7 Tips to Having the Organized Pantry of Your Dreams!
Okay, so I recognize that normal people don’t necessarily dream of having an organized pantry, but it is one of the things that I dream of! I need order in my life. I need to find things without digging. I need to not have multiples of things. I need to not have clutter. That’s just how I operate.
That being said, I’ve found 7 tips that go a long way toward keeping even the tiniest of pantries organized.
1. Have a dedicated amount of space for everything. Having an allocated amount of space to say “I can only buy enough pasta to fill up this one area” goes a long way in keeping your space clean and clutter-free. Your pantry is bound to get out of hand if you’re needs are always in flux and you constantly have to move other items to accommodate.
2. Bins! Bins! Bins! Having containers helps a lot with keeping those dedicated spaces in line. Even when you know exactly how much space something is going to take up, puting it in a bin gives that space a clean look with definite lines. For example, my kids’ lunch box juice packs take up the same amount of space every week, but by placing them all in a bin of the same size, they give the appearance of being very tidy instead of just lined up on a shelf.
3. Space for bulk purchases. I love shopping at Costco and Sam’s. If I can make one trip to Costco and eliminate a dozen trips to the grocery store, I’m there! But, that convenience comes at the price of space. Having a case of 120 granola bars can really throw off the balance of your pantry. For this, I use tall, decorative bins in the bottom of my pantry to store bulk purchases. One is for bottled water, one for potatoes, and two for general bulk grocery purchases that need a place to be housed until they can fit into the dedicated space on the shelf. Not only does this keep the shelves from getting overwhelmed with stuff, but since everything in the bottom of the pantry is in a bin, it makes it easy to clean the pantry floor (which is usually a fairly gross job). Simply pull out the bins, sweep, mop and replace. Done!
4. Airtight containers for pet food. Disclosure: I like to take everything out of boxes or bags and place them into clear containers, but this is involved and definitely not for everybody. However, the one thing I would recommend to everyone is to place your pet food into an airtight container. Not only does an airtight container look better than a nasty bag in your pantry, you will be able to easily see when you’re running low on food and it keeps bugs and other pests out! As an added bonus, it keeps the food fresher for longer. Since I switched to an airtight container a few years ago, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my dog’s enthusiasm when he gets toward the last few feedings from the container. It’s definitely retaining its flavor and keeping him happy.
5. Re-purpose other containers. Okay, so this is another container-related tip. Sometimes, the best containers are actually supposed to be for something else. In my pantry, I have a small sugar-packet holder that I no longer had a use for, but I found that if I turned seasoning packets sideways, it made a perfect holder for them (they’re between the two tiered shelves of cans and spices). My favorite unexpected container though are two blue IKEA tackle boxes from the kid’s department. For the last few years, my kids have used these to contain candies they receive. They actually sort out what they have into categories like “chocolate”, “fruity”, “gum”, etc. They love being able to find what they’re craving and it teaches them to have a definitive space. If they accumulate too much candy, it’s time to clean it out. It works out really well.
6. Tiered shelf organizers. I resisted buying these for a while because they seemed a little pricey for just being hollow pieces of plastic, but let me tell you, they have changed the life of my pantry. We have two tiered organizers: One mainly for cans and one for spices. Having these items tiered means being able to easily find things when you need them. We used to put spices into a bin and it worked out alright, but since we switched to the tiered organizer, we can find what we need in a split second without having to dig around. It makes the space appear neater and has lowered our frustration levels when we’re cooking.
7. Liners! Shelf liners can give a decorative pop to the space and personalize it. More importantly though, shelf liners provide an easy-to-clean surface. If the liner ever does get destroyed, you can simply replace the liner rather than trying to fix an entire shelf. More importantly, liners are incredibly useful if you have wire shelving. Our old house had wire shelving and it was the bane of my existence: Nothing would sit right on it, small items would fall through. We lived there for 3 years before I discovered plastic shelf liners, and it changed everything. Lining shelves in plastic is much cheaper than replacing the shelves all together and it allowed me to stand things on the shelves in a way where they didn’t look lopsided. It’s the little things in life that bring the most joy.
Those are my 7 tips to an organized pantry. What are the rules you live by when keeping your space mess-free?