Organizing! It looks simple, but it’s not as easy as one would think.
You know that feeling you get when you are good at something, but when someone’s asks. you how you do it, you can never think of the systems that you use ?
Some things can become second nature to some. But what about for those who don’t feel that way?
We see so many beautiful organizational hacks like the ones used by the Neat Method. They make us drool over organization, but sometimes we buy those organizational items or two and we still can’t achieve what we see.
It helps when one’s got the room, closets, square footage, and light and airy home to do it, too.
But we owe it to any home in which we live to be as neat and organized as possible. I actually always appreciate smaller spaces that are beautifully organized.
So here is my guide on how to keep the kitchen pantry organized. I wanted to share all my ideas for pantry organization.
1. Label your sections
When it comes to pantry organization you want to label the different shelves, sections, and areas.
Think breakfast, snacks, dessert, baking, dinner, condiments.
Create little areas for each of these food items. For example create a snack section. If buy chips, nuts and granola bars, create a designated snack section. Put those items all in the same area.
If you bake and use flour, sugar, baking powder, chocolate chips, coconut, and raisins place those in the same area as well. Call that baking section.
If you like to buy drinks and juices keep those all together in there.
I have named my sections as follow:
- The pasta section
- The canned food section
- The snacking section
- The breakfast section
- The fruits and vegertable section
- The drinks section
- The baking section
- The jams and syrups section
- The supplements section.
- The milk section
- The spices and bagged powders section
2. Get rid of food packaging and containers
Unbox items the minute you come home. Because once you start eating granola bars and other boxed goods they will eventually be half empty which will result in wasted space and clutter.
Resort to using baskets for any of these items that come in boxes, but are individually wrapped inside.
Think pop corn, crackers, fruit snacks, granola, chips, nuts. All the items and goodies we often purchase from wholesale wearhouses that grab and go items. Make them even easier to grab by placing them directly in a basket. Could be large or small. Your choice. If you are concerned about crackers going stale, place them in an air tight container, pr keep them in their individual packaging by hide them inside of the basket for aesthetic purposes.
I use 4 super deep large baskets and don’t mind intermixing snacks. I just know they are there and ready to grab since we often but the same ones over and over again and eat them all. I’ll group them in different corners throughout the basket to so they are together even after being poured inside the basket.
3. Work flow
Organize based on your workflow.
You can start thinking about this one by asking yourself questions such as, when you come in the pantry what would you want to grab first thing? Which items are heavy or light? Which items I am ok to place up high because I rarely use them? Which items do I want to quickly grab when running out the door?
In one of our home we also had a hidden pantry, but sometimes kept that door open. So one of my tricks was to keep the most beautiful items near the door where you can peak inside from afar and make it appear super clean and beautiful. Right in the entrance I kept my portable vacuum so I could easily grab it and plug it back in as needed. I kept all of my spices and oils on the very first shelves as I entered and I still do that to this day, together with my most heavy kitchen appliances. That way I dont have to walk as far between my kitchen and pantry. They are also my prettiest items. I add a plug on the shelves where I keep my electrical appliances, that way I don’t have to always move them out to my kitchen countertop to use them. I then can use our toaster oven and electrical oven and they are conveniently placed at a comfortable height for both us adults and the kids. Now we don’t burn ourselves and we can easily take the food in and out.
You can scroll through some of my favorite SPICE selections below:
I keep my air fryer and pressure cooker right by the door for easy access. As you can see in the picture below my toaster is right there, too.
Next up I hide items I don’t need. I keep the temptations such as chocolates and goodies in a place that is hard to reach. I place them as high as possible away from me Out of sigh out of mind as they say.
I like to keep heavy items like flour and rice jars at a shelve that is about my hip level so I don’t have to bend to measure my flour and I don’t have to reach up high when grabbing them either. I keep them off the ground to avoid bugs from getting into them.
4. Measure shelves and inventory size
Think about all your staple items. That means the items that you regularly buy. Make a list of them on a piece of paper or your phone.
