Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pantry Organization 101

Pantry Organization 101

When were were searching for houses recently, one amenity that was at the top of my “wishlist” was a pantry.  A space, room, cabinet, etc. that was designated and designed to store food items, small appliances, plastic food storage, baking supplies, etc.

And luckily, the new house has a great pantry.  But unluckily, I was unprepared for this kind of storage space!  As you can see from the photos, I like to be able to see everything that is in my pantry so I love using clear jars.  I have lots of different jars of all shapes and sizes that I have gathered from various sources – antique stores, from my mom (yes, she saves random jars for me!), and from Freund Container.

Pantry Organization

We don’t have a ton of cabinet space in our kitchen so I keep some non-food items in the pantry – my 7-quart stand mixer, my food processor, some less-often used utensils, and all of our plastic food storage pieces.

There is no shortage of shelve space in the pantry.  However, it has literally taken me six weeks to get it to functional!

Pantry Organization 101 - shelves

At first, everything was just kind of tossed in.  After receiving a couple of cases of new jars from Freund, I was motivated to get it done!

I use an old canister set to store baking supplies together. [above – left]  I have various jars of sprinkles and food coloring in one, cookie cutters in a clear jar, and flavor extracts in another. [above – left]

I use large bale wire glasses (and a few other odds and ends jars) to store grains and nuts that I use often and a lot of like rice, peanuts, popcorn, couscous and quinoa. [above – right]

Pantry Organization 101 - shelves

I happen to be a big tea fan so I also use large jars to store tea bags. [above – right]

I don’t have the kitchen cabinet space to store food storage items so they are stored in the pantry.  I try to store like-items together, stack as much as possible, and store small containers and all of the lids in a large bowl. [above-left]

spice organization

I use smaller jars to store bulk spices and some homemade seasoning mixes, as well as some Mason jars to hold dried cranberries, trail mix and raisins.  [above]

Pantry Organization 101

I store chips and snacks on the top shelf since usually we don’t have a ton at one time.  [above – left] You can see that I keep all of my chocolate together, all of my yeast and baking chips are stored in a plastic container. [above – top, right] I keep sugars and flours together as well. [above – bottom, right]

Pantry Organization Tips & Tricks

Pantry organization tips can be used even if you don’t have a pantry.  If you store your food items in kitchen cabinets, these tips will still be useful!

  1. If you already have a pantry and just need to reorganize, do this first: take everything out, wipe down the shelves, toss expired food items and then reorganize! 
  2. Organize for you – what works best for your family and your personality type!  I have explained above what works for us.  But, if you have kids, for example, you might need to shy away from glass jars.  In this case, I would suggest simple BPA-free plastic containers with pop tops – easy to use and not breakable!
  3. If you keep your spices in the pantry, use baskets or a lazy Susan to keep them all in one place and easily reachable.  I keep my spices in a small cabinet in the kitchen that wouldn’t be useful for anything except spices.
  4. Place new groceries near the back and older things that should be used soon in the front.  If you store some things in jars as I have outlined above, also store the extra bulk items (grains, nuts, etc.) near the back so that they stay out of the way.
  5. Place rarely used things at the top and near the back; often used items should be within easy reach.
  6. Place large items on the floor. 
  7. Utilize space well so that small items don’t take up valuable shelf space – stack small items, utilize baskets or smaller “riser”-type shelves so that you can see everything.
  8. Store like-things together (canned goods, baking supplies, flours, sugars, pastas, nuts, beverages, snacks, etc.)
  9. Remove some grocery items from their packaging and store them in large clear jars for easy access.  Especially do this for items that you go through a lot of, often.  I do this for most of my grains, nuts, dried fruit, homemade seasoning mixes, etc.
  10. Always store items in the same place – after using them or when putting away groceries.  This will help make sure you always keep the space organized and you’ll remember where things are.
  11. If you are into it – label!  I don’t necessarily think that clear jars require labels so I don’t do it – but you can if that helps!

What are you best pantry organization tips? 


