10 Tips for Hosting Any Party

Hope you are all recovering from a weekend full of holidays! This weekend we hosted a party to celebrate Easter and Passover with 25 of our family and friends. The party was a success but the planning is always a process, so I wanted to share with you my TOP TEN TIPS for hosting any party. These tips will help you to plan for a gathering of 5 to 50 people!

P.S. Also find a fund outfit  like this jumpsuit  - I’m wearing an XS for reference

P.S. Also find a fund outfit like this jumpsuit - I’m wearing an XS for reference

TIP #1 - Make a Guest List and Send Invites

This first tip may sound obvious, but it is important! Making a numbered list of guests, and separating adults from kids, will help you get an idea of how many people you need to plan for with food, drinks, etc., and it will also help you set budget (see TIP #2). Once you have your list figured out, take the time to send out formal invitations. I typically opt for e-invites using platforms like Paperless Post because you can send it directly to an email address, see if your guests have received and opened the invite, track RSVPs and send reminders if anyone forgets to RSVP. E-invites are also nice because if you remember a guest you forgot to invite later on, you can send an invitation without worrying about whether or not it will get there in the mail. Paper invites are fine too and for really formal occasions I use them, but with busy lives, e-invites are typically my go-to!

TIP #2 - Set a Budget

Once you have an idea of how many guests you’d like to invite, try to set a budget and stick to it! With party planning it is really easy to get carried away and keep adding expenses here and there (I am my own worst enemy with this) but if you have a set amount you’d like to spend, it will help to keep stress to a minimum. When setting the budget, think about the type of party you want to have - are you looking to do a formal, sit-down dinner? Or a backyard barbecue? Do you want cocktails and crudités? Or a multi-course meal? You can set the budget per person for food or allocate a general amount for food and decor. See TIP # 4 for more on this!

TIP #3 - Choose a “Theme”

Theme may not be the right word but choosing a aesthetic for your party and deciding how you want everything to look is another important tip for making it appear that you have everything together (even if you don’t) and your guests will appreciate cohesiveness. Trust me, you don’t need to be creative to do this! If you want a rustic or boho theme, opt for things like burlap, white, and muted greens. Looking for formal? Stick to colors like gold, silver, black, royal or navy blues, and classic white. For summer parties or barbecues I like to use brighter, tropical colors like pinks, yellows, greens, and decorate with inexpensive pieces like palm leaves. If you are trying to decide on a theme, feel free to shoot me an email or comment below, I would love to help!

TIP #4 - Go Shopping (and How to Plan for Food)

My rule for shopping is two-fold. First, purchase decor two weeks ahead of time (especially if ordering online) because it gives you time to add pieces later if needed and also exchange products if they aren’t what you expected. Second, purchase food the weekend before, if possible, or the week of, but not later than 2 days before. Buying the food can be a challenge because things don’t last forever. I like to buy things like proteins ahead of time and freeze them if needed. For our party we had a ham and turkey that were frozen and we thawed them out a starting on Tuesday for a Saturday party. For things like vegetables, fruit, cheeses, and any cooking ingredients, most can be purchased 5 days before and will keep. Use your best judgment here and pay attention to how the food looks before you buy it. If the strawberries look super ripe, maybe hold off for a few days. When figuring out how much food to buy, I like to follow the rules of one protein for every ten people or 1/2-1 lb of meat per person. Obviously this can vary greatly but we come from families who LOVE leftovers so having extras is never really an issue. I also like to have variety so I want to give people the option of two different meats. And for things like a barbecue this can mean chicken and burgers, you don’t need a fancy carving protein! For sides I like to have two sides for every 10 people and 1 vegetable. You can be creative here depending on dietary restrictions, etc., but I think the more variety, the better. For desserts, always have at least 2 options, no matter how many people! If you are doing more of an appetizer type party, I like to have 5 different items for 25 people and estimate 3-4 of each per person. Oh and speaking of appetizers, I always like to have something for people to nosh on even if there is a dinner to follow so stick with inexpensive things like deviled eggs, a veggie tray, or frozen items like spanakopita that you can throw in the oven quickly! Obviously, you can always cater too, but my family and I love to cook!

