Quarantine organization

10 Tips To Organize Your Pantry And Keep It That Way

10 Tips To Organize Your Pantry And Keep It That Way

How organized is your pantry? Here are 10 easy tips to get you started.

Getting organized is not always the hard part. Often, staying organized is the problem! This is where organizational systems come into play. They create spaces that not only look great and function well, but are almost SELF-PERPETUATING.

Most of us don't have custom, professionally designed pantry solutions, like the stunners you see from companies like The Project Neat. But, that doesn't mean you can't create functional systems on your own and even on a budget.

Pantries can be difficult as the inventory is constantly changing. If you cook much at home, you're continually taking things out and maybe not putting them back in the right spot. Kids and partners can also perpetuate the mess.

Especially if you're not too fond of cooking, it's no fun searching through the abyss of a cluttered pantry, keeping you from getting a meal on the table. An organized pantry really helps to streamline the whole cooking process and decrease your daily stress!

1. Take EVERYTHING out

For a thorough pantry cleansing, you MUST take everything out, wipe down shelves, assess your space, and see exactly what items you're dealing with. It's helpful to measure your space, as well. Most importantly, measure the depth of your shelves. This helps avoid under utilizing space by getting bins that are too small and leaving unused space on the shelf and also getting them too big and having them hang over the edge.

2. Put similar items together - make zones

This is fairly self-explanatory, however, making zones, like "baking," "oils," "spices," "grains," etc. makes it so much easier to know exactly where in your pantry to look for something. And, if you bring in a new item, you know where it should live.

I want to add that using big, open bins, like this one or this one are so helpful in grouping like items (they're also great in the fridge). Not only are they great for grouping, but they keep everything tidied and contained on the shelf. The clear acrylic ones are nice, however, there are always bins at any dollar store you can pick up that also work just fine!

Here are some sample "zone" ideas:

  • Baking Supplies
  • Entertaining - cocktail napkins, skewers, toothpicks, trays
  • Breakfast - cereals, oatmeals, pancake mixes, coffee accouterments, any shelf stable milks (almond, oat, etc.)
  • Oils
  • Spices
  • Pastas
  • Beans
  • Other dry goods - lentils, couscous, quinoa, barley, and more
  • Overflow kitchen tools

Recommended article: Top 12 Productivity Tips and Tricks

3. Put most used items together

This one was revolutionary for me. Store your most used items together and IN THE SAME BIN. If you keep the things you use almost every time you cook dinner together, instead of rooting around the pantry for salt, pepper, olive oil, your favorite spice, cooking spray, whatever; you just grab ONE BIN. Take the whole thing out and put it on the counter. Boom.

4. Clear Containers

Containers run the gamut from $1 - $40. So, pick a style that fits your budget (dollar stores often have containers that work just fine). They don't HAVE to be beautiful or even all matching (although that is nice). The point is to get containers that are stackable, preferably clear and with wide openings for easy scooping. They can be glass or plastic, find one that works for you.

Store bulk cereals, rice, and other dry goods in plastic containers to easily tidy up your pantry. They help you quickly see what's inside and how much you have left. And oftentimes, it's easier to keep things fresh in a jar, rather than trying to reseal opened packaging. Airtight containers are especially wonderful, if you have ant or pantry moth issues.

Pro tip regarding pantry moths: freeze any container you bring into your house to kill the eggs and larva (eww, gross, I know). Also, pouring the contents into a clear bin will help you identify if there are any moths in the original packaging.

Make sure you've taken inventory and figured out how many and what size containers you need before you head out to shop!

Pro tip: After decanting an item into your clear container, cut out the nutrition info and cooking directions from the original packaging and stick it in the container. This way, you won't forget what to do with it later!

5. Label everything!

There are a million kinds of labels. Some people prefer a label machine for uniformity (I have this one and it does the trick, if you don't mind plain labels). I personally prefer a reusable label, where you can put a pretty sticker on a canister and then write the words with a chalk pen or marker and then wash it off if the contents change. However, next I time I really redo my pantry, I'll probably switch over to the vinyl decals, like these beauties!

There are also tons of free printable pantry labels floating around out there, if you want to get a colored or clear sticker and print and cut yourself for a minimal dollar investment. That being said, labeling makes it way easier to find things, even when you can see the contents in clear containers. For example, I have approximately 34,968 kinds of flour and they all look the freaking same.

Above: a beautifully designed pantry by Gilat Tunit of The Project Neat - theprojectneat.com

6. Box it up

Get bins and baskets to hold your grouped items. The Internet is awash with beautiful bins and baskets, which is awesome. But, if you can't come to terms with shelling out tons o' cash for bins, head to a dollar store, HomeGoods, Walmart, or even Michaels for great deals!

Don't want to spend a dime? Modify some Amazon boxes and use those instead of bins to contain your groupings.

7. Get risers

Oh man, I love these things! I use this 3 tiered organizer from Amazon. Not only does it help you SEE what you have in the back of your shelf, but it makes it easier to REACH them, as well.

8. Lazy Susan

If you don't have space on the inside of your pantry door for a spice organizer, then this is my personal favorite solution. I have this double level stainless steel one from Amazon and, honestly, it's a tiny bit wobbly when loaded down with spices on top, BUT, it's the widest one I found, which is important to me. I have a lot of spices! The lazy Susan is a great pantry solution. It maximizes space on the shelves and ensures you can see everything you have. You can also use them for items other than spices, such as oils. If you get one for oils or something with tall containers, be sure to only get a single level one.

Store your most used items together and IN THE SAME BIN. If you keep the things you use almost every time you cook dinner together, instead of rooting around the pantry for salt, pepper, olive oil, your favorite spice, cooking spray, whatever; you just grab ONE BIN. Take the whole thing out and put it on the counter. Boom.

9. Contain the plastic bag mess

I love this organizer, which is great for hanging on a wall in the pantry or even on the inside of the door. It keeps the bags easily accessible, yet out of the way.

10. Assess every two weeks

First, stand back and admire your work! For the most part, once you've set up your systems, they will need very little maintenance. However, to ensure that your pantry stays beautiful, set aside a little time (in your already crammed life, I know, I know) and make sure to consolidate where you have doubles, toss out expired items, wipe down shelves, tweak systems, and relabel as needed.

These reassessments mean you (hopefully) never have to completely make over your pantry again! Do you have any great pantry system tips to share?

As always, I'd love to hear any comments or questions you have about pantry organizing! Please share your progress with me, in the comments below, or on Instagram, with the hashtag #midniteoilmedia.

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Posted by Kelly O'Toole in Efficiency, Home Organization, 0 comments