31 Days of Organizing Tips: Day 10 (Pantry)

Welcome to Day Ten of the 31 Days of Organizing Tips series! Throughout this series I’m sharing organizing tips to help you on your journey from overwhelmed to organized. 

Today’s tip is about organizing your pantry. There are a LOT of posts and ideas with tips on how to organize your pantry. The most important tip I can give you for organizing your pantry is to do what works for YOU and try to live up to someone else’s ideas of what a pantry should look like.

1.  Keep like items grouped together (if you haven’t read Day 5’s post on this you can do that now – it’s particularly important in the pantry!).  Baskets and bins are a big help with this (I use clear plastic shoe boxes).  This way when you need an item,  you won’t have to go searching through all the shelves trying to find it.  It also helps you know how much you have in stock of particular items.  That way you won’t run out of anything or have so much of something that it expires before you use it.  This saves you time and money!

Tips for organizing your pantry.

Here’s how I organized my pantry

2.  Keep items you use most often in a place you can easily access them and put less used items on higher or lower shelves. Again this saves you time.

3.  Consider using clear containers to store cereals, snacks, and baking ingredients.  This also helps you be more aware of what you have in your pantry and when you’re getting low.  It also gives you more space because you don’t have different sized boxes and packages on your pantry shelves.  It gives your pantry a less overwhelming and more organized feel as well because you’re looking at uniform and nice-looking containers instead of many different colours and logos on all the packages.   Plus you can add some pretty labels 🙂

Organized pantry with clear containers and blue labels.

Dollar store pantry makeover

4.  Use organizing products such as lazy susansshelf risers, and sliding racks to make it easier to access items at the back of your pantry.  That way you won’t forget what you have back there and you’ll maximize your use of space.

5.  Hang “shoe organizers” or racks on the back of your pantry door (if you have one).  You can use them for a variety of pantry items and use that otherwise wasted space.

Organize and decorate everything over the door organizer for the pantry.

Over the door organizer for the pantry

A bowl full of lemons pantry organization.

Pantry Organization

Please pin from the original source for all these pictures.

To decant or not to decant

There are LOTS of beautiful pantry pictures with everything stored in matching clear containers. They look beautiful, but there are 2 drawbacks.

  • First, they need to be maintained. That means every time you come home from the grocery store, you need to spend time decanting the food you bought into the appropriate containers. That takes time and energy and I don’t know about you but I’m tired when I get home from shopping and I just want to be able to put the food away quickly.
  • Secondly, the size of the container and the size of the original packaging of each type of food is rarely the same. That means you need a place to store all the bags and boxes with food that didn’t fit in the containers. If you don’t have a lot of space in your kitchen, this isn’t convenient.

Only you can decide if the clean look of matching containers is worth overcoming these 2 obstacles. When I’m organizing a client’s pantry, this is one of the first conversations we have.

A good compromise is to decant things that you don’t need to refill very often. For example, I use mason jars for my baking ingredients (flour, oats, sugar, etc.) because I don’t need to replenish them very often and the excess can easily be stored in a box until needed. But I don’t decant things that we go through quickly (cereal, chips, nuts, etc.). It’s just not worth the effort to me.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, do what works for YOU!

Whatever size your pantry is (walk-in, built-in, small closet, upper cupboard, or even a few shelves), you can organize it to make it easier on yourself.  Saving time and money by having an organized pantry means you can spend that time and money on other things that are more fun!

Here are some video tips on how I organized my pantry:

Pantry organizing video tips.

Pantry Organizing Video Tips

For Day Ten, spend some time organizing your pantry.  If you don’t have a lot of time then tackle just a shelf or two and finish the rest at another time.  It doesn’t have to take a long time!  You also don’t need to spend a lot of money buying baskets or organizing products.  Shop around your home for containers that you aren’t using and put them to work in your pantry.  Repurpose shoe boxes or plastic produce containers.  Then save up for or look for sales on some of the products that will give you the most organizational bang for your buck!

What shape is your pantry it? What part of your pantry do you find the most difficult to keep organized? Do you prefer to decant your food or not? 

If you need help decluttering or organizing, contact me for in-person organizing services in the Mississauga area, or virtual organizing services anywhere else. 

Happy organizing!