Hello my friends! Today I am switching gears a bit for some much needed organization in our pantry cabinet. This year has been anything but ordinary and has definitely changed how we eat, cook and store food at our house. Along with that, our pantry quickly became over run and quite chaotic. As store inventories remain somewhat unpredictable, the last thing I want to be doing is buying duplicates of food we already have and don’t need. So I decided to conquer our pantry cabinet organization once and for all!
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I consider our kitchen to be a relatively smart use of space but we do not have a walk in pantry that boasts loads of shallow shelves to fill. Instead, we have a pantry cabinet.
While I am definitely thankful for this over sized cabinet, it does tend to get out of control quickly. So my goal was to create an organization system that was easy to maintain and sustainable! This is huge! Anyone can organize a space and make it look pretty for now, but if it isn’t maintainable, you will be organizing all over again in a few months. I learned that lesson long ago and have applied it to my closet and our hall closet with great success!
I must admit, my extra motivation to tackle this project was fueled when I recently found these air tight containers on sale at Costco. I have wanted some for a long time and I finally pulled the trigger. So far, I have not been disappointed!
This is what the inside of the pantry cabinet looked like before. There wasn’t a lot of consistency as to where items lived and usually things just ended up where they fit. The bottom shelf was handy, but cans often got lost in the back of the deep cabinet.
We also use the first drawer below the cabinet to store snacks and such. This drawer was always a train wreck!
Pantry Cabinet Organization
Take everything out. I mean it, everything! I know a lot of people really dislike this part, but it is necessary. When you leave items in place, you cannot see past the configuration you already have, leading to your same old habits, likely bad ones. This will also give you a chance to see long lost items that might be expired so you can toss them or maybe use them up before a pending expiration date. Not going to lie, I threw away some Ramen noodles that expired in 2016!
And my dining room table looked like this as a result of removing everything. Don’t worry, it always gets worse before it gets better.
Reconfigure. This part was big for me! While this cabinet is spacious, I do store non food items in here like serving dishes, extra wine glasses, and our vacuum sealer, which, by the way, we love! Ours was a Christmas gift last year and it has been amazing for storing everything from meat to bread to potatoes! Food stays so fresh and it has been a life saver when buying in bulk!
My initial thought was to take out our drawers entirely and replace them with shelves. I know some of you are gasping at the thought, but they do take up much more space vertically than a shelf. And, they really cannot handle the weight if completely filled with canned goods. I did a lot of rearranging and measuring before I finally landed on a configuration that accommodated everything I needed to house. I ditched one drawer, replaced it with a shelf, and moved the rest up a few.
Baskets! I believe organizing is only worth it if it is sustainable. The secret to making it sustainable is to make items easy to access and easy to put away. If if everything has to be removed to put one small thing away, you will never do it. Trust me, I speak from experience 😉 To assist with this, baskets are your best friend! I picked up a multitude of baskets and two can shelf organizers.
We have a fair amount of canned goods and honestly end up buying duplicates pretty often because we don’t know what we already have. As such, I wanted to make sure I could see all my cans! These can shelves are meant to be next to each other, but our pantry is extra deep since it’s a cabinet. So I improvised and added some scrap 2x4s to raise the back row so I could see all the labels.
I used a few bins on the side for extra items like condiments and kept less frequently used items in the back.
Fill up the airtight containers. I know I am going to sound like a complete psychopath, but this part was OH SO satisfying! No more ugly boxes, bags, or awkward containers. The best part is, they keep food fresh longer and help reduce waste from zip-lock bags.
Naturally, I made fun labels for them too so there is no second guessing the contents. AND I am sharing these labels with all my incredible email subscribers, for FREE!
They are already formatted for Avery 18863 labels. All you have to do is print!
Put everything back. Having an organized pantry cabinet now is such a relief! I not only know where everything is but I also know what we have so I am not buying extras of items by mistake.
Remember the pantry drawer? A few more baskets to the rescue and that hot mess is gone! I simply grouped like items together. Yes, I do have a thing for Ramen Noodles, but most of the time we just use the noodles for Asian style dishes we make.
The bottom shelf of the pantry was difficult to access before, not many items fit, and I never knew what was hiding in the back. Thanks to these simple baskets, I can now access everything with ease and put items away quickly. These baskets are also a great place to store potatoes, onions, garlic, etc.
I also reorganized our collection of spice rubs we use on the regular in these mini mason jars and used some chalkboard stickers to label them.
On the upper shelf I added two more baskets for chips, bread, buns, tortillas and crackers.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but I feel so much less stress when I open the pantry now! Everything has a home and is easy to find and put away!
I feel like my whole kitchen just stepped up its game! I can find items with ease and make grocery lists quickly. Have I motivated you to organize your pantry?
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