TIP #5 - Allocate Tasks and Accept Help

If you are having a larger party, this is important! Do NOT try to do everything on your own if you have people offering to help. If you are worried about things not looking how you want them to, allocate tasks that can’t really be messed up. Have someone help count seating and set the table, run to the store, etc. And if you have anyone really creative helping you, use them to your advantage! I wouldn’t be able to plan such great parties without the help of my sisters! Also, if you are making food on your own and someone offers to bring something, don’t be afraid to take them up on the offer! Things like fruit, veggie trays, even a salad, are all great options.

TIP #6 - Tablescapes

This tip can apply whether or not you are having a formal sit down party or not. Tablescapes are super easy to throw together and they give your party that extra touch of wow! Once you’ve chosen your theme, measure your tables and create something that flows with the rest of your decor. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. For our Easter/Passover party we opted for white table cloths, some fake garland, wide burlap ribbon and gold speckled eggs - all of which were found at the local craft store. If you want to add an extra touch, you can always opt for chargers underneath your plates and fun napkin folds - we made really easy bunnies for our table. Fresh flowers also go a LONG way on any table. If you do nothing else, run and grab some fresh florals and place them on your tables! I like to get bigger blooms like hydrangeas that take up a lot of space so you don’t need to spend as much! Trader Joes or a local farm market are the best places for fresh flowers in my opinion. You should aim to set your tables and tablescapes 1-2 days before your actual party.

TIP #7 - Label Your Serving Dishes Ahead

It’s never fun scrambling last minute to make sure you have enough platters and that they are all of the right sizes, so my sister taught me a great tip - label everything ahead of time! If you know you want your salad in a pretty glass bowl, label it, and if you know you need 5 different plates for appetizers, write down what they are on a sticky note and stick it on the dish. This not only will help you keep your sanity the day of, but it also will allow others to help plate things without asking a bunch of questions because you have already told them where it’s going!

TIP #8 - Create a Signature Cocktail and/or Drink Station

Another great thing you can do to add a nice touch is create a signature cocktail or drink station for your party. This will allow people to have a choice in what they drink and they can even make a mocktail if no alcohol is added ahead of time for a signature cocktail. It’s a nice way to get your party started as well and has an air of sophistication about it. Lemonade always makes for a great base because it can be mixed well with all types of alcohol. Adding fresh fruit and herbs too allows for a truly custom crafted cocktail. I love this letter board too which could be customized for the cocktail or for the party occasion.

TIP #9 - Don’t be Afraid to Guide People

Parties need a host for a reason, if there isn’t one, everyone would sit around and not really know what to do when. So, don’t be afraid to guide people to different things. If you are serving appetizers, announce it. When it’s time for dinner, ask everyone to find their seats. Don’t be afraid to ask more than once - the more people, the harder it is to corral everyone, so make sure you let everyone know when it’s time to transition to the next thing!

TIP #10 - Work the Room and Say Thank You

As a host, you also need to remember to work the room and thank all of your guests for coming. You don’t have to get into a 1/2 hour conversation with everyone, especially if there are a ton of people, but a personal “thank you” goes a long way. You can do this while offering drinks, taking coats, showing them around, etc. Nobody is going to be mad at you for walking around to greet your guests and if they are then either put them another cocktail or don’t invite them the next time ;-)

BONUS TIP - Create Something for the Kids

Okay I know I said this would be 10 tips, but here’s a BONUS. If you plan to have kids at your parties, make sure you have something for them to do and give them their own table if possible. You can do simple things like a coloring station, or a few little prizes - we did an egg hunt! Giving the kiddos something to do will help to keep them occupied and their parents will thank you for allowing them to be adults for a minute! Also, if you give them their own table then it’s much easier to use things like paper plates, etc. and minimize a mess and broken dishes and it also is less likely to disrupt anyone eating at the “adult” table.

I hope you all loved reading these TOP 10 HOSTING TIPS! If you have any questions, want to bounce an idea, or just wonder where something is from, please shoot me an email, comment below, or DM me on Instagram! I would love to help you with planning your next party!

XoXo - Jamie

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Hibba Beauty - The Best Brows of Westchester

If any of you are like me, you’re a total psycho about your eyebrows and one wrong wax or pluck can do a year’s worth of damage. My entire life I avoided getting my brows waxed because I would watch people go into salons looking like one person and come out looking like another (and not in a good way). Thin brows, they just aren’t my thing, but neither are overdrawn or perfectly lined. So, clearly I needed to find an in-between and I found my answer with eyebrow threading. 

