from scratch. 
I now have the really big baskets that I got going last year and these contain categories like long life milk, powdered milk, pasta, tea and coffee, dried fruit... 

These were my side of the road find shelves from last year. They hold a lot of stuff! 

And my row of baskets under the bench which are soups, packet mixes, tinned fruit and so on. 

These are my new baskets, I have a row of 9.  I got them on a special at Big W.

My labels look like chalkboard labels but this is just a trick. I found that black cardboard and a chalk board pen or white out (white correction pen) looks exactly the same!  I love them!  You can use this trick when making labels, signs etc and the only time it isn't suitable is when you actually want to be able to rub the chalk out!

Everything in jars is now behind closed doors.

I have collected jars for years. Most have gone from op shops.

The currently open packets of things go into a jar.

I have twenty of these huge coffee jars that my Mum's friend saved for me.

After my kitchen cupboards were all done I had a few hours going through things in the cellar. A lot of food that needs using in the next months came upstairs into my new system.  I have a lot of work to do in the cellar to get it organised as well! 

Getting to a stage where we have good supplies took a while but it would all be wasted if we don't manage it and keep it rotating.  I think the work I have put in during the week will really help me with this. The basket system could just as easily be boxes and also work in a built in pantry or inside cupboards. Grouping things together helps to keep track of how much you have in each category.
I think putting a few things out of place really easily leads to a snowball effect and it becoming a major mix up! 

Aside of the work on the kitchen I also got a basket for my bike and now can transport a few things easily.

And I put up 100 m of solar fairy lights in the back garden. They work so well. They are really pretty, cost nothing to run and illuminate the yard.  

So that was my week! I am really pleased with it but then I think of how much more I have to do!  
Big or small things all add up!  I will be working on the cellar trying to get it as organised and labelled. 

How are you going with building up your pantry and improving your preparedness?
Next week we have a post by Glenda with some money saving food storage tips. Having had a sneak peek I have already used some of Glenda's tips.  

Have a great week. If you are anywhere near this cyclone please take every care.  xxx


  1. Lovely baskets and great incentive for me to get more organized in a pretty way!

    1. Dear Lynn, It is a lot of work but it really pays off. And it is kind of fun in the end! I am glad if you feel motivated! Sometimes we just to get going and we are right! Have a good week! Love

  2. Annabel, I love seeing how those in cyclone prone areas are prepared for these events and how the authorities are so organised and getting ready to restore power etc. after Debbi hits tomorrow morning. It is a tad frightening waiting for it to hit as I experienced with Cyclone Larry when I was visiting Townsville but people up there seem to take it in their stride and you have to expect such events when you choose to live in that area. Have a great week.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Well its upon them now. I think new residents and tourists have no idea what to expect. Our friends are in Mackay and were told to evacuate but haven't... I have felt really worried. Aly is inland... I just heard from her and they re ready. You have a good week too! More organising (or trying) here, with love

  3. Hello Annabel,

    I'm with you on being concerned about the cyclone due to hit today. I hate to think of the damage to animals and people and crops/buildings. Up here today in the mountains the wind is so fierce, it's quite disconcerting and all the dogs are out of sorts, so are best inside lying on their mats sleeping (hey they do that when it's not windy too).

    Good work on sorting the kitchen, I know you loved the open look of the glass jars out and were so happy when you got those big moccona jars, so hope the hidden away aspect is pleasing to you also, the baskets sound good.

    I have been processing the zillions of tomatoes - some into sauce, passata and some just chopped and frozen to bring out in casseroles and italian dishes during the year.

    Also loads of sewing and my challenge I set for myself is going well.

    I hope all the ladies on here who are in the path of this awful storm are safe and well. Fi xx

    1. Fi, How beautiful to have zillions of tomatoes! What a great problem to have.

      And the sewing--great job! I always need to get to the sewing duties. And it keeps dropping down, down, down the list for me.:)

      And dear Annabel (that's how I think of you, as dear Annabel), I love, love, love your pictures of the glass jars. I just love glass jars.

      I was at my sister-in-law's one day. She had some onions that she wanted to put in the fridge. I asked her for a glass jar, so I could put it in the fridge. She didn't have ONE. I was so shocked that I didn't know what to think or do. It never occurred to me that someone would not even have ONE glass jar to keep their onions in. Makes me laugh now that I think about it.

