When we remodeled our kitchen, creating a pantry was at the top of my priority list (well, other than having an oven that cooks at the right temperature!). We didn’t have a pantry in our old kitchen, and we needed more storage.
We ended up closing in our garage storage room and opening it up inside to make it into a pantry. Best. Idea. Ever.
Here’s what it looks like now:
That’s what it looks like now, but it didn’t start off that way.
Here’s what I started with:
So much potential!
When I first loaded it up, I tried to organize it, but it didn’t so much work. It got messy, and fast. Here’s what it turned into, as of last week:
It still was sorta’ kinda’ organized, but we had just started putting stuff in without regard to that organization, and it was becoming, well, chaos. I don’t do chaos.
So, I decided to start over.
First, I pulled everything out of the pantry. Then, I recreated “zones” in the pantry, so that everything had a space. I used baskets and bins I already had to corral root vegetables and other loose items:
It took me the better part of a day to accomplish this, but here’s the finished, organized pantry!
Same picture, but labeled to show you the “zones” I created:
OK, lemme break it down for ya, zone by zone. Starting on the right side as you go in:
Cereal and snacks are at kid-level, so they can reach them easily. Up top, I even have extra shelf space – I can’t believe it! I’m thinking I might move my vases there (out of the dining room, where they don’t really belong anyway).
Moving to the back of the right side…
I made sure to put the heavier and most frequently used small appliances on the bottom shelves, where I can easily access them. Less frequently used baking supplies go on the top shelf.
Now the back wall of the pantry:
Continuing around, now the back left side:
I moved these serving pieces and some of the pots out of the dining room and into the pantry. So much better. Now they’re where I actually need them, and not tucked away in the dining room, where I forget about them.
Moving to the front of the left side, by the entry:
I love having the art supplies right here, because then the kids can move them easily to the kitchen table when they want them.
And that’s our newly organized pantry!
I am so much happier now, because I can find everything easily and everything has a place. Order out of chaos.
When organizing the pantry, I kept these guidelines in mind:
- I created zones in the pantry, so that all related items were together. For example, all baking supplies are in one spot; all canned goods are in one spot; all breakfast foods are in one area; etc. These zones make it easy to find what I need (and easy to tell when we are out of something!).
- I wanted to use baskets and bins that I already had to organize the pantry; that way, I wasn’t spending any additional money. I had perfectly good baskets and bins already here. Always check what you have first, before venturing out to buy new. If they are mismatched, either go with the eclectic look or spray paint them all the same color.
- Taking food out of its packaging and putting it in bins or containers (a) makes more space in the pantry (I couldn’t believe I ended up with an empty shelf I didn’t have before!); and (b) allows everyone to see what we have. I recycled all of the cartons and bags.
- Put the more frequently used items toward the bottom or at eye level, rather than up high, so that they are easily accessible. Put the less frequently used things, like vases, storage containers, etc. up high and out of the way.
- Put kid-friendly stuff at kid level. I have snacks and art supplies where they can reach them.
- Throw out anything that’s expired or spoiled (obviously).
I hope these tips help you with organizing your pantry, too!