Living in NYC I was able to find brow threading salons all over the place, but after moving to Westchester I quickly realized that brow threading wasn’t a thing yet.  In my year or so of living here, I found one place who threaded and only on Sundays, with an appointment, aka, not convenient at all. 

Then finally around the holidays I heard about Hibba Beauty opening up in Scarsdale and I was SO EXCITED!

 Hibba is a brow queen (as are all of her team) and they have two locations in Manhattan and now the newest in Scarsdale

I couldn’t wait to check out their new spot on Garth Road. It’s easy to find and so inviting with the brightly colored orange walls and the elegant pop of white stenciling throughout. When I went in I was greeted by Marcela who was so sweet and I immediately sat down to get started.


Now for those of you who don’t know anything about threading, it’s basically what it sounds like! They use thin thread to remove unwanted hair at the follicle level (just like plucking or waxing) but in a much more efficient and much less painful manner. It takes all of 5 minutes to get perfectly shaped brows and the more you consistently thread, the better your brows will be!

Unlike waxing, there isn’t the fear that they will take off way too much and you can tell the estitichian exactly what you like.  I always say I want mine “cleaned up” which results in even brows with no straggler hairs and a more defined shape.  Marcela gave me exactly what I asked for and I couldn’t have been happier! 

The other great thing about threading is that the redness afterwards is minimal compared to waxing and if you have dry skin (like I do) it doesn’t remove your skin as much as waxing does. You can thread and go about your day without needing to hide what you’ve just done...can anyone say lunch break?! 

If threading isn’t your thing, Hibba Scarsdale also offers waxing, microblading, and other services like organic facials.  I know I will definitely be back soon to try more services out and I can confidently say I’ve now found my go-to salon for brows...hallelujah!  

My post-threading brows…still maintained my natural shape, but just cleaned up and more defined!

My post-threading brows…still maintained my natural shape, but just cleaned up and more defined!

If you’re in the the Westchester or NYC area, be sure to check out Hibba! 

XoXo  

Jamie  

The Perfect Holiday Centerpiece: Featuring Bedford Village Flower Shoppe

I don’t think there is anything more welcoming in a home than fresh flowers..am I right?? And honestly, during the holidays we all want to step up our flower game to impress those dinner guests and family members coming from near and far. However, I know during this time of year when we are all as busy as can be, it’s pretty easy to overlook such an important detail, but that is why the world gave us AMAZING florists like Bedford Village Flower Shoppe! If you are in the Westchester/Connecticut area, you don’t need to look any further for all of your holiday and floral needs. Whether you are in search of a gorgeous holiday arrangement or a gift for that special someone, Bedford Village Flower Shoppe has you covered!

Peonies, Brunia, Amarylis, and Evergreens - GORGEOUS!!

Peonies, Brunia, Amarylis, and Evergreens - GORGEOUS!!

I just received the MOST STUNNING holiday arrangement ever from them and it looks absolutely gorgeous on my dining table, and matches my china perfectly (#winning)! This particular arrangement is a lovely mix of Peonies, Brunia, Amarylis, and Evergreens. It also has a beautiful rustic, winter touch with the pinecones and distressed wooden holder. No matter what you are looking for by way of size, shape, color, and cost, they can accommodate your every need and truly help you create a customized arrangement! These also are TOP QUALITY flowers. No filler, no fluff, just truly beautiful and fresh flowers and products that are sure to last!

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Oh and not only are their flowers absolutely stunning, but this shop is owned by the world’s sweetest couple. They go above and beyond to make sure that you get everything that you want as a customer…a quality that is hard to come by these days if you ask me! They also have a blog which gives great tips and tricks for choosing a perfect arrangement…a must read for the holidays!

Bedford Village Flower Shoppe also does more than just arrangements for your home, they are full service for weddings and special events. All of you 2019, 2020, actually just ALL OF YOU BRIDES TO BE, go check them out!! They have a stunning online wedding gallery to give you little taste of just how beautiful they can make your special day! Also, go check out their Instagram and Facebook pages for more pictures of their stunning work!

