Pantry Pandering

Last week, I took some time to get our pantry reorganized.  When we first moved in, I loosely organized it by sort of grouping like items together.  It was a quick fix until I had time to a) see how it functioned and how we used it; and b) pull everything out and put it back in according a plan.  Knowing that every space presents its own challenges I started by trying to identify the problem areas, such as the depth of the cabinet. It’s going to be easy to lose items in the back.  Until I can figure out a renter friendly way of making the best use of the depth, I knew I was going to have to keep that in mind when organizing.

In our old pantry, space was limited (see here), not so much in our new one.  But, with more space, comes more possibility for mess, as you can see in the before photos below.
Pantry Before!
As I said, when we first moved in, I organized the pantry loosely by category.  Over the weeks, it became a jumbled mess.  Not very efficient, and lots of wasted space.  The first thing I did was pull everything off of the shelves, and cleaned it out (AGAIN!)
All Empty!
The shelves are adjustable, and I toyed with moving some around.  In the end, I opted to leave them where they were.  I have more plans for this down the road, and at that time I might play around with the shelf heights.

I didn’t take any pictures of the items scattered around our kitchen, so I’ll just give you a run down on what I did.  Before emptying the pantry I collected a bunch of baskets and bins from around the house.  These items were serving no purpose, and I wanted to know what I had to work with.  I also pulled out any food storage container not currently being used and had them ready to be filled.  As I pulled items out, I grouped them together in categories, such as: baking, soups, canned goods, sauces, snacks, breakfast, etc…  I stored what I could in the containers and used baskets to help corral the rest of it.  Then I popped everything back into the pantry, trying to keep like items with like, as much as I could.

Muuuuch Better

My inner organizer is beaming from ear to ear!  What a difference a little bit of time, and a little bit of planning can do.  Want a closer look?

A Home for the Kitchen Binder

I kept it really simply in how I organized it.  The lefts side of the two top shelves holds spreads and snacks.  That round basket was perfect for holding the smaller items like fruit snacks, nuts,  and granola bars.  The right side holds soups, stocks, and other items I use for either a quick lunch or a quick sauce.  And of course, my Kitchen Management Binder has it’s home up top!  I am loving having room for it in the kitchen.  I find I’m using it more now than I did before.  Another day I’ll share that with you.

All Lined Up

The next shelf is dedicated to all things baking!  Baskets help keep smaller items neat and contained, while food storage containers and ice-cream pails keep bulkier items looking uniform.  The bottom left side is for breakfast stuff like cereal, oats, and pancake mix.  Bottom right is pastas and rices.

Room to Grow


As you can see, we still have plenty of space that isn’t being used.  Which, to me, is heavenly.

There are a few things that still need to be done to finish this space off.

  • Labels:  Need to get things labelled.
  • More Cannisters/Containers:  To help utilize the space a little better.
  • Shelf Liner: Something pretty and that can be easily removed
  • Big Baskets for potatoes and other produce.
  • Pantry Inventory:  To make sure nothing gets forgotten in the depths.
Now that I know what I need, and have a rough idea of measurements, I can start keeping my eyes open for items on sale.  I’m itching to get some pretty shelf paper in here, I just haven’t found the right stuff yet.  I want something that is easy to clean, but pops with color.  Weird?  Yeah, ok, maybe a little, but when you can only change so many elements in your home, it makes the ones you can a little more fun!
Here’s the Before and After one more time:

And that’s our pantry!

Do you like it when your pantry/food storage is neat and tidy?  What tips and tricks do you use to keep it that way?  Anyone recommendations for where to find a good shelf liner?



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