Don’t you hate trying to find an ingredient in your pantry because, well, it’s a disaster? How about buying an item only to find more of it hidden or stashed under piles of stuff in your pantry?
If this is you, then let’s see if we can do something about that. Let’s organize your pantry so you can stop wasting food, time, and money.
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Organize Your Pantry
The following steps should be followed whether you have a small pantry or a large walk-in type. However, I will go over some tips for each at the end to help you use the most of this space.
I’ve also created a PDF of pantry labels. These are free and located in our resource library. Just fill out the form at the end of this post to receive your exclusive password.
Empty your Pantry
Go ahead and start emptying out your pantry. For this post, I chose to redo my pantry. I emptied it out and removed the wire shelving. I opted to put in wooden shelves.
As you empty your pantry, try to group like items together such as baking needs, snacks, beverages, etc. Toss out anything that has expired or looks as if it has.
Go through boxed items and check to see if it has been opened. If the inner liner wasn’t sealed correctly, toss it out.
Too many times my kids have opened a box of crackers or cereal and forgot to fold over the inner liner, causing it to go stale.
Now, if you have items that you ‘thought’ you were going to use, consider donating them if they have not expired.
Every once in a while I get a free item. If it is something my family normally does not consume, then I put it in a bag I keep for food bank donations.
Clean Your Pantry
After emptying the pantry, go ahead and give it a good clean. First, vacuum any crumbs and other debris. Then clean and wipe down any shelving.
For wooden shelves, wipe down any sticky messes and consider lining them if they are not lined. This will make it easy to wipe it down in the future.
If you have wire shelving, spray them with a cleaner. (I use a homemade cleaner made with 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and a teaspoon of Castille soap.)
Lay a towel on the floor, and starting from the top, spray shelves, then wipe down. For extra sticky messes, use a toothbrush to get in between wires.
Assessing Your Pantry Foods
Take a look at what you have left to store. Hopefully, you already have these grouped into categories. Determine if you need bins, canisters, jars, or baskets for your items.
If you have these things handy, then go ahead and transfer your food items into these.
Note that not everything needs to be taken out of its original packaging. Items I may transfer to bins are those my children get into such as cereal.
These items are hard to keep fresh if they forget to properly close the inner liner. The same goes for cookies and crackers that do not come in sealable packaging.
If your home is prone to getting occasional visits from small critters, then, by all means, put your food items like flour and chips in canisters and jars to keep them out.
Assessing Your Pantry
Take a look at your empty pantry and consider where you will place your items. You’ll want to make sure that you can see everything when you are done arranging your stuff.
Consider putting rarely used items high and often used items at around eye level and down. And depending on the age of your child, you want to keep their stuff reachable.
If you have a deep reach-in pantry, try arranging your items up against the wall as much as possible in a U-shape pattern.
This will allow you to reach in easily instead of pushing items out of your way to get to something. And it keeps everything visible.
Consider moving shelving if necessary. My pantry’s tallest
Now, my tallest
Other things to consider:
- add wallpaper to make your pantry pop
- paint your pantry white to brighten up the space (if you have no lighting)
- add lighting if it is really dim
I also lined my wooden shelves with contact paper so that I can easily wipe them down.
Label Your Bins
As you start to place items back into the pantry, consider labeling your bins. This will keep you, but mostly others, from placing items anywhere. Click here –> for custom labels for jars and other pantry storage containers.
Make it a no-excuses zone. When you are done with your pantry, go over it with family members. Show them where things go and don’t go.
If you are lucky to have a large pantry, consider using your space to help keep your kitchen from looking cluttered.
- place heavy appliances like a mixer on lower shelves
- dedicate a
- consider placing your recycling bins here too
I tried to optimize every inch of my small pantry. Here are some things I did.
Add an over-the-door organizer here to hold more items. Try attaching a magazine holder to the door and use it to hold things like foils, wraps, and even boxed spaghetti.
Below I added hooks and a dowel to the door to hold my garbage bags.
I also added hooks just inside the door on both sides of the pantry. Now I have a place for my broom and mop.
You can also take advantage of space under shelves with these under-the-shelf organizers.
For more clever ideas, check out Pinterest. There are countless ways to optimize your pantry space including using a hanger to clip your chips to using fishbowls for kids’ snacks.
I hope these steps help you get the clean and organized pantry you need and want.
Free Pantry Labels
To get your free pantry labels, fill out the form below:
Know someone who could use this post? Use the share buttons above and below this post to help them out with their pantry organization. For more organization in the kitchen:
- click here for decluttering and organizing your kitchen cabinets and drawers
- click here for decluttering and organizing your refrigerator
So, how do you organize your pantry? What hacks do you use? Let us know by commenting below.
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