Next up measure the depth of your pantry. Measure the width of each shelf. Measure the height of each shelf. Write its all down so when you are purchasing baskets and jars you don’t buy items that won’t fit on your selected cabinets or shelves at home. There is nothing more unpleasant than to come home and find out that you have to go back to the store because once you line up a few jars next to each other you don’t have enough width space, or the right height.
Plan a section for fruits and vegetables that don’t need to go in the refrigerator. For example we keep bananas, apples, tangerines, onions, potatoes, peaches and other fruits outside of the fridge depending on what is in season at different times f the year. Even if we don’t keep them all in one basket, but like to take them out of the refrigerator as needed, having a nice basket to grab food from is a lot more organized than a bowl on a random table at times especially if you have a larger family like mine. There is no bowl big enough that could fit in a pretty way the amount of peaches, bananas, apples, and oranges we consume in a week.
5. Use storage solutions
There are often lots of odd bags and items in boxes that come from buying groceries. That’s when I resort to containers to organize the pantry. I like to use clear containers and boxes. Especially for things that go stale once opened if not properly stored. Items such as raisins, beans, coconut, pop corn kernels. Since they often come in clear plastic wrap from the store, they look neater when placed in plastic containers.
When purchasing containers, I like to buy them all in similar sizes and separate my pantry items based on how big of a bag they come in. These items will be easier to stack next to each other or on top of each other. To know how many containers to buy, is best to keep track of the average weight of all these products. For example a lot of boxes with dryed goods will hold about 16 to 24 oz. When I purchase my containers, I see how many items I buy consistently and make sure I have enough capacity for that average size plus an extra 1 or 2 in case I add more items in similar size in the future and my containers happen to have gone out of stock. That way all my containers share the same esthetic.
Powders in the pantry look always great inside a clear container too. Things such as salt, coca powder, baking soda and baking powder.
The next size up I get is for the larger powders such as beans, pastas, semolina flour, cereal, and pancake mixes.
My largest jars are reserved for flour, sugar, and rice.I buy those from wholesale stores and they come in quantities anywhere from 10. to 25 pound bags. I like to keep them all jars as much as possible hence why I bought huge jars for them. Make sure to story any left over flour or rice once the jars are filled, in a plastic container. I use a plastic bucket and I keep it tucked away in a corner in my party so it’s away from eye’s view, but won’t make bacteria or pests and possible larvae grow in my food and make it all spoil.
Once you find the right brand containers you can literally fit anything into them.
During the process of organizing. I have since moved the snacks up high so away from me and the kiddos 😀, and the larger jars down a whole shelf.
This may seem like it will mess up your original sectioning method, but not everything will go in clear boxes, so for the items that won’t still keep them in boxes in your delineated sections like the breakfast area or the snacking section.
Baskets, bottles, and more baskets.
6. Act like it’s a store
Things in stores are kept together. So tomato sauces will be all in the same isle, stacked one in front of each other or one above the other. Most cans can be easily stacked together.
Keep all your canned goods in one area as well and it will look a lot more neat.
If you have 2 bottles of oil place them one next to the other or one in front of the other.
Place items facing you if you can, that way you can easily recognize them.
Organize them based on expiration date. Place the items that will expire first in the front so you’ll grab them first.
7. Space things out for visual comfort
Last but not least if you have the room leave a little bit of spacing between items to give it a more organized look. This cannot always be possible. But if you have the space for it, try and leave room between items.
Also place things off the floor. Try to avoid using your ground for storage. It’s also unsanitary because bugs can crawl in food, and it makes it easier to clean the floor if it’s cluttered.
By rule they have to do it in food establishments so why wouldn’t we do it in our own homes if we can.
I sure hope all these tips will help you. Last but not least, don’t over buy. It’s important to have food storage, but it’s also ok not to hoard unwanted items. And yes do have long lasting food storage items, those are the ones that can go way up high since hopefully you won’t be using them any time soon. Let’s hope for never or just the year they are about to expire.
To shop all the Items mentioned in this post: