INSIDE : Learn how to quickly purge and organize your pantry with boxes and containers! My tried and true method to sorting snacks, decanting food into jars and what labels are my go-to.
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I LOVE being organized. I never thought of myself as a Type A because I’m also a creative mind… but if you could combine order and schedules with a creative organic mind, that would be me.
I have written endless posts about organization and even a handful of Kitchen related organization because it really brings me so much joy to have things stored in an orderly manner in our home. This post about how I organized my Kitchen Cabinets in 15 minutes back in 2015 is still one of my favorites.
However… enter the pandemic and we’ve had four people living 24-7 in our home for almost a full year. I’m embarrassed to say, things have just gotten out of hand.
We are doing more eating. More buying of food. And there are just more hands on a daily basis messing up my pretty pantry. Things needed to change or I was going to lose my mind.
Messy and Disorderly BEFORE Kitchen Pantry
Steps to Organizing and Purging your Pantry :
Remove all food, bags, boxes, etc from your pantry.
The first steps to taking back your Pantry is completely emptying it’s contents. This is a bigger job than you think, as you may be surprised at how much you can actually fit into a small cabinet or pantry space.
Be prepared to give this first step some time and be sure to have plenty of room to place all your items once out of the pantry.
Sort similar food items together.
Once you have everything out of your pantry, it’s time to start sorting into larger categories. You can sort how it best fits for your home, but I think putting like items together makes it so much easier when looking for things.
I sort into these basic categories:
-Breakfast type items
-Paper Products (paper plates, napkins, paper towels)
-Jar Goods (sauces, olives, etc)
-Larger kitchen appliances/Glass Punch Bowl/Ice Cream Maker, etc…
Clean off all Shelves and Sweep the Floor
It had probably been three years since I had done a thorough cleaning of our pantry. This is the perfect time to really use some elbow grease and get that space sparkling!
I cleaned off each shelf with spray and a sponge. And then even went back in and wiped down the walls. A nice broom finished off the cleaning!
Give your pantry shelves a fresh coat of paint.
Now this is certainly not a required step in purging and organizing your pantry, but after I removed all the items and cleaned off the shelves, I realized what bad shape the wood was in.
I almost painted it a fun happy color, but decided to keep it crisp clean white. I used an Eggshell paint to help with easy wiping down in the future. A few coats on each shelf and the shelf edges was all it needed.
Label, label, label
One of my favorite steps in the organizing process is making labels! Now some people are huge label maker fans and I love a good label maker, but I almost prefer simple handwritten labels.
I love using chalkboard sticker labels with a white colored pencil. I often use one label and cut it into two or three labels. Most of the jars I use just don’t need a HUGE label.
What is the best way to organize pantry?
Now that you have taken the steps to purge and clean our your pantry, it’s time to put everything back inside, but now in a thoughtful orderly way!
- Get rid of original food packaging when you can.
We are a cereal family and we go through so much of it. I purchased three plastic cereal containers many years ago and I think they are so helpful.
Not only is it easy to see which cereals we have and when they are getting low, but they keep the food fresher for so much longer.
I love these inexpensive wire baskets to contain all of our noodles, pasta, ramen and mac + cheese! I bought two of both the medium and large sizes.
But lest you think you have to spend a lot to do a good job organizing, re-using old cardboard boxes works great, too!
2. Capitalize on vertical space!
This is possibly one of my favorite hacks to making the most of our pantry space. I bought an under shelf basket to hold paper plates. They came in a pack of four and I thought I would only need the one. However, it was such a useful organizing method, I ended up using all of them for various items!
Another way I better used my vertical space was with a metal rack shelf. This helped for items that aren’t very tall and I could then store something below and ontop of it.
In this particular case, I was able to store our paper napkins and paper towels on this metal rack.
3. Easy Access to the most used foods.
Things that you use most often should be stored in the most accessible area. So, I placed our bread and tortilla right in the middle of the pantry. As well, as all of my kid’s approved snacks.
I use things like flour, sugar, rice, chocolate chips a lot but my children don’t need access to them, so those types of items are still placed in the center of our pantry but on a higher shelf.
Decanting items like flour and sugar, really help with their shelf life. And simple labels make them easy to find and use. I’ve used these stainless steel canisters with locking lids for years.
4. Group foods together.
I used to store my syrups on one side of the pantry and the pancake mixes on the other side. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it makes so much more sense to have all pancake and waffle related items close together.
Now, when we make pancakes, it’s one quick step inside of the pantry and we’ve got everything we need.
Other super useful pantry organization items that I use are:
– Large metal baskets to hold all of our chips.
– 3 Tiered Spice Trays are LIFE SAVING. I use them for my spices over in cabinets by the stove and I use them for storing all our canned soups in the pantry.
– Misc. Easy to Clean Plastic Baskets for odds and ends.
– Stainless Steel Chip Clips are my favorite clips of all time. I even bought another 10 pack because we love them so much. I use them for chips, but also for keeping frozen foods closed in the freezer or salad bags in the fridge.
Our pantry has been purged of old and bad food. Reorganized based on similar items and their usage. And then labeled and contained to ease of use. Win, win, win, win!
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If you want to see more of my Organizing Posts, you should check out some of these!
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