    2. Dear Fiona, I love your sewing challenge! What I have seen so far has been beautiful!
      The tomatoes sound beautiful. So much you can do with those!
      I am laughing at what Cristy said about someone not having a jar. I cannot relate to that!
      Have a good week! With love,

    3. Cristy - no jars lol??? Amazing. Our tomato crop was a bit of a surprise really as they were dug up and moved and we got the biggest crop ever. Still going too. Did 8 kilos yesterday.

      Annabel I'm hoping everyone is safe in Queensland. A Facebook page I belong to for machine embroidery - the lady had her machines wrapped in plastic and put in the centre of her house for safety. Fi xx

  4. Annabel, love your baskets! I chuckled when I read about you having company right in the middle of your organizing ... it always happens that way. I went through our winter clothing, discarded the things not worth keeping for another year, donated some things that no longer fit but were still in good condition and in so doing found more storage space. The food part of our pantries is not the only areas that need inventorying and organizing. Great post!

    1. Dear Patsi,
      Thank you! Well done on your organising. This is true, there are other areas we lose track of what we have and need going through. We wont mention the craft cupboard! I hope you are having a good week! With love

  5. Dear Annabel, yes, we are very much into preparedness for Cyclones in Queensland. Thankfully this particular one is far from where we live, so apart from some rain, I do not think it will affect us directly. But it does look nasty, so stay safe everyone. I hope that everyone is braced and ready and out of harms way. Your own preparedness is to be admired as always Annabel. You're an example to us all. Love, Mimi xxx

  6. Dear Annabel

    This past fortnight both daughters at home have decided they would like to eat Greek Yoghurt in an effort to reduce their intake of sugar and high saturated fats. I have discovered the 2 kg buckets of greek yoghurt at Aldi. at a fraction of the cost of buying them at other stores. So frozen berries and greek yoghurt have become dessert, snacks and breakfast here most days. I am saving the buckets when empty of yoghurt to store other foods in.

    I have been eating down the pantry but filling up the freezers. This week my job is to clean out the pantry, wash down the shelves and then refill the pantry in a better organised way.

    I am also reducing our grocery budget to get a little stockpile of cash for emergencies. Hope you have a great week ahead. Much Love Mel S xxxxx

  7. Dear Annabel

    This past fortnight both daughters at home have decided they would like to eat Greek Yoghurt in an effort to reduce their intake of sugar and high saturated fats. I have discovered the 2 kg buckets of greek yoghurt at Aldi. at a fraction of the cost of buying them at other stores. So frozen berries and greek yoghurt have become dessert, snacks and breakfast here most days. I am saving the buckets when empty of yoghurt to store other foods in.

    I have been eating down the pantry but filling up the freezers. This week my job is to clean out the pantry, wash down the shelves and then refill the pantry in a better organised way.

    I am also reducing our grocery budget to get a little stockpile of cash for emergencies. Hope you have a great week ahead. Much Love Mel S xxxxx

  8. I LOVE those baskets Annabel, I've just shown Wayne. I've been talking about a similar unit in our familyroom to stash my craft things and he's always looked a little blank. No excuse now :) And aren't fairy lights the prettiest things? Hannah and I found some on sale at Target just before Christmas on 50% clearance and I bought them. They're draped over the railing on our back verandah and every evening at dusk they come on and just make me smile, I really love the light they give to the verandah and pergola area, and being solar like yours they cost nothing to run - always a bonus.

  9. Hi Annabel, as always, I read your blog with great interest - and I'm developing a list of things to do around here!!
    I thought that to make things easier in organising the cellar and the pantry, would it help to get the same baskets as you use in the kitchen for the cellar, then when the kitchen basket is empty, you can simply switch baskets?? May not work, but an idea to make things simple to keep rotating your stores.
    Love your blog, btw!

    1. Wow, what a great idea LM! I believe I may do that!

  10. Hi Annabel

    Just a quick drop in as we are now in the warning zone to act if necessary.

    We have been in the zone for destructive winds and flooding for a few days now but at the rate this is tracking an a Catergory 4 it is looking like coming in further inland than has done in the past.

    It will be a long and rather sleepless night ahead I assume. We have torches and walkie talkies at the ready as well as bags of ice in the chest freezer to be able to put bare essentials.

    Wind here has picked up during the day and the wildlife seem to have left as it is very quiet outside except for the wind and a little rain now and then.

