Organizing your pantry does not require a trip to the store. You can have a functioning and organized pantry without losing your mind. Promise!
If you do a Google search on how to organize your pantry you’ll find articles products, decanting pantry items, matching jars, and labels.
I totally see the appeal of those gorgeous photographs where everything looks clean, matching, and nothing is out of place. Here is the thing though… I live in the real world where I don’t always have the time or mental energy to decant all the pasta. Plus chic matching bins are not in my budget.
First Step To Organize Your Pantry: Remove Everything
The first step to organizing your pantry is to take everything out. You’ll likely make a giant mess before you get everything cleaned up. That’s always the way isn’t it?
Take everything out of the pantry and go ahead and give all the shelves a good wipe down. You made it this far so you might as well right.
Group Like With Like
Putting the pasta together, the canned goods together, etc is going to make it easier to find what you need. However, I do recommend that you first figure out what items you are reaching for the most often. Put those items that you need access to daily front and center so they are easy to get to.
Note: As you are putting things back into the pantry be sure to check the expiration dates.
Put any speciality items in the harder to reach areas. The items that you do not need to access very often can go in the back or on high shelves.
Using Bins And Containers To Organize Your Pantry
I stand by my previous statement that you do not need a trip to the store in order to organize your pantry. There is a time and a place for a few bins however.
I have a bin in my pantry holds sprinkles, chocolate chips, cookie cutters, and other items that I use for baking. Having these in a bin keeps them together (like with like) as well as contained. Without the bin sthey could easily get lost or just plain be in the way.
My mother in law has a bin that holds her plastic wrap, foil, and baggies. I have a totally different style of pantry and much larger containers of plastic wrap and foil so that would never work for me. My mother has a bin that holds the essential oils she uses in her kitchen. Each kitchen and pantry will be as unique as the person who runs it.
Whether or not you have something in your pantry that would benefit from a small bin is going to depend upon how often and what type of cooking you do. One thing that is for certain though is that you absolutely do NOT need matching bins. Look through your house FIRST to see if you already own something that will accomplish the task for you.
Decanting Items To Organize Your Pantry
As far as decanting… only decant the items that you know for sure you will be willing to decant faithfully after every single trip home from the grocery store.
I know you will hear not only about the appearance of decanting as well as it keeping your food fresh or preventing any critters from finding homes. Those are very valid things but at the end of the day if you aren’t going to use the fancy jars every single time you come home from the grocery store then there is really no point.
I decant my flour, white sugar, rice, and brown sugar. The end. You do not have to even decant those things if it won’t work for you. Or you can decant those things as well as all manner of pasta, cereals, grains, and what have you. The only rule is that you do what will work for you in the long term. If it only works for a week or a month then it doesn’t work.
Appliances In The Pantry
Depending upon the amount of space that you have available you may want to store some appliances in the pantry. I recommend that if you store an appliance in the pantry that it is one you do not use often.
Everyone is going to have a different tolerance for how many items can live on the counters before it feels cluttered. There is not a right or wrong answer for leaving some appliances on the kitchen counter. It is completely up to you and what you feel best with. Like many areas of homemaking this is another place where the home will be a reflection of the unique and individual people that live in it.
If you are lacking cabinet space I do want to encourage you to minimize down to only what you truly have space for. I am not suggesting you get rid of your wedding china. However, unless you are reaching for it monthly then it could be carefully stored until those special occasions and/or holidays.
Similarly, if you only have two children you do not really need 10 sippy cups. If there are three adults in the house do you really need access to 30 plates and 27 bowls? You get the idea. Do you best to make the most of what space you have available to you.
Organizing Your Pantry Never Really Ends
Each time you make a trip to the grocery store you will have to put a little work into keeping your pantry organized and put together. Unfortunately, much like laundry and dishes this is one of those tasks that never really has a final finish line.
The good news is that by spending 5-10 minutes on it each time you come home from the store you will be able to prolong the life of your organized pantry.