Table of Contents Hide
- Pantry Organization: Serenity in a Closet!
- E.A.T Your Way to Pantry Organization
- Eliminate: Pantry Organization Step 1
- Assign a Home: Pantry Organization Step 2
- Tools: Pantry Organization Step 3
- Pantry Organization 101: Contain the Chaos – Canisters are Essential!
- Labels: Key Ideas to an Organized Pantry!
- Pantry Organizing Ideas: While You’re at It – Let’s Label Everything!
- Next Pantry Organizing Idea: Use Vertical Space!
- Use Hidden Space! Handy Pantry Organizing Ideas
- Final Ideas for an Organized Pantry
- Now, Let’s Hear Your Own Pantry Organization Ideas!
Pantry Organization: Serenity in a Closet!
The pantry is a boon of extra space for a kitchen. Some things like brooms, mops, extra dry goods, and recycling bins simply do not fit in a regular kitchen cupboard; this is why having a pantry is a great asset.
In the thirteen years, I’ve been married, my husband and I have lived with several pantry situations; in one house we enjoyed a spacious corner pantry, with floor-to-ceiling shelving; in our current house, we have a tiny closet for our pantry – meaning organization ideas have become more important than ever.
Whatever the size of your pantry, a little time invested into pantry organization will result in a much more efficient space, safer food storage, and less frustration on your part.
In this article I’ll lay out how to tackle pantry organization; I’ll suggest some systems to implement in the pantry, and I’ll describe the types of organizers that can make a big difference in your pantry. Let’s jump in!
E.A.T Your Way to Pantry Organization
To begin our pantry organization project, it’s important to start on the right foot. To really get the pantry in order, I recommend the same process as I do for organizing a kitchen:
First, we must eliminate (E), then assign (A) a logical home for things, and finally employ a few tools (T) that will help keep the many items in the pantry organized and accessible… you can remember this process easier because it spells E.A.T.!
Eliminate: Pantry Organization Step 1
Let’s begin our organization project by going to the pantry and taking everything out of it. I mean everything! Lay it all out on a nearby table or even the kitchen counters, and take stock of what you find.
Toss any food items that are expired or have been open for longer than six months. Set aside any unopened food items that are still good but that you aren’t likely to use up; your local food bank will be glad to have them.
Now that you’ve pared down the contents to what is usable, group the remaining items according to type; put pasta with pasta, cans with cans – and so on.
Now is a great time to examine any of the cleaning tools you may keep in your pantry. In our pantry, in addition to extra foodstuffs, I keep a broom and dustpan, a mini broom, and a recycling bin.
If you keep similar items in your pantry, take a close look at any cleaning equipment and see if it’s time to replace it. Take a moment to wipe out the recycling bin. And while the pantry is empty, give the shelves and walls a quick wipe-down with hot soapy water.
Assign a Home: Pantry Organization Step 2
Now that the pantry is fresh and clean, and the contents are pared down, it’s time for the next step in pantry organization: assigning a home. Take a look at the shelving you have and the storage you need, and try to assign a logical home for every item.
If you cook with pasta several times a week, try to keep those products within easy reach. If you make chili only a few times a year, the beans don’t need to be as accessible. Try to keep similar items together.
One of my very favorite pantry organization ideas is to group small items you use together into a small tote or basket, so you can pull them out together.
I borrowed this idea from a friend of mine, and it works great! For baking supplies, for example, have a tote with all your standard small baking supplies: baking powder and soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt… that way there are fewer random items floating around the pantry, and when you go to bake, you only need to grab one thing and bring it to the counter.
This is one of the best ideas for pantry organization – and works in your kitchen cupboards too.
Tools: Pantry Organization Step 3
Now that you’ve eliminated the unnecessary, assigned a home to the rest, and given the pantry a cleaning, you’re ready for the next idea in pantry organization: sourcing tools to help you make the most of your pantry space! I must confess, this is the fun part for me; I love to store my dry goods in pretty canisters, and adding attractive labels makes the pantry look great.
In my world, if things look nice, I’m much more motivated to keep them tidy – these pantry organizers really help me with keeping up my organization systems in the pantry, for sure.
Here are the top five tools and organizers I recommend for the pantry!
Pantry Organization 101: Contain the Chaos – Canisters are Essential!
Keeping the food items in your pantry organized and accessible can be a challenge – until you enlist the help of containers. A selection of clear plastic or glass canisters are essential pantry organizers – and will keep your pantry products fresh, visible, and accessible.
These come in multitudes of sizes and shapes and are usually made of glass or plastic. Although I certainly love the look of a large glass jar holding my supplies, my ultimate favorites for pantry organization ideas are these by OXO.
Note the size and shape – they are square, which makes them much more efficient in terms of shelf space: these canisters can be stacked or lined up, depending on your storage needs and preferences.
They are perfect for holding all types of items – pasta, cereals, beans, grains, flour, nuts, and more. Since they are clear, you can easily see the contents and notice when something is running low and needs replenishing.
Best of all, these come with lids that create an airtight seal, which is extremely important when it comes to keeping your dry goods fresh. The lids are easily washable, the containers are durable and BPA free, and these come in just about any size imaginable! What’s not to love with these essential pantry organizers?
Labels: Key Ideas to an Organized Pantry!
Of course, when you store your dry goods in canisters, you can easily see the contents inside, but it is still a good idea to put a label on each one. That way, there will never be confusion from other family members as to whether that white stuff is wheat flour or baking powder.
The key here is to find labels that are large enough to write on, are easy to read, and won’t come off during washing – and that can be changed in the future if you decide to switch around your pantry organization.
As a bonus, labels give the contents of your pantry a cohesive look – which is a great thing all around.
When it comes to pantry organization ideas, I love chalkboard labels like these for their visibility. White chalk on a black label will always be easy to read, and it stands out clearly against a clear container.
Chalkboard labels are easy to come by these days, but use caution – not all are made equal! I highly recommend this type, by nicebottles, because they are both reusable and removable.
This pack comes with a selection of different shapes and sizes – giving you lots of flexibility in use. Incredibly, these are backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee – so you know you will be using these organizers in your pantry for years to come.
Of course, with chalkboard labels, you will need chalk to write on them – and the best option is to pick up a chalk pen. These give the look of chalk without the dusty mess – and can be washed off with soap and water when you’d like to change the label.
Although these can be found in many colors, a simple white one will do for this task – keep it handy for your pantry organization needs and it will serve you well.
Pantry Organizing Ideas: While You’re at It – Let’s Label Everything!
It’s probably clear by now that I love to put labels on things; labels are such awesome ideas for pantry organization – and for the rest of your life too.
If you don’t yet own a label maker, I highly recommend investing in one – they are inexpensive and come in handy not only in the pantry but in every area of household organization.
I don’t recommend label makers for your canisters – because the labels are smaller and can be difficult to see against the contents of your canisters.
Instead, I suggest you use the label maker to designate the shelves of your pantry, to make sure the order remains the way you want it to.
For example, if my kids – who are not exactly known for being pantry organizers – take all the cereal canisters out in the morning, they always know where to put them away in the pantry, because I’ve put a label titled ‘CEREAL‘ on the shelf underneath the cereal spot.
In a busy household, everyone needs to be reminded where everything belongs – having shelves in the pantry labeled is one of the best ideas for organization.
DYMO is the leading brand in label makers and they offer a wide variety of sizes and purposes. I like this one for household use – it’s inexpensive, small enough to easily store and use, and comes with plenty of options should you want them.
The rolls of label tape come in many materials – even fabric! – meaning you should get plenty of use from this item around the rest of your home. And, unlike some label makers, the replacement label rolls for this model are inexpensive.
Next Pantry Organizing Idea: Use Vertical Space!
Although a pantry is usually compact, vertical space can almost always be utilized. One of the best ideas for the organization in your pantry is to get brooms, mops, dustpans, and other items off the floor by installing a wall rack to hold them.
Nothing is more annoying than opening the pantry door only to have a broom attack you – or tripping on the dustpan while trying to empty the recycling. The solution to this issue is to contain them by attaching them to the wall.
I like this model because it holds multiple sizes of items, and also features small hooks to hang smaller items on.
Use Hidden Space! Handy Pantry Organizing Ideas
Big or small, your pantry likely has a door. Our last corner pantry did – and I took advantage of it.
A door is not something we often think of as handy storage space, but with a pantry organizer rack like this one by ClosetMaid – the door becomes a shelving unit in itself and adds a lot of functional storage to your pantry organization arsenal.
And, this pantry organizer provides handy access to things you reach for frequently. Over the years this proves to be an incredibly worthwhile idea for maintaining the organization of your pantry.
Final Ideas for an Organized Pantry
Before I leave you to your pantry organization, here are a few more ideas to keep in mind.
- Try to keep food storage off the floor – this is worth mentioning, especially in warmer climates. Pests are attracted to food and are hard to get rid of once they realize your pantry is an easy buffet.
Keeping food items off the floor is an easy way to avoid this headache entirely. If you must store items on the floor – large bags of flour, oats, or rice, for example – a good solution is to transfer these to large plastic totes with a tight sealing lid.
- Try to leave some breathing space in the pantry. You will inevitably need to add more items to your pantry foods supply – so it’s always a good idea to leave a little room on the shelf, and even to purchase a few extra containers while you’re at it – so that you have more than enough that fit your pantry organization system.
- If you decide to try a large glass canister for storing flour or other baking needs, check to be sure the jar’s mouth is wide enough to fit a measuring cup into – it can be really frustrating trying to get often-used supplies out of a narrow-necked jar.
Now, Let’s Hear Your Own Pantry Organization Ideas!
So you’ve finished clearing out the pantry. You’ve figured out where the best place is for things to live. You’ve stored your pantry staples in attractive containers that make for easy access, maintenance, and re-stocking – and labeled them neatly so that everyone in the family knows how to maintain your pantry organization system.
What’s left to do now? Stand back and enjoy the view of your beautiful, functional pantry!
I guarantee that reaching into the pantry (as I do multiple times throughout the day) is a joy when the pantry is fresh, clean, and organized. And as always, I would love to hear any fun pantry organization ideas you come up with in your own home. Different families have different needs, and sometimes people come up with some really creative and interesting solutions.
If you have ideas to share on pantry organization, by all means, please do so in the comments – it might also be the perfect idea for someone else!