10 Simple Steps to Organizing Your Pantry

pantry-organization

There is something about the holidays that makes me want to get organized. Come Jan. 1st you can almost always find me cleaning out a closet or organizing a cabinet in an attempt to dig us out from the whirlwind of baking, decorating, and gift giving from the previous month.

Well this year, I tried to get ahead of the game by tackling our pantry before the holidays. It was less smart planning on my part, and more my husband telling me we really needed to do something about it. If your husband is the one telling you something needs to be cleaned, then you really know it needs help!

pantry-organization

I've never had a pantry before moving to our new home in July, and I must say it was one of the things I was looking forward to the most. Last year at Christmas, I remember having baking goods stashed in grocery bags in our bedroom for lack of space in the kitchen. 

Having acquired a pantry for the first time, it took me a couple months to figure out how to make it most work for our needs. Here's the system I've come up with:

Tips for Organizing Your Pantry


1. Use a variety of different storage containers: I tried to invoke a little of California Closets' knack for making the perfect customized storage for different items - their pantry solutions offer everything from special inserts for silverware and spices to pull out baskets for linens. For a similar effect, I used a mix of glass jars, plastic containers with pourable lids, baskets, and small risers/shelves from Target.

pantry-organization

2. Keep an eye out for sales: Pantry storage containers can be pricey. My pantry is a hodge lodge of containers partly because I waited to find good deals. I've found the glass jars at Target to be reasonably priced and also think the Snapware line of plastic containers are a good value. Thrift stores are also a great place to find glass storage containers if you are willing to go with an eclectic mix.

3. Don't try to force everything into a pretty container: Who doesn't ooh and aah over those pantries in magazines where every single dry good is in a pretty glass jar. Unfortunately, in real life I need to keep my pasta in its bag so I have the cooking directions at hand, and emptying cereal out of the box into a glass container just doesn't make sense to me.

I opted for open baskets to reign in similar items. I found these great baskets at Target and have one dedicated to pasta, one to chips, and one for other snacks.

pantry-organization

I also used a basket to hold dish towels and another to hold all my baking supplies: 

pantry-organization

4. Prioritize air tight containers for the stuff you store the longest: In Texas it gets hot and humid in the summer, and baking items like flour and sugar can get icky and attract bugs if you don't store them well, so decided to put mine in Snapware containers with a pourable lid.

pantry-organization

5. Label, label, label: Labeling is a fun touch that automatically makes your pantry look organized. It's not that I necessarily needed a label on my cookie cutter jar to tell me what was in there but it made it look pretty nonetheless! 

pantry-organization

I used shipping tags (my favorite new craft supply) as well as these chalkboard labels which I love because they are respositionable (you can peel them off if you want to wash a container and put them back on afterwards). Chalkboard labels are also nice because you can relabel them if you change the contents of the container. However, they will smudge easily on containers you handle often. One trick - use white crayon instead of chalk. It doesn't smudge but still gives that chalkboard look.

6. Maximize your space with risers: I used inexpensive risers / can shelves to double my storage space for canned goods and condiments, as well as for our bread.

pantry-organization

7. Put the least used stuff highest up: On the highest shelf I have small appliances like our blender and ice cream maker that I use infrequently (and need to get on a ladder to reach). The next highest shelf holds cookbooks and baking supplies which I also don't use on a daily basis.

8. If you have young children, keep the tempting stuff out of reach: I keep the candy and cookies just out of reach from my girls so they don't think they can just help themselves when they want! I put less intresting paper towels and extra garbage bags on the bottom shelf.

9. Buy what your space holds: Pantries only look organized if they aren't overflowing with stuff. Go through your pantry and clean out old and expired items. Buying bulk is good, but if you can, try to avoid buying more than your pantry can hold.  

10. Maximize dead space: We stuck our garbage can and recycling bin on the floor to free up room in the kitchen and make use of the floor in the pantry. We also store extra drinks on the floor of the pantry.

pantry-organization

My pantry is looking a million times better than it did a month ago thanks to the addition of a few storage containers and labels:

pantry-organization

While it doesn't look quite as awesome as this one designed by California Closets, but it is a step in the right direction!

california-closets
Photo courtesy of California Closets

What other areas of the house are you anxious to organize in the New Year? Maybe all the electronics and knick knacks surrounding your entertainment center? Or the tools piling up in your garage? In addition to their pantry expertise, California Closets has awesome solutions for organizing your entertainment center or garage organization.

california-closets
Photo courtesy of California Closets

california-closets
Photo courtesy of California Closets
Want to see the other closets I've organized? Check out my girls' playroom and bedroom closets!

This post is sponsored by California Closets. All content and opinions are my own.

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