So if you are in need of flowers and arrangements for any and everything, go check them out and tell them I sent you :)

Bedford Village Flower Shoppe

641 OLD POST RD, BEDFORD, NY 10505 

Phone: (914) 228-1587 Email: info@bedfordvillageflowershoppe.com

Instagram

Facebook

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If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Here’s to you having a GORGEOUS holiday table this year!

XoXo - Jamie

*This is an affiliate post. However, all opinions and write-ups are my own.

My Birth Story

Hi everyone! I’m finally back after stepping away from posting for a few weeks, and for good reason!  On August 29, 2018 we finally welcomed a baby boy, Rye Joseph, into our lives and here’s how it all went down! 

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Okay first, let’s back track a little. My due date was August 21st and honestly I never even thought, and neither did my doctors, that I would make it that far. You may remember me taking about being in bed rest during my pregnancy and that was all due to pre-term labor at 31 weeks and again at 32. I was given steroid shots to develop the baby’s lungs and placed on bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy. My doctors didn’t think I would be getting past 34 weeks. Honestly it was one of the most nerve wracking months of our lives.  But, the baby clearly had other plans because 34 weeks came and went and so did 35, 36, 37 (after which they finally lifted bedrest), 38, 39, and then my due date hit at 40 weeks! Say what?!  

So, when my due date passed, my husband an I were kind of left scratching our heads. This baby clearly had a mind of his/her own (we didn’t know gender through all of this) and now we were just left trying to patiently wait after mentally preparing ourselves to have a baby “any day” since 32 weeks! Not to mention, throughout this entire period, especially the last few weeks before the due date, I had been having a lot of contractions.  Many times they were strong, consistently 2-5 minutes apart and lasting for several hours...but, never the REAL thing.  

As 40 weeks progressed my doctors decided to schedule me for an induction at 41 weeks, with the hopes that I would go into labor on my own before that.  Welp, another week passed and I was walking nonstop, bouncing on my yoga ball, looking up every trick in the book to get this baby moving on out, but nothing was really happening and I was starting to feel defeated and also very uncomfortable. I wanted to avoid an induction if possible so I just kept trying to tell myself and also pray that my body and the baby would get the memo to come before I needed to be induced

August 28, The Induction Day - I was now at 41 weeks, overdue, and starting to get anxious about being induced. I woke up on that Tuesday morning and I think in an effort to keep my nerves at bay, I said to Scott, “How funny would it be if I went into labor today right before they induced me?” I was having some contractions consistently again, but I had been there, done that, bought a t-shirt, so I didn’t think much of it. We were scheduled to arrive at the hospital for the induction at 5 pm Tuesday evening, so we spent the morning packing the car, playing with our dog, and then we decided to havae one last good, big meal before days of hospital food (yuck!). We headed to Bar Taco in Port Chester and it was amazing! Then we went back home and eventually around 4 pm, made our way to the hospital.  

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When we arrived, it was like the baby flood gates had opened and everyone who was due in August decided to have a baby that day! We checked in and we were placed back out in the family waiting area along with two other couples because they didn’t have any rooms available right away. At this point it was becoming comical because it just added to the saga of what had been the past few months of the pregnancy. As we sat in the waiting area for about an hour, I was still having contractions but didn’t think much of them, and I had a sense of extreme calm and peace for the first time in months. Around 5:30 they finally told us they had a room ready and we headed into Labor & Delivery.

Once we were settled they started monitoring me and I was having contractions ranging from 3-5 minutes apart. The plan was to start cervadil around 7 pm and then early Wednesday morning start pitocin. For some reason I had a gut feeling that we wouldn’t need to go through all of that and that the baby would just get the memo it was time to come on out. So, when my doctor came in around 7 to check me and use the cervadil, she realized I was 3 cm and with the consistent contractions, she decided she wanted to just see what happened overnight without any intervention. At this point I was getting more excited and kept feeling more and more that the baby was going to come on his or her own.

The night went by and my contractions were getting stronger. I kept telling the night nurse that they were more and more intense but she said it wasn’t real labor because my contractions weren’t textbook consistently 2 minutes apart. So a few more hours went by, I couldn’t sleep at all...it was now about 2 am and I was in a fair amount of pain. I also had to pee about every 30 minutes to I kept waking up my poor hubby to help detach me fromhe monitors and IV. Around 3 am I finally called for the nurse to request an IV administered sleep aid/mild pain killer so I could sleep at least for a few hours, especially if the next day would involve being in labor for hours waiting for pitocin to work.  Thankfully, my night nurse was on a break so I got a different nurse who came in and gave me the meds and finally solidified that I WAS actually in labor. I was able to sleep for a few hours and then woke up around 6 am to the nurse and my doctor in the room. 