    Love your blog today by the way.

    Will try to get back in to give you and update. I do hope your friends up this way are safe as they evacuated 25,000 people there late this afternoon.

    Take care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      Thank you for this and also your email today. I hope things are still going ok. We watched the news tonight but really they know very little about may areas as the power and phones are down. They say they will be going onto those areas in the morning and to be ready for some bad reports.
      I googles your location, distance from the coast etc last night. I hope it is far enough to be safe but can see you will likely get a lot of rough weather and rain. And roads would be likely no good!
      I am glad knowing you are prepared and ready. With much love,

  11. Dear Annabel,
    Our thoughts and prayers join with yours for the safety of not only the Bluebirds but for all of those in the path of the cyclone.

    I too love all of your baskets and jars!! Hmm, those jars are suitable to have little nests painted on them!!(lol). I'm still in the process of cleaning out and reorganizing as well, wanting to create space for food storage. But we're making headway. I have to remind myself that "Rome wasn't built in a day". Somehow knowing that you and other Bluebirds are doing the same thing makes the task easier. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Yes! The jars are suitable for nests! I thought jar lids, fronts and tins or canisters!
      Keep working towards your food storage. Changing things around can yield a lot of space. I agree it is much more fun working away together! I hope your week is going well Cookie! With love,

  12. Hi Annabel!!!!!!!!

    Your baskets and jars look just perfect! I love the refreshing, relaxing prettiness that their practicality brings! Beautiful!

    My husband has added to his shed pantry, and the olives in process are the way I build up the house pantry! Ha ha!

    Today, in light of wet weather fire lighting problems, I finally tried out the char cloth I made last winter! It works! It holds even a single spark from a flint and steel; the hot spot grows; the cloth smoulders; kindling is added, and it is treated carefully, like a nest; and then one has to blow it into flame! So there! I was doing some outdoor cooking today, and am testing some simple ideas! Tonight's meal was started with a spark!

    Good on you, Glenda, for writing next week's post!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, I am glad you can get a fire going even in these conditions!
      I am so impressed with the olives! I am nosey wanting to know what went into the shed pantry? Interesting!
      I hope you have lots of jars available for the olives.... and are having a good week! With lots of love,

  13. Wow, Annabel, what a big job! It looks so great, though, and now you seem to have a great system both of keeping track and keeping things rotated. Hopefully the "surprises" you found when cleaning out will help your grocery bill this week! :)

    Best wishes to all in the cyclone's path!!! xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      Yes at least the surprises were good ones. These were on top of present cupboard surprises! I had more gifts than I thought!
      I have a few things lined up to be used up. Over the next few weeks this will lower the bills for sure. With lots of love,

  14. I absolutely love the baskets. You appear to be so organized. I try to keep organized, but my pantry looks nothing like yours. Beautiful!
    Prayers that all stay safe.
    God bless.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I have got one area organised now but I am not overall organised! I am working on it though!
      Thank you! We have been safe and sound, still waiting to hear how everyone has done in the cyclone. It has been pretty bad. Many thanks, Love

  15. How pretty a pantry can be with so little money, loved all the tips. I no longer have a traditional pantry, but I do have wall to wall shelving in our completely done basement. Thought I had a good sized pantry before but those shelves make it look like we have no food!

    1. Dear Tealady,
      A basement of shelving sounds really good. The more steady temperature of a basement would be good too.
      I do think we can have pretty jars and baskets etc and without much cost. I also realise my jars probably aren't good for people in earthquake prone areas. But we can use what we can find like the food grade buckets and lids a lot of ladies get for free. (I have a few) Vicky even covers these with a printed vinyl to match her kitchen! There are so many possibilities! With love

  16. Dear Annabel,
    Your re-organization was a huge project, but it looks wonderful. You are absolutely right, if we don't know what we have we won't use it and it goes to waste. You did an awesome job!
    We've been doing some re-organizing, but it is sewing rooms and fabric. It is nice to have a good inventory of the fabric I have on hand, also.
    We've been using down our pantry some, so it's that time of year to do another inventory. John will do the freezer inventory next week (we have two in the garage). I am keeping the up and down steps to a minimum, at the moment, but I will go downstairs and inventory our food storage room within the next two weeks. I will, also, do the refrigerator freezers we have in the house (three). That way, I will know where the holes are and what we need to replenish.
    Love the bicycle basket, also :)
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I need to do the freezer also. I have been using things up in order to reorganise it and write a list also.
      I think of you especially in regard to putting things away as you do it properly. I need to learn to leave goods out (if they are not perishables) until I have time to put them away properly so I don't lose track of them.
      I am learning and listening to you! With much love

