I love scrolling through Pinterest and seeing all those fabulous pantries organized with coordinating bins and labels. However, practically speaking, I’ve never been able to get my pantry to look like any of those. Finding enough containers to fit my pantry needs is not always an easy task. Plus, trying to coordinate everything can get expensive.
Even though we are trying to sell our home, well maybe I should say BECAUSE we are selling our home, I decided it was time to get our pantry in shape. I mean, what better selling point than to have a nicely organized pantry?
So, last week I tackled this project and it took me about 2 hours not counting going out and purchasing some of the containers I used. I have a what I’d call a double wide reach in pantry. It has two doors that swing out into the kitchen. It’s a good sized pantry, but just because the space is good does not mean I was always using it effectively.
Here are a couple of pics of what it looked like before:
As you can see, items were somewhat sorted by category, but everything was a mess! We stored shopping bags so we could use them for bagging up donations. Several items on the floor are hardly ever used, so they were taking up valuable storage space.
Here is what our pantry looks like now:
Quite an improvement wouldn’t you say?
These are the steps I took to get my pantry organized:
1. Pull everything out of the pantry.
Ok, I have to admit I didn’t get everything pulled out. I did rearrange some things on the top shelf but did not remove anything. I knew those items needed to remain where they were.
The whole idea of pulling everything out of the pantry is to make you realize what you actually have. I found several food and non-food items that I didn’t realize I had. Having everything laid out all over my kitchen countertops really opened my eyes to see how much I really had. I even found a few duplicate items that were stored in different places. Imagine that!
2. Sort and purge your items.
Even though I had everything sort of organized before, I began to realize I could merge some items to make finding them a bit more logical. As I went through each item, I sorted them by keep, move to another area, and purge.
I found a few expired food items that needed to be thrown away immediately. Those were no brainers. Then I discovered a few non-food items that I didn’t want anymore so I put them in a donation bag. I identified a few items that could be housed elsewhere in order to free up more space in the pantry. Finally, I was left with only those items that needed to go back into the pantry.
I want to note here that I did actually add one big item to the pantry. My lovely bread machine that I’ve had for about a year has been taking up space on our kitchen countertop. We don’t use it that often, so I wanted to put it in the pantry where I could access it easily but would still be out of the way.
3. Categorize your items.
Once I knew what was going back into the pantry, I put them in like categories. That gave me a clear picture of how much I had in each category. This made it much easier when I had to decide what containers to use to store each category.
4. Make a plan for storage and obtain necessary containers.
I would say this is the most important step of the process. There are two things you must know before you can put your food back in the pantry. First, you need to know how you and your family will need to access the food. Second, you need to know the measurements of your shelves. This is important!
I tried to keep the shelves organized as close as I could to what we had before. However, because I didn’t measure like I mentioned above, I had to rearrange to make some of my containers and bins fit properly.
I knew I wanted to corral a lot of the items we have into bins. So, I went to the Container Store and found the white bins you see in the picture above. I also wanted to try something different with our canned goods so I bought the gravity-fee can rack you see in the picture.
I spent about $50 in total at the Container Store. You can probably find some bins and containers you have around your home. I did re-use a few that I had.
5. Wipe down your shelves and vacuum or sweep the floor.
Having a clean place to put back your food is vital. I just used a wet paper towel to clean off my shelves. I was disgusted by all the dirt and food crumbs I cleaned up. I think I should be cleaning out my pantry on a more regular basis. 🙂
I moved the remaining coolers and other items so I could sweep up the floor at the bottom of the pantry. I feel like it so much cleaner now.
6. Put your items back in and enjoy your newly organized pantry!
Ok, this is not really as easy as it sounds. I’ll admit it took me a couple of tries to get everything to fit. Like I mentioned above, I had to move my canned goods down one shelf because the can rack was too tall for the shelf they were already on.
You may have to play around with the arrangement for a few days to see if it will work for your family. So far my family likes how our’s turned out. I know there will be tweaking along the way as certain food items are used up and replaced with new food items.
Here are some close up pics of the pantry:
Overall I’d say it was worth the time it took to get the pantry organized. Now, let’s just hope prospective buyers will like it as much as we do!
How do you organize your pantry?