Organize Your Pantry and Tackle the Mess for Good!
Whether you have a big walk-in pantry to organize or something smaller, having an organized space can make things much more efficient in the kitchen, not to mention upkeep and cleaning a breeze. So, take a look at these tips and tricks that will make an easy to access storage space for your home.
Starting with the Right Supplies
While you may be tempted to go out and grab pretty baskets and containers, it’s a good idea to start out with a few other supplies first and then get to the really fun stuff a bit later. When you start out, be sure you have a pen and paper, labels and/or label maker, cleaning supplies, permanent marker, dry erase marker, and trash bags, and recycling bins.
Yes, you’re going to want to get some pretty containers, bins, and baskets, so as you work, use a pen and paper to take notes of baskets and containers that you will need to make things organized and easy to access. That way you don’t buy a bunch of storage items that won’t end up working. When it is time to pick up those pretty containers, consider shopping here. We’ve got a variety of metal farmhouse containers that are fun and pretty, but hard-working too! We are launching a new 4 pk canister set and flour canister that would be GREAT in getting your pantry organized.
Whether you are planning to tackle this project seasonally, annually, or just a one time task, here is a step-by-step guide:
- Set Up a Work Area – This area will be a countertop, table, or another open area where you can empty out your pantry and use it as a workspace. Set your recycling and trash cans near to this area, too.
- Empty Out the Pantry – Literally take everything out of your pantry. As you go, sort items into the following categories – toss (expired food and empty boxes/wrappers), recycle (empty boxes and containers that are recyclable), donate (food that isn’t expired, but that you no longer want), move (items that you want to put in a different area of your home), and keep. As you create the keep area, sort this category into smaller sections such as snacks, baking, canned items, etc. This is the part of the plan that gets really messy, but we promise, it will be MUCH better when it’s over and will be worth the short period of chaos.
- Clean Everything – Whether you are working with a small cabinet space or a full pantry, do some deep cleaning. Start at the top of the pantry and work your way down. Then sweep and mop the floors.
- Decanting Items – This is where you will have the most impact on the look of your pantry. Here is where you will decant items into baskets and clear containers. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to make this happen. You can find both things on a budget. But having baskets and containers that match will make your pantry look so much more organized. Consider shopping at discount stores or upcycling mason jars.
Containers will save space because they will take up every last inch of your pantry. You will be able to stack them on top of each other, put larger ones behind the smaller ones you place in front, etc. As far as baskets go, consider a neutral color that you can add more containers to in the future that will likely match. You can find these at discount stores, too.
Root vegetables need to be stored in a dark space, but it must also be well ventilated. Consider using wire magazine files that have the bottoms lined with parchment paper or shelf paper so they are mess-free. Just use the bottom of the basket as a template to cut the paper of your choosing.
When putting things back into the pantry, you will want to group similar items not just because it looks good, but because it will look good too. Some items, like cookie cutters, are very decorative when stored in a glass jar.
You may see one issue with this though – if everything is in a jar, how do you know when it expires? Here is where your labels come in. You can either print or write a pretty label to put on the container, or – our all-time favorite – simply write the expiration date on the glass container with a dry erase marker.
- Arrange Items into Zones – This is one of the last steps but is crucial for maximizing the full potential of your pantry organization project. This is where you will create a home for each item in your pantry, and an area that hopefully, the members of your family will learn and continue to use. This is where you are going to put everything back in the pantry, but organized by zone. Here are suggestions for zones for your pantry: emergency supplies, paper products, snacks, canned goods, breakfast items, baking ingredients, pasta, quick meals, beverages, and cleaning supplies/household items. Add pockets and hooks to the back of the door so that you are utilizing every single inch. Don’t waste any space!
- Label Your Containers – Don’t put away that label maker yet! When everything is labeled, there is no excuse for things getting put away in the wrong spot. Use a label maker to create labels to place on containers and baskets. If they can’t stick, use clips to fasten them to the baskets.
And that’s it! You now have a perfectly organized space where everything is easy to find and easy to put back in the right space. Enjoy!