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How to Organize a Pantry in 5 Easy Steps How to Organize a Pantry in 5 Easy Steps
February 26, 2018
by Olena

How to Organize a Pantry in 5 Easy Steps

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

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.

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

My Pantry Before

MY LATEST RECIPES

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.

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

Create Zones

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

Grains

Spices

Baking

Pasta

Nuts and Seeds

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

Bin Zones

Snacks

Resealable plastic bags

Baking

Refills

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

Oils

Bags of rice, pasta, quinoa, oats, sugar etc.

Onions (nobody wants that pantry scent)

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

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).

8 oz Jelly Jars for Spices

32 oz Ball Jars for Grains, Nuts, Baking

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

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.

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

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.

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

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!

How to organize any pantry dirt cheap with what you have on hand and widely available canning glass jars.

About Olena

Hi, I’m Olena and this is my healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m here to help you with “What’s for dinner?”.

Made a recipe? Tag @ifoodreal or #ifoodreal on Instagram. I would love to share in the “Look what you made” stories.

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2 comments on “How to Organize a Pantry in 5 Easy Steps

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  1. You can tell I love your website (given the number of posts recently). We are redoing our kitchen, and I am so excited that I am getting a dedicated pantry space. I love your neatly painted jar lids for keeping things labeled. I have another method I use and am sharing. I too use glass mason jars for bulk items and items I remove from plastic bags & cardboard boxes. To label my jar lid, I put a piece of scotch tape or packing tape on the top of the lid; using a black marker, I write the item name and date it was stored. When I refresh the item, I simply remove the tape and redo. I use this same method when placing leftovers in the refrigerator. I never have to guess how long something has been stored and if it’s still safe to eat.

    1. Hi Wendi. I love that you talk to me.:) I expect you cooking even more in your new kitchen?!:)
      I love the tape concept too. So easy! I hope you enjoy your new space. I can’t imagine if I ever have a kitchen without a pantry, what would I do?! I’m sure I will make sure that never to happen haha.