My doctor checked me and realized I was about 5.5 cm dialated and that I definitely didn’t need the pitocin. I was SO relieved and then within a matter of 5 minutes, she was breaking my water.  My husband slept through this entire ordeal so when I woke him up around 7:00 am on Wednesday morning he was pretty surprised.  

August 29th, Delivery Day - So I know I’ve already recapped part of this day, but anyways.... After they broke my water I started having really strong and painful contractions REALLY fast. They moved me into the delivery room where I would stay until the baby was born. By the time we got over to the laboring room, probably a matter of 10 minutes, I was in a lot of pain and decided I wanted the epidural.  They immediately called the anesthesiologist and by 8 am she was in there getting the epidural ready. They kicked Scott out of the room (standard procedure for epidurals) and I told him to go get some coffee that it would probably be a while since I was only at 5 cm.  She administered the epidural around 8:15 in between some crazy intense contractions. My nurse, now a new one who was amazing, just kept telling me I would feel so much better afterwards. By 8:25ish the epidural was done but I was still just having a ton of pain and contractions....like pain you couldn’t describe. My nurse knew something was off because I shouldn’t have such intense pain after an epidural.  So, she decided to check me around 8:40 and to EVERYONE’s surprise I was 10 cm! 

From that point forward everything was kind of a crazy blur. In between my crazy contractions, the failed epidural, and the chaos of going from 5 to 10 cm in under an hour, I didn’t know what to think. There were nurses flooding in, they were paging for the doctor over and over because I needed to push. It then suddenly dawned on me that Scott wasn’t in the room. I remember thinking to myself “oh shit” he’s going to miss this whole thing! I called him over and over and the nurses were running around the maternity floor trying to find him. They came back and told me they couldn’t find him and I was now just freaking out! This was all probably a matter of 10 minutes but it felt like 3 hours to me. Finally, he walked in, tired but in good spirits with his coffee. The nurse told him to put his coffee down and grab my right leg, that I was ready to push. I honestly wish I had a picture to capture his face in this moment, it was hysterical! 

By this time it was 8:50 and I was ready to push. I was determined to keep pushing and pushing because I didn’t want to be pushing for hours. I know it’s common for first time moms to push for a long time and I decided that wasn’t going to be me! I only had to push for 20 minutes and halfway through the doctor decided I needed an episiotomy because the baby was so big and to avoid a 4th degree tear. We were a little surprised to hear her say the baby was big because I had been measuring “small” the entire pregnancy.

Well the doctor definitely knew her stuff because at 9:10 am, after a fast and furious few hours, we welcomed a baby boy, Rye Joseph Robinson, into this world and he was a whopping 8 lbs, 13 oz and 22 inches!  We were so incredibly excited and Scott was especially thrilled it was a boy...so was my dad, after having 4 girls, that man was holding out hope for a grandson haha. 

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After giving birth everything else was pretty uneventful. We had your standard two day hospital stay and then headed home. Postpartum recovery is no joke and having a ton of stitches from the episiotomy didn’t help. But, I am happy to report that at three weeks postpartum everything is going really well from the breastfeeding to recovery to the sleeping...well sometimes we sleep...but either way we have loved every minute of it!! 

Overall, I had a pretty great birth experience. I was bummed about the epidural because I felt like I got it for no reason considering it didn’t work at all and I could have just labored and pushed without it had I known I was already at 10 cm! But, it is what it is and the one silver lining is that now I know for next time I can definitely endure labor without it AND push out a pretty big baby! I am so happy I was able to go into labor on my own without any of the induction drugs. It’s kind of amazing what your body can do and that it knew what to do exactly at the right time.

Thank you all so much for following along with my entire pregnancy and for standing by during my three week hiatus! I’m working on a ton of new content some focused around the typical fashion and lifestyle blogging and the other half focusing on being a new mom! You have all been so amazingly supportive and I can’t wait to continue sharing all of these amazing life changes!