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Freund container provided me with two cases of jars for this post.  All opinions are always my own.  For further information, please see my disclosure policy


43 Responses to “Pantry Organization 101”

  1. #
    Vicki Bensinger — March 19, 2013 @ 7:18 am

    We just had all of our kitchen cabinets repainted leaving the inside of all our cabinets exposed. This forced me to clean them all out, a task I hate doing. I ended up relocating all my spice jars with the help of my daughter who like her dad/my husband, has great organizational skills. I love that everything is tidy again.

    Your jars is a great idea, so uniform and clean. I’ll have to check the jar pace out you recommend.

  2. #
    Anne @The Cooking Campaign — March 19, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    One of the things I definitely want when I get a house is a pantry! I’m jealous of all your space.

  3. #
    DessertForTwo — March 19, 2013 @ 7:32 am

    Love this!
    Brian just reorganized our entire house after the honeymoon. I feel like he was waiting until after we were married so I wouldn’t be offended by his calling me a slob? Who knows? All I know is that it’s organized and life is so much better! 🙂

  4. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 19, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    I would kill for a pantry. Your pantry is bigger than my kitchen, and I’m not even kidding. It’s tiny tiny. A little nook of an urban condo kitchen. I have my mixer in my coat closet 🙂 My organization involves constantly editing/purging/donating/repeating b/c things get overwhelming in a hurry! So happy for you with your new house, Cassie. The pantry is stellar!!!!!!

  5. #
    Amanda — March 19, 2013 @ 7:38 am

    Such great tips Cassie!!! I love your space!

  6. #
    Tracey — March 19, 2013 @ 8:01 am

    I’m so envious of your pantry space! A pantry will for sure be on my “must” list for our next house. I have all of my stuff scattered around various cabinets in the kitchen and dining room, plus even more in the basement. It works, but would love to have a single space like yours 🙂

  7. #
    Tieghan — March 19, 2013 @ 8:18 am

    Your pantry is so nice, I am jealous! I love all these tips and all you jars! HA

  8. #
    Kathryn — March 19, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    This is such a useful post! I don’t have anything as exciting as pantry but in our new place, I will hopefully have much more kitchen space so I will definitely revisit this post when it comes to organising it!

  9. #
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven — March 19, 2013 @ 8:26 am

    Your pantry looks amazing!!! I have so many of those same jars! 🙂

  10. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — March 19, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    I’m in the process of reorganizing our pantry and it’s definitely not just a one day thing. Yours looks great and I love that you used jars.

  11. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — March 19, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    I would give anything for a pantry — it’s the one thing that I dislike about our new house. We’re talking about moving our washer and dryer to the basement and turning the first floor laundry (which is conveniently right off the kitchen) into a big walk-in pantry!

  12. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — March 19, 2013 @ 8:48 am

    Love this! I am so jealous of your pantry through – I can’t believe I’ve been living without one! I think it’s time that I move 🙂

  13. #
    Nutmeg nanny — March 19, 2013 @ 8:55 am

    I am loving this! The perfect inspiration for pantry update 🙂

  14. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — March 19, 2013 @ 9:34 am

    I am in the middle of organizing my pantry right now. Firing up the label maker ; )

  15. #
    Meghan {For the Love of Dessert} — March 19, 2013 @ 10:14 am

    I just moved from a place with a huge kitchen and pantry in Philly to a tiny DC apartment with a bitty kitchen and NO STORAGE SPACE. I swear I love my new locale, but I have SERIOUS pantry envy right now.

  16. #
    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet — March 19, 2013 @ 10:16 am

    I wish I had a pantry. I’m coveting yours!

  17. #
    Julie — March 19, 2013 @ 10:29 am

    Clear jars and a card catalog are my organizing keys! The card catalog stores all my little ingredients — I have drawers for sprinkles, chocolate, nuts, dried fruit — while the jars make it easy to see what grains, legumes, flours or sugars I’m running low on! Love the wire bale jars. I need to find some more!

  18. #
    Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats — March 19, 2013 @ 10:44 am

    Wonderful post! I can’t wait to move so I can go through everything and start fresh!