  17. Annabel,
    Everything looks good! You can really tell how busy you were. Rotating and keeping things organized can be such a pain, but when you get a good system down it becomes second nature. I just love all of your baskets and your Ikea roadside find! It all looks so perfect! I hope mine will be half as beautiful so fingers crossed! I am not counting all of the savings until we're done because it will just be easier when I look back and check to have a total in one spot of my savings book, but so far it has been good savings.
    I am looking forward to Glenda's post!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      You know how good Glenda is on storage... so this will be good!
      Your pantry and new shelves are going to be awesome! When it all comes together you will be so happy! Like me you have to go through major mess to get to the end!
      I know you will have made huge savings esp with Rick doing the major renovations himself. You may have to keep him around a while longer!
      Now I have renovation mess ahead of me, again. eek. With love

  18. Will you be all right? Not sure where you live, very worried.

    1. Dear jlynn, Yes thank you! We are fine and far from the cyclone. We have friends in Mackay which is right in it but they are doing ok. We heard later today. It is stressful as there are towns and no one yet knows if everyone is ok as communications are out.
      Thank you so much for asking after me! With love,

  19. wow you have a cellar? you don't usually hear of Aussie homes having a cellar, though it does make sense with our extreme weathers we have here, no matter what state you live in.
    your pantry looks wonderful & very country cosy too! i have a small walk in pantry which is half useless, who ever built in just threw it in the corner which later on i'm going to replace it
    great post, can't wait to see this cellar organizing too
    thanx for sharing

    1. Dear Selina,
      We are really lucky to have a small cellar. When I say small I am not kidding... it is probably about the side of a toilet! Ok a large toilet. It was a wine cellar when we moved in and I basically ignored it. Then I realised it was a big asset and had to get brave enough even to go down in it. Now it is like a mini shop and I wiz up and down often! Now it is an asset and very good as it is always cool in there.
      A small walk in pantry is still good. From readers comments I know that many are very short on space so it made me appreciate all space much more. So just maximise the space as well as you can until you might replace it later. We just have to work with what we have and make it work and I have found it really amazing to try different things to make my space work better. Thanks so much Selina! With love

  20. Annabel,
    I hope all the Bluebirds are safe and well. Storms can be so scary. We don't have cyclones here, but I live in "tornado ally". We spent time readying an interior closet to shelter in this week. We had our first spring storm Sunday. We missed the bad part, but were under tornado watch for several hours. I feel for the families in your danger zone!

    We've had a super stressful month, and I clean when I'm stressed. So, that paired with my mother-in-law coming to stay soon, had us doing a serious spring clean. I adore my mother-in-law, but seriously, there has to be some rule about housekeeping and in-laws, doesn't there?

    My pantry is similar to yours, but not quite as pretty! I love the sweet touches you added like the roses and labels. In my pantry, most things are in glass jars and recycled (antique look) tins. I have baskets that store items that go together. For example, all the stuff to make my husband's breakfast smoothies is in a basket. We take the basket to the counter, make the smoothie, then the whole basket goes back in one trip. My herbs and spices are in small glass jars, but they sit on little wooden racks sorted by type. So, I grab the baking spice rack and carry it to the counter. When I've finished with the cinnamon, ginger, etc...the whole rack goes back in one trip. It makes things simple and quick!

    Just before I was injured last year, we were set to repaint and redecorate my daughters room. It got put on a 16 month back burner, while I recovered. So, this weekend I conscripted all my guys and we worked on it like crazy! I am so pleased that even though she's technically a teen she wanted a young girls room. We decorated the room like a garden and there are flower fairies throughout. She loves it, and we did it all ourselves. Liam and I built the flower boxes, window treatments, shelves and a shelf-type desk. Much of the decor was resale/op shopped and reworked. We did all the painting as a family. We also set her up with a wardrobe/armoire and converted her walk-in closet. (Why is there a window in a closet?) The closet is now a little sitting/reading/crafting room for her. She loves it!

    Sorry, this kind of grew longer than intended. Have I mentioned that I talk as well as clean when I'm stressed? ;-)
    Stay safe, Bluebirds!

