Hello and welcome!
How is your pantry looking right now? After holiday cooking and baking, and the entire family home from work and school the last couple of weeks, mine could use a little love! My favorite Pinterest and Instagram pictures are of pantries! And of course, a giant walk-in pantry with gorgeous, coordinating bins and baskets, and perfectly labelled containers look amazing. I don’t have a pantry like that, I wish! But there are a lot of great pantry organization tips to create maximum pantry storage that works for any size space.
I recently organized a butler’s pantry for Mindy, a local professional photographer. She, her husband and their sweet dogs live in a gorgeously restored historical farmhouse. Their pantry not only looks beautiful, but had so many great features to make it functional. Sliding shelves for easy access to high areas, and a counter for small appliances like the microwave and toaster oven. There was enough counter space to create a coffee station. The wine refrigerators below, and the glass front cabinet above, also made the pantry serve as a bar area. And because it is located near the back door, it was also storage for some of their dogs’ gear. There was even enough cabinet space for a bread maker. Overall it is a well-designed and multifunctional room!
While there was enough space for almost everything in the pantry, it still needed a little more organization to make it easier to find things. The same process I used to organize the butler”s pantry can apply to any size pantry, even if your pantry is a small closet or a few cabinets.
- PULL EVERYTHING OUT. Everything. All of it.
- SORT. As you pull everything out of your pantry, sort them into categories. My usual categories are breakfast, dinner, snacks, pasta and rice, baking, canned goods, coffees and/or teas, nuts and seeds, and miscellaneous.
- PURGE. Discard any items that are expired or that you no longer use. Look into donating unopened and unexpired food to a local food pantry. See what things you have inadvertently bought too much of (oops! Too many cans of cannellini beans in my pantry!). Try to “store things at the store” and not overbuy if you have easy access to shopping. Buying in bulk can save money, but will add stress if you don’t have the space to store all the items.
- CLEAN. While those shelves and cabinets are empty, give them a wipe down.
- EVALUATE. Once you see what you have left, decide which categories will fit into which part of your pantry space. You can use Post-It Notes to plan your areas once you decide where things will go. Sometimes items won’t fit where you originally intended, so the Post-Its can help you keep track of your categories if you have to move things around.
- DECANT. If possible, decant items into containers. The type of container you use depends on your budget, space, and personal style. There are so many great options! Mason jars are an inexpensive, cute way to store all different types of food. Use erasable markers to add the expiration date, and cut cooking instructions off the packages and tape them to the back or underside of the container.
- LEAVE ROOM FOR BACKSTOCK. After you decant into your containers, you may not be able to empty a bag or box completely. Have a space for that food, and you can top off your containers from your backstock.
- USE TURNTABLES. Turntables or Lazy Susans are great for making items more easily accessible! These are best for round items like bottles or small jars. There are also two-tiered turntables if you have the height for them.
- PLAN PRODUCT. The fun part!! Now that you know exactly how much space you have and how much you need to store, you can find the bins that work for your space and your items. Large acrylic bins are great for deep cabinets, wire baskets can look pretty while holding bags of snacks. Large woven baskets lined up on the floor can hold bottles of drinks or paper goods. Divided turntables are great storage for easily separating baby food pouches or different flavors of protein bars. Risers on a shelf for canned good lets you see what’s in the back.. A low cabinet or drawer can be set up with the snacks kids are allowed to choose from during the day.
- LABEL. Label jars with printed labels, chalkboard stickers you can write on, whatever label type works for you! You can also find cute custom labels online. Labeling the shelf or basket is also a good option.
**While organizing products can make a huge difference in how the pantry looks and functions, you can have a totally organized pantry without them! Don’t let a small budget for organizing product stop you from getting organized!! Shop around in your home and repurpose what you have!!
Do you have a coffee maker on your counter that you can’t open without moving? If your cabinet blocks you from opening the top of your coffee maker, add round felt floor protectors (the kind that go onto chair legs to prevent scratching the floor) to the bottom of your coffee maker to allow it to slide forward away from the cabinet to fill it.
I’d love to see your organized pantries! Post and tag me in your Instagram stories! @minimal_is_bliss
Looking for more organization ideas, or are you in the NYC / Fairfield County CT area? Go to minimalisbliss.com to schedule a free in-home consultation.