Keeping a small pantry organized can be work. Does it seem like food storage items spill out everywhere? Do you find items expired before you use them? Before getting my pantry organized, t his was a problem. Today I am giving a few small pantry organization tips to help you effectively utilize all of the space and be able to find it.
One of my goals this year was to get the closets organized, tidy, and maybe a bit pretty. I hate, hate not being able to find something I need. With my kitchen reveal a few weeks ago, organizing the pantry was a big priority for me. It was also quite a chore as you will see!
Gross! This was the condition the previous owners left it in. The shelves are made of fiber board with some sort of plastic-like coating on it. The coating is sort of rough and stains. After cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water and a bit of bleach just to make sure, I painted the shelves with 2 coats of enamel paint.
Enamel paint is more durable than latex and will stand up better to wear and scraping. I painted the walls with regular latex white wall paint. I also laid shelf liners across each shelf to further protect against stains and scratching. Now I had to organize all of my goods. Since I hadn’t had a real pantry before, I learned a lot and now I have an organized and functional pantry that is a dream! Here are some tips to help you with your pantry project. Product list is at the bottom of this post.
1. Utilize the back of the door as space for spice, baggies, or small goods. I love my door hanger. This one is adjustable for different heights between shelves.
2. Decide on a functional layout with purpose. My layout is based mostly upon the fact that I am a mom and my son likes to sneak into the pantry for snacks. As such, I put the chips and baking items (i.e. chocolate chips, nuts, caramel, Nutella) on a higher shelf. The healthier options for snacks are in easier reach. Even though my little monkey can climb the shelves, it still helps if he doesn’t see them. There are several other methods you may consider to organize the pantry shelves. Ideally, you want to put heavier items on the bottom shelves. Also avoid putting food items on the floor. Another method to organize is by amount of use. Put goods that you use more often at your own eye level. In our house, my husband happens to be 15 inches taller than me. Of course, he always gets the top shelf since I can’t reach it 🙂
3. Buy many different size containers with labels for ease. I love my bins, and even though they aren’t available anymore, there are several options at the bottom of this post. My advice with bins is to get ones that are easy to clean and washable in the sink or dishwasher.
4. Always buy enough to grow! If during your project, you find that you have nearly filled a basket or container, consider getting a second one. One month you may want to take advantage of a great sale on canned goods or maybe you’re a big Costco buyer like our family. I have a basket designated only for backups like mustard, spaghetti sauce, and salsa. After opening, these go in the fridge, but I know when I pull the last “back-up”, it is time to buy another round. Another example is that our “Chips” basket often overflows into our “Crackers” basket.
5. Use well-sealing canisters or jars with lids for dry goods. It took me a few years to fill my collection of canisters. I also have these large glass jars for grains and sugars. In fact, I still have a few larger ones to purchase for my sugar and oatmeal.
List of Pantry Labels for Jars
- Baking Items (Cocoa Powder / Cornstarch / Baking soda)
- Flour (All- purpose / Bread Flour / Whole Wheat Flour / Oatmeal /Specialty Flours)
- Sugar (Granulated / Brown / Powdered)
- Rice (Brown / White)
- Pasta (Spaghetti / Penne / shells / macaroni)
- Rock Salt (for ice-cream)
- Dried Fruits and Nuts (Raisins / Cranberries / dry beans)
- Pre-made mixes (Cookie Mix / Pancake Mix / Soup Mix)
6. Lazy Susan in the corner for quick access to snacks for the kids. I recently purchased this two tier one as well for our taller shelves.
7. Group canned items together. There are several different products for this. I liked the shelves that roll them to the front. I have also seen tension rods as separators.
8. Invest in a decent fold-away step stool. I am pretty short (just above 5 feet tall) so I can’t reach the top shelf. A sturdy but easily fold-able step stool like this one is a must have kitchen tool for me.
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(click on photo)
Good luck with your pantry project!
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