XoXo - Jamie 

Lighten Up Your Bedroom With Palm Print

I've already talked about my obsession with everything palm print, so when I decided that our guest room needed a little "refresh" I knew I wanted to find a a palm print bedding set.  Now many of the sets I found online were a darker print or just didn't go with the light sage green color we painted in our guest room.  But, one day I just happened to be at Bed, Bath, & Beyond and completely lucked out! 

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I found this Coastal Living Green Palm Comforter Set and fell in love! It is bright, airy, and has pretty, non-obnoxious palm leaves that just give the room a calming, beachy feel.  Now unfortunately this isn't a beach house (MY DREAM) but it does make the room feel like a little escape from the rest of the house.  I actually find myself doing work in here a lot and just relaxing since I purchased this bedding set.  It comes in all bedding sizes and it is on sale right now too! You can get the entire set, even a King, for under $60! Did I also mention the comforter is reversible?  YEP. It's that good! 

The set comes with the comforter and two decorative shams.  Below I'm linking the bedding set and also some great accent pillow choices! I'm obsessed with the straw ones! Oh and the sheets, I have to talk about the sheets on this bed.  So they are also a Bed Bath find and they are the softest sheets ever.  They are made from eucalyptus and I will never buy any other sheets again.  Now they can be a little pricey, but they are an investment that will last you a really long time!  We have them on every bed in our house! 

Grab this great set while it is on sale still!  It's honestly one of my favorite home purchases! 

XoXo - Jamie 

Organizing A Pantry for $100 or Less!

I think I have hit full blow "nesting" mode because I suddenly have had the urge to organize everything in my house! One of the things that I desperately wanted to get organized was the pantry in our kitchen.  Now the pantry we have isn't huge, it actually started out as a broom closet but I quickly convinced my husband this wasn't the most efficient use of space and asked him to install some shelving.  After the broom closet was converted, I sort of just threw a bunch of stuff in there, but quickly found it was getting harder and harder to find things, things were expiring, we were opening multiple packages of the same thing....it was a mess! 

To give you an idea, here's what it looked like BEFORE! What an unorganized mess! 

It's pretty apparent from the picture that something needed to be done, so I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration.  There were some great general ideas, but a lot of the pictures featured these LARGE, gorgeous pantries that you could walk into or at least fit a ton of stuff in.  Unfortunately, I was still working with my broom closet so I knew I would have to measure and be a little methodical when organizing it. So, below I'm recapping the steps I took to make sure things would fit before I headed out shopping.

Step 1: Measure the height and depth of your shelving.  My shelves vary in height and they certainly are not very deep, so I needed to make sure I took proper measurements so I didn't have to make multiple trips to the store to pick up all of the organization supplies. 

Step 2: Estimate how many containers you will need and what they will be used for.  I started out with my cereal - on average, I have about 3 boxes of cereal open at any one time, so I figured I would need at least 3 containers to hold that.  Then I moved on to things like canned goods, I wanted to determine how many cans I keep in my pantry normally.  I estimated around about 15 between soups and things like tomatoes and vegetables.  If there are other things you'd like to keep in storage containers that seal, then make sure you also account for those items.  Lastly, I tried to estimate about how many open containers I would need for things like granola bars, snack items, etc.  You can do this by using a shoebox as a good estimator for how many can fit across your shelf. 

Step 3: Go shopping! I picked up the majority of my supplies at the Container Store, but if you don't have any interest in shopping there or there isn't one close to you, you can find these items online and through retailers like Amazon as well.  I will link everything I bought throughout this post!  I set a budget for myself for around $100.  I knew I wanted all BPA free plastic and also some higher quality sealing containers for the things like cereal that I wanted to keep fresh for a long time.  

OKAY - now it is time to clear out the mess and start ORGANIZING! This is the fun part! Or at least I thought so...............


STEP BY STEP GUIDE to the ORGANIZATION

STEP 1: REMOVE EVERYTHING: You'll want to start with a completely clean and open space so you can see what you are working with! 

STEP 2: PLAY AROUND WITH THE LAYOUT - In this part you'll want to lay out everything you bought in order to determine if you have enough things to store all of your items and also to figure out how you want to space the containers, what things you want on what shelves, etc.  Play around with it for a while!  You'll notice that the picture I took here with spacing everything out ended up being a little different from how I actually ended up organizing the pantry.  

