I finally tackled my pantry. The disorganization had been bothering me for a while and I am so happy I finally did something about it.
Before I share how I did it, here is a quick back story. We moved into this house a little over three years ago. It’s a rental. And shortly after we moved in, we were told they had plans of redoing the kitchen cabinets. So I paused all plans I had for organizing my cabinets and – three years later… no new cabinets. So will it ever happen? Maybe. Will I still live here when they get around to it? Who knows!
BUT I live here now. And I want to enjoy the space now as it is. So whether this kitchen ever gets new cabinets, I want to make the best of what I have now. So here are the ways I organized my small pantry and the organizational products that made it all possible!
But before I show you what I did, look at the before! Yikes!
I wanted my pantry to look nice and beautiful, but I also wanted it to be functional. In fact, my primary goal was for it to be functional. I also needed to find a way to optimize the space in these cabinets. The cabinets are deep, so that made it hard to make sure items in the back were getting used before going bad. So that was a big issue I was determined to fix.
So here is what I did.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
So before getting into the organizational part of the pantry, I did the below.
- Took everything out of the cabinet.
- Wiped all the shelves and gave the entire cabinet a thorough clean with warm soapy water.
- Replaced all the worn-out contact paper. And this time, I took my time applying it and also purchased a better quality contact paper. Is it my favorite color and design? No. But this is what I got to work with, and I will just make the best of it.
- Went through all the food and tossed anything that was expired, or we no longer wanted.
- I grouped everything I was keeping into categories that made sense for my family. Putting everything into categories will allow me to easily create zones for it all once I put it all back in the pantry.
- Measured the shelves to make sure I had all the dimensions for when shopping for containers. I 100% recommend to always to do this. You avoid having to return items that don’t work out.
Now for the fun part! Here is how the pantry turned out!
As you can see, everything is in a zone. The same system I use in my refrigerator. Check that post out here.
In the top cabinet, I stored all my bulk items, extra items, and refillable items that are decanted into these airtight containers. The refillable items are all kept in this medium size white basket that I found at The 99 Cent Store.
I recommend assigning a hidden home for items such as the ones mentioned above. Typically, these are items that you don’t really want to keep front and center in your pantry and also they take up a lot of space. Make a space for them where they can remain “hidden” but easily accessible for when you need them.
In my case, this top cabinet is hard to reach, so it was not ideal to store food items we would need to get to daily. However, it was perfect to store all our back stock. Similarly, you can find an area in your pantry that may not work out for daily used items but would be perfect to store all the back stock/bulk items. Some ideas are behind larger baskets, inside large baskets, or inside closed cabinets.
BOTTOM CABINET – FIRST SHELF
This shelf is our canned item zone. And I added these white wire shelves to use all the vertical space. While there are many can organizational products out there, I wanted to keep this budget-friendly, so these dollar store shelves worked out perfectly for us.
However, I recommend taking into consideration the number of cans you usually have in your pantry, if it’s a lot you can just stack them up and line them up nicely. Or if you have a larger budget and prefer the can organizers, those are great too! You can also use large heavy duty baskets if you rather keep them hidden inside a pretty basket. Really, the possibilities are endless. But this is an easy and affordable way that I found worked out really well for us.
BOTTOM CABINET – SECOND SHELF
I added one of these baskets from The Container Store for the lunch + dinner zone. These baskets are perfect because I can pull them out as you would a drawer and I can easily see what I have in the back. NO MORE forgetting things in the back. I can finally see it all!
I used these containers from The Container Store to keep the bread in. However, they are perfect for just about anything. I used them everywhere in my home. I also got a few small baskets from The Dollar Store to store opened bread and other smaller items and keep them contained in this zone.
BOTTOM CABINET – THIRD SHELF
This shelf is our snack zone. Here we are keeping items such as cookies, crackers, chips, and other snacks. I also used one of these baskets from The Container Store to use as a “drawer.”
I used these airtight food storage containers to store additional snacks that I decanted such as cookies, pretzels, and other snacks. You can also use them for flour, sugar, cereal, etc.
BOTTOM CABINET – FOURTH SHELF
On this bottom shelf, I am keeping all our small kitchen appliances. So it will serve as our small kitchen appliance zone. I love that they all have a home and the space is large enough to fit them all comfortably. No more keeping them on the counter creating clutter.
I recommend finding a home/zone where you can fit all your kitchen appliances in one area.
Are you ready to tackle YOUR pantry? Here are my top tips for a successful pantry organization project.
- Purge – Take everything out of your pantry and toss, donate anything that is expired.
- Create Categories/Zones – Layout everything on a table or a large counter space so you can have room to create groups/zones of like items that make sense for YOUR family’s needs.
- Take Pictures of your Groups/Zones – You will need this to refer back to when purchasing containers and/or planing out your pantry layout.
- Clean – Take advantage of the fact that your pantry is empty and thoroughly clean your pantry, shelves, cabinets, floors, etc.
- Measure the Space – Mesure the pantry cabinets, shelves, etc. This is very necessary. You want to make sure you get the appropriate size containers. Trust me! Just do the extra work beforehand, it’ll save you from having to make one million returns after.
- Decide on Color and Type – With the pictures of your categories and measurements in mind, determine how you want to store all your pantry items. Do you want boxes, baskets, containers, jars, or a combination of all? Also, decide on a color for the containers. I recommend sticking to one or two colors.
- Decant – Consider decanting as much as you can. Use airtight containers for items such as snacks, rice, flour, beans. This saves you space, keeps your food fresh longer, and LOOKS AMAZING!
- Use Vertical Space and Cabine/Drawer/Depth – Especially important for a small pantry. You need all the space you can get.
- Shop your Home – Once you know what you want, shop at home first. See what type of organizational products you may have at home that you can repurpose.
- Go Shopping – Once you’ve shopped at home, go shopping in person, or online whatever works for you. Keep the pictures and measurements with you so you can refer back to when deciding on the container size and amount.
- Try and Try Again – When you put everything back in, I recommend moving things around until it looks just right for YOU. Live with it for a few days before making it final.
- Assign a Hidden “Zone” – For bulk and extra items. Make sure you can still access it easily when you need it.
- Label Zones and Containers – I would suggest living with your newly organized pantry for a few days before labeling, just in case you end up moving things around.
FULL LIST OF ALL I USED
- 2 Small White Basket – The 99 Cent Store or Amazon
- 1 Medium White Basket – The 99 Cent Store or Amazon
- 2 Wire White Shelves
- Airtight Cereal & Dry Food Storage Containers (comes with labels)
- Command Cord Bundlers
- 1 Multipurpose Bins
- 2 XX-Large Chancellor Baskets
And there you have it, guys! Hope this was helpful to you and that you found some good ideas that you can recreate in your home!
Before you go! Check these out, too! You may find some helpful ideas to further organize your home/life!
- Kids’ School Paper Organization – Step-by-Step Guide.
- Kids’ Wardrobe Tips: Inventorying, Purging Budgeting + Free Printable.
- How to Organize Kids Studio, School, and Sports Photos.
- Best way to Declutter Trophies and Medals.
- How to Organize Pesky Cords.
- How to Organize a Small Closet.
- Refrigerator Organization and Cleaning Tips + Tricks.
- How to Organize Board Games, Card Games, and Puzzles.
- How to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized – and Keep it That Way!