    1. Dear Anne, I think tornado's are terrifying and my entire knowledge of them really comes from The Wizzard of Oz! I think though a cyclone is over the sea and loses strength over the land and a tornado is over the land? A bit similar in some ways.
      Your pantry sounds beautiful! And organised! I love your basket system.
      Well done on your daughters room! You must be so pleased after such a delay and se back. I would really love to see this all if you feel like taking pictures... it sounds heavenly. I love the little sitting room you made as well. What a big week! Well done! With love,

    2. Dear Anne,

      I am sorry that it has been stressful for you lately, but at least you're getting a really clean house out of the deal!

      I love the sound of your daugher's room and sitting room. They sound beautiful and I am glad she doesn't want to grow up too quick.


  21. Well done, Annabel! It all looks so tidy and nice. I can just see the look on your face when you found out you were having visitors with stuff all over the floor, though. Isn't that the way it always goes haha.

    I've got a number of areas in my house that need to be organized. Things have been stuffed into generally labeled areas and gotten all mixed up together. We have a shelf in our walk-in closet that I've put (seemingly) hundreds of those small sample sized shampoos, toothbrushes, toothpastes, soaps, etc. that one gets from travelling and dentist/doctor's offices. Lately I've been working on dividing them out into shoe boxes so we can actually use them. Doesn't look like we'll need to purchase toothpaste or soap for several years, looking at all we've got. Who knew? :? :/

    1. Dear Chipmunk,
      I totally relate. I have samples and tiny sized products just like you... I think I could go a year without buying anything and I need to organise them!
      And toothpaste too!
      This might be my next area as we are pulling out an old spa bath in our bathroom and then I can have shelves in the bathroom... I cant wait but am not looking forward to the mess we have to go through to get there!
      While saving on toothpastes etc you can build up another area instead! With love

  22. Dear Annabel, I apologise I am late to reply but Thank you for another great post . I absolutely love your fake chalkboard labels , very clever idea Annabel. They look so good on your white baskets, I might have to try that with mine!. I hope everyone's week is going well. Love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb, These would look lovely on your baskets! Thank you Barb! Love

  23. Dear Annabel, Well done on all the organizing. Rotation will soon be second nature and you will look in your pantries first before heading to the store!! :)You make everything look just beautiful!!

    You also did a great job on the present cupboard! I'm learning from everyone. We have a couple shelves dedicated to the gift "cupboard". Actually, I have more plans than items on the shelves at this point! LOL

    I'm praying for those in the cyclone area. Sounds kind of bad.

    Also, I made Cookie's bread! Turned out great and very yummy. This will be my "go-to" recipe for bread, rolls, sweet rolls, etc.!

    Looking forward to your post, Glenda! :) Have a great week everyone. Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you! I am glad you like Cookies bread! Everyone seems to love it!
      Thanks so much Teri, I hope your week is going well, with love

  24. Dear Annabel,
    Your baskets look fantastic! Organizing can take quite a bit of thought and planning, and you have done well. I love when functional things look lovely. I hope your new system works well for you.
    Organizing seems to be my theme lately, as I want everything to be clean, functional, and as easy as possible to get to and keep up with when the baby is born. This past week I have been working in our utility room. It functions as an extension of my pantry and kitchen, holding things that will not fit in my small kitchen. I discovered that a plastic basket I recently purchased for $1 fits in so many places, including the shallow cabinets in the utility room, so I've added six more to my shopping list. I am very excited about this, and I am going to copy your chalkboard tag idea so my baskets will hopefully look similar.
    I have also been working on eating from the pantry and freezer, but these areas still need better organization. I want to make room for homemade mixes and freezer meals as you suggested for when my Little Man arrives. I am looking forward to Glenda's post, as well!
    I am hoping and praying that our Bluebirds in Queensland are safe. You have been constantly in my thoughts.
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I have a post coming up that you will like for organising containers! I hope to get that done soon. If you found a basket just the right size that is so handy!
      Easy and pre made meals will be a huge help to you. Also just a good pantry so there is no need for running into town. When you have a baby dinner time always seems to be the busiest, tiredest time. Yet dinner is important. I would like to be there to make you some meals!
      Having a utility room is really good. That really gives you a lot extra space overall. It sounds like things are coming along very well! So exciting! With love


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