STEP 3: ORGANIZE & LABEL - Now it's time to actually start making some progress.  After you've figured out where you want to place everything, you can start labeling and organizing.  I opted to use adhesive chalkboard stickers and a Chalk Ink marker for my labeling, but you can print labels or make them however you want, put your own spin on it!  The thing I like about the chalkboard labels is that you can easily wipe them clean and re-write if you make a mistake or change what is in your containers.  You can also write directly on the bins and containers if they are plastic, glass, etc. with the Chalk Ink markers!

For the containers, I chose a variety of different types of containers and bins.  With the cereal, I knew I wanted to get the sealing OXO POP containers which help to lock in freshness since cereal seems to always go stale (gross)!  If you have a lot of different foods you plan to store in your pantry like pasta, grains, etc., I recommend purchasing an OXO POP Set like this one.  I then found some smaller bins with handles (I purchased the SMALL size) for things like granola and cereal bars.  At the Container Store, there was also an awesome deal on clear shoebox size bins.  If you bought a case of 5, you saved 20%, making each container about $1.60 each..pretty good deal if you ask me! I also found open stackable bins for soup cans and they are the perfect width for large and smaller cans - I got the MEDIUM size!  All of the fancier things made specifically to store cans wouldn't fit into my narrow pantry so when I found these, I figured I'd give them a shot and they are perfect! You can easily stack cans on top of each other but also see everything that you are storing for easy access. They even came with labels already attached so all I needed to do was write on them.

When organizing, I tried to group things by category.  At the top of the pantry we have a really narrow shelf so I tried to come up with some solutions for it.  I realized that it could easily fit bottled drinks like Gatorade which take up a ton of room in a cabinet.  I also have s'mores stuff for the summer, so I figured I would group all of those items together so when we entertain, it is easy to grab the whole bin out and have everything in one place.  I placed all cereal and breakfast items together on one shelf and just below that shelf I grouped together things like granola bars, breakfast bars, and protein bars.  I figured this would make it easier to find and for my husband to find the things that he wants without rummaging through various shelves and messing up the beautiful organization! On the next shelf I grouped together snacks, chips, pretzels, and cookies. Below that shelf, I placed my canned goods like soups, veggies, and broths.  I tried to organize the canned goods by type.  For example, canned tomatoes placed together and cooking soups placed together.  The idea is that when you go to cook, you don't have to spend time sifting through various bins to find what you need.  

One big thing I figured out is it is always important to utilize floor space! Now I can see people saying ew, not going to put my food on the floor, and my response is you don't have to!  Use any space below your shelves to store miscellaneous items that you don't want taking up space elsewhere in your house, but that you use frequently and want easy access to.

As you can see in the picture above, I used my floor space to hold things like our dog's food.  By the way, don't spend tons of money on those fancy dog food bins, head over to Home Depot or any hardware store and pick up an airtight bucket!  I found this one that is food grade on Amazon! You can fit a ton of food in it and the lid seals even better than some of the specially designed dog food containers do! Now, back to the floor storage...Aside from the dog food, I decided to use a small set of storage drawers for things like paper plates, napkins, and koozies (don't ask me why we have SO MANY koozies) all things that I hate cluttering up my cabinets with! I also had an extra shoe box bin so I decided to put all of my reusable shopping bags in it!  This way, I might ACTUALLY remember to use them.

STEP 4: UTILIZE DOOR SPACE - Don't forget that your door is also useable space in your pantry! Now at some point I'll probably try to make even better utilization of it, but for now, it's the perfect place to keep a calendar, since I can't remember anything these days and also those dreaded plastic grocery bags! Does anyone else feel like they haunt you?  They are everywhere! I highly recommend getting one of these cloth bag holders because you can easily hang it on the door and it doesn't take up any space and they won't be falling out everywhere! 

You can see how I utilized the door space and finally the FINISHED PRODUCT! 

I've linked all of the products for you within the step by step guide so you can get organized too!  By no means do you need to use everything that I did, but I found that these products worked really well for me and also for spaces that are shallow and don't have a ton of room.  Let me know if you have any questions - you can always email me directly or reply in the comments below! 

HAPPY ORGANIZING! 

XoXo - Jamie 

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