  19. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — March 19, 2013 @ 11:13 am

    This post comes just as I desperately need it. My panty looks as if a bomb went off, I am gonna put your tips to use this weekend!

  20. #
    Ashley — March 19, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    I’m totally jealous of your pantry : ) haha I can’t wait for the day that I actually have one! We have to store all our stuff in a few kitchen cabinets – it definitely gets tight! I love seeing how other people organize!

  21. #
    Tiffany @ baking at tiffany's — March 19, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    Love your pantry and all the jars! I’m inspired to go out and get some. I’m generally organized, but I love the look! 🙂

  22. #
    Jackie @ The Beeroness — March 19, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    Now all I need is a pantry! I just put all of my cabinet staples in large mason jars and that did help a lot. I’m so jealous of all that space you have!

  23. #
    Reem — March 19, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    Pantry is on top of my must list for our new home ..
    I’m loving all the great tips you have given here, they will sure come handy. Totally pinning this 🙂

  24. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 19, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    oh how I wish my pantry looked like that. Oh how I wish I even had a pantry. apartment living sucks being a baker! I keep sprinkles and flour in my coat closet. however, my clothes closet does need some organization!

  25. #
    Meriem @ Culinary Couture — March 19, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips; I’m so jealous of your pantry!

  26. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — March 19, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    Great tips! I love Freund Container, we have bought lots of packaging supplies for our business from them and I have some great storage jars from them that I love!

  27. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — March 19, 2013 @ 11:12 pm

    Your timing couldn’t be better because my pantry is a disaster and in desperate need or reorganizing!

  28. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — March 19, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

    Love your tips! I’m obsessed with the OXO pop-up containers… so perfect for flour, sugar, etc.

  29. #
    Marly — March 20, 2013 @ 7:33 am

    The pantry is a constant state of evolvement in this house – between being very organized…and something that resembles the big bang! Thanks for sharing these tips – a good way to start out spring cleaning!

  30. #
    Sues — March 20, 2013 @ 8:42 am

    I’m in LOVE with your pantry!! And you did an awesome job organizing it! We will start house-hunting soon-ish and a pantry is definitely on my wish list. Though it’s tough to find everything you want in these old Boston-area ($$) houses.

  31. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — March 20, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    LOVE that your pantry is walk in!!!!

  32. #
    a farmer in the dell — March 20, 2013 @ 10:04 am

    I would give my right arm for a pantry!

  33. #
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — March 20, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    This reminded me to declutter my pantry as well. Beautiful jar collection you have my friend 🙂

  34. #
    carrian — March 20, 2013 @ 11:29 am

    Oh gosh, I so need a pantry. Jealous over here!

  35. #
    Rachel Cooks — March 20, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

    All I could think about while reading this was how I can’t believe you have Brookside Chocolates left. I inhaled them.

  36. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — March 22, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    I don’t have a pantry. *sigh* It’s on thw wish lish…and we’re on the lookout!

  37. #
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — March 22, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    My pantry is a hot mess right now. I started out so organized and then I got in the habit of just shoving things wherever I could find space. Not good! These are all great tips–you make me want to clean out my pantry this weekend!

  38. #
    Shaina — March 22, 2013 @ 11:27 pm

    Wonderful tips!

  39. #
    Anita at Hungry Couple — March 25, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

    Ah, now I have pantry envy. 🙂 Living in a Manhattan apartment, storage space is a joke. I have stuff under the bed, on top of the cabinets, etc. We have to sleep with the small appliances. 🙂

  40. #
    Simple Works — May 8, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

    Great post. Growing up my parents’ pantry used to be cluttered all the time. It’s much nicer to keep it organized!

  41. #
    Marisela — February 7, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

    Where did you get the spice jars? What brand or store are they from?

  42. #
    Heather — October 1, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

    Question… Do you have a place to go to see the photos? For some reason, they are not loading for me. Help? Thanks!! 🙂

  43. #
    Heather — October 1, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    NM. Got it! Thanks!

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