Are you ready to have a brand new pantry for years in a fraction of the cost? I would say you can do it in under $100 depending on what you have on hand. I have one of those corner pantries typical for newer homes but my pantry organization strategy applies to any pantry.
My Pantry Before
Reassess Existing Pantry Contents
Take everything out of the pantry.
Throw away expired and junk foods.
Donate tools, foods and items you haven’t used for over 12 months.
Zones are areas where similar foods are grouped. Grains go with grains, snacks with snacks, resealable plastic bags next to snacks etc. Depending on how many people in the family, your lifestyle and taste preferences, you might have different zones than me. But here is my list.
Glass Jar Zones
Nuts and Seeds
Resealable plastic bags
Oils and vinegars
Cans and jars
Big & heavy items like produce and snack bags
Move Bulk Items & Smelly Produce Out of the Pantry
If you shop at Costco like me, you will have a lot of doubles and bulk items. Anything that’s extra goes on a garage shelf or into a storage room in the basement. Storing everything in the pantry will create chaos and many items will be sittign there for months without being used. Refill as you need to.
Club soda cans
Tomato sauce, paste and diced tomatoes cans
Coconut milk cans
Bags of rice, pasta, quinoa, oats, sugar etc.
Onions (nobody wants that pantry scent)
Buy Glass Jars, Bins and Labels
Now that you know what you have on hand, do your math how many jars and bins you need. Bulk (dry and liquid) ingredients go in glass jars and individual pre-packaged and small items in bins. I highly recommend to get clear plastic or glass jars for anything that can “live” in a jar. While cacao powder comes pre-packaged, tossing it inside the pantry creates a chaos. Having all ingredients in see-through containers saves so much time when cooking and a lot of money when shopping.
I like the look of OXO plastic containers but they are pricey. Plus if I can use glass, I will, for health reasons. I went with regular canning jars you can find on Amazon or Walmart, and bins from HomeSense (HomeGoods).
If you would like to turn metal lids into labels, all you have to do is buy black chalk paint and your desired lid rim paint at a craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels. Make sure to get paint that goes on metal and apply with a foamy brush. As for writing, I used a chalk marker.
Organize and Keep Mostly Used Items within an Easy Reach
Store mostly used items at an eye level and within an easy reach: grains, spices, snacks, resealable plastic bags, baking.
Place a few bins on the very top shelves and store smaller packaged and often used refills there: coffee, spices, seeds, baking.
Place heavy and large items into bins on a floor (with wheels): cans, jars, oils, produce, Costco size snack bags.
If you have wire shelves, it helps to place condiments and vinegar bottles in a bin.
Create “a clean corner” where you store a broom, small vacuum and aprons.
And last but not least, embrace imperfection! While it’s nice to look at white marble open shelves kitchens with pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, reality is majority of us can’t have a magazine perfect kitchen due to financial or impractical reasons. Have you seen my medicine bin? Yeah…
If you don’t spend minutes looking for garlic powder consider you have successfully organized your pantry!