It’s crazy that something as simple as organizing your pantry can make you (and I do mean me) so happy. An organized pantry is beautiful, efficient and makes life so much easier!
When we moved in a few years ago the pantry was a mess. It had wire closet shelves which allowed small items to fall through and angled brackets which severely cut into the usable space. Not only that, several of the brackets were pulling out of the walls, so I was hesitant to put anything remotely heavy on the shelves.
Not only did my husband not agree that a pantry renovation was a priority, he didn’t see the need to change it at all! Just like I saw absolutely no need to paint the garage walls and epoxy the floor, but I digress. So what does any self-sufficient woman do in this situation? Wait until said husband leaves town for a few days and invite her sister to come help her tackle the project while he’s gone, of course.
It’s been three years since my pantry makeover and I still smile every time I open the doors. I have since organized my daughter’s pantry as well as my daughter-in-law’s pantry. And unless you’re ripping everything out and starting over (like I did with mine) it’s an easy, quick and fairly inexpensive project that pays big dividends.
Let’s get to it!
There are several keys to making your pantry as efficient as possible, no matter how spacious or how tiny:
- Clear Containers – Glass jars, mason jars or clear plastic. The choice is yours but make sure they’re airtight to keep everything fresh. Not only will they take up less space than original packaging but you’ll be able to see at a glance when you’re running low on something.
- Baskets or Bins – I used plastic bins in various sizes from Target but feel free to use whatever floats your boat! It doesn’t really matter if they’re wire baskets or wicker baskets or plastic bins. The goal is to corral the clutter into groups so it not only looks neater but it’s easy to find exactly what you need in a hurry. It’s also nice to contain spills that may happen with oils and sticky pantry goods, which is why I went with plastic.
- Turntables – Using a lazy Susan in corners is a game changer. No more pulling out cans and bottles to get to something shoved way back in a dark corner.
- Labels – My OCD may be showing here but even though you may know exactly where something is, can you honestly expect your husband or kids to remember? Or to put it back in the proper spot when they’re done? Save yourself a ton of headaches and LABEL EVERYTHING.
- Use Dead Space – The walls, the floor and even the doors are fair game. Put a rack on the wall, hooks on the back of the door and pull-out organizers on the floor. I bought cheap wood crates at Lowes, stained them, attached casters and BOOM – roll out storage for crackers, nuts and snacks. I also used wire organizers with pull out drawers that typically go under a sink. Perfect storage for potatoes, onions and garlic.
The supplies for your organization don’t have to be expensive. I bought my glass jars at Home Goods but I bought my daughter’s and daughter-in-law’s at Hobby Lobby when glass decor was half off (which is every other week). My sister and I built a wall dispenser for canned goods for my pantry but I ordered inexpensive wire organizers that sit on the shelf (Amazon) for my daughter and daughter-in-law.
Take inventory of everything you will be transferring to clear containers. Then you can make a list of how many jars and what sizes you will need (extra large for flour, small for baking powder, medium for cornmeal and extra tall for long noodles like spaghetti, etc).
As far as labels go, I used my beloved Cameo Silhouette to make the labels for the glass jars and to print on the bin labels I bought at Target. If you don’t have a Silhouette or Cricut (or have a good friend with one) there are tons of very reasonably priced pantry label options on Etsy.
Once you’ve rounded up all your supplies the fun can really begin! Pull everything out of the pantry (yes everything). Throw away anything expired (duh) and be amazed at all the duplicate stuff you bought when you thought you were out of something.
Transfer all your staples (flour, sugar, oats, chocolate chips, etc) to the clear containers and label them. Place the rest of your items into whatever groups make sense for you. For example, I have ethnic sauces and vinegars grouped on one turntable, shake and smoothie ingredients in a bin together and all my pasta in another bin.
That’s really all there is to it! Now stand back and admire your Pinterest-worthy pantry!