Until we moved into this house, I never had a pantry. We always used cabinets or shelves to store our food. One of the reasons I liked this house when we looked at it was because of the pantry cabinet. In the six years we have lived here I have been arranging and rearranging the pantry to work best for us. It’s also possible I have a thing for pantry organization. I see these pictures on Pinterest of these gorgeous, organized pantries and get kind of jealous. (I really love this one, this one, and this one.)
Pantry organization isn’t just an important thing because it looks nice. In fact, that’s the least important thing about pantry organization. Knowing what you have and where to find it can help save you money. Making your space work for you can be difficult but when it comes to organizing your pantry (or anything else for that matter), that is the most important thing. Here is a glimpse into my pantry and tips on how I keep it organized. Even if you have cabinets or open shelves instead of a dedicated pantry, these tips can be adapted to your situation.
Organize By Shelf
My pantry has four shelves, the bottom, and little mini shelves on the doors. I use the top shelf for breakfast type foods, drink mixes/tea, and a few other things like rice, soup, and peanut butter. These are things we use often so while they aren’t cereal or drinks, we still need easy access to them.
The second shelf holds pasta and baking supplies. The third shelf is the larger baking supplies like flour, sugar, etc. The fourth shelf is snacks. The bottom on the pantry is extra things as well as home canned items and large things like bags of potatoes. The door shelves are used for small things like spices and boxes of Jell-O. By having general themes for each shelf, I can easily find the things I need.
Make it work for you: If you don’t have a full pantry, set up different cabinets or different shelves of your cabinets to have themes.
Use Containers and Baskets
The use of containers and baskets has multiple reasons. The first reason is that you can easily see what you have if you use see through containers. This makes it easier to see what you are getting low on or if you still have plenty. This helps prevent buying things that you already have or forgetting to buy things you need. Another reason is that your foods stay fresher when kept in air tight containers. This helps save you money as things aren’t going bad before you can use them. With baskets, I only use one. That basket is full of kid sized snacks. I use snack bags to make up a number of different things for my daughter. In that basket is also things like fruit snacks and applesauce pouches. Now when it is snack time, she can get her own. This helps me not have to stop everything when she wants a snack and helps her learn some more independence.
Make it work for you: Check your local dollar store or Walmart for inexpensive containers. Make sure you measure your shelf spaces before you purchase anything. You don’t want to get home only to discover that the containers you purchased are too tall for your space.
Make Use of Extra Space
Extra space for me is the bottom of the pantry. This is where I keep all of my extra things and part of my stockpile. If I purchase things on sale like chocolate chips or coffee they get stored in the bottom. It isn’t an area that is overly easy to get to so it would otherwise be fairly unused. Just be sure that you check this location before you go shopping and you rotate the products to put the earliest expiration date in the front. I have forgotten to check this space in my pantry a couple times and ended up with double product.
Make it work for you: Check your cabinets to see if you have an odd space that you don’t really use for anything else. If you don’t have an unused space of a pantry or cabinet, consider the tops of your cabinets.
By following these guidelines, you can not only tackle pantry organization, you can also save money. Even if you have a small kitchen without a pantry or pantry cabinet, you can adapt these tips to work for you. If you do have a small kitchen, check out my post on how to stockpile in a small house.
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