When we built out our pantry, my biggest ask was that it be efficient and user-friendly. We are constantly thinking about resale so we wanted something that felt custom, but that would fit anyone’s everyday use. With that we included spaces for baskets, etc. but also included built-in drawers and baskets. Just enough to make it feel fancy and custom, but also useful.
But pantries can be tricky. Most of the time they are just shelves, or a big cabinet! So how do you keep them organized? In the areas that are just shelves, we use tons of the clear bins from the Container Store, as well as baskets that are decorative and simplistic on the higher shelves. Let’s be honest there are a lot of items that you don’t use on a daily basis that could potentially clog up the space, so make sure to put them in less easy to access spots like really low or really high.
I also use categories like crazy in our pantry. I feel like that helps keeps things organized and easy to find. So we have a shelf, basket, drawers, or bin for: snacks, breakfast items, baking, condiments, cooking oils, flours/sugars/oats, drinks, etc. But sometimes even making these categories can seem super overwhelming. I’ve been there…
You’re standing front of the space, staring, wondering where to start? Here are the steps I took to reorganize and maximize our pantry:
Clean out! This means go through every single thing you have in your pantry. Throw out things that are expired (there are probably more items than you think), take things out that you just stored there because you put it there a year ago and forgot about it because you didn’t have anywhere else to put it? Yup, we’ve all done it. Your’ pantry should be empty by the end of this
Pile it up! While you are taking everything out and purging, put them into piles. This is where you create your categories! Nothing fancy, literally a corner on the counter, a spot on the floor, that’s it! If it is a similar category or you want them to be closer together, put them in the same pile.
Measure your space. This is one of the most important parts because sometimes you just use a basket or bin that you have on hand, which is fine! But sometimes they are too small and therefore aren’t super efficient. Now if you are in the mood or of the mind to really customize this space, then make sure not to skip this step! Measure every single shelf: length x width x height. If you have those adjustable knobs (meaning you can change the height of the shelf), note it! Or make them all as even as you can while you’re measuring it all out.
Decide the aesthetic. So you have 1. an empty space 2. an idea of the number of categories 3. all of your measurements. Now you need to decide what you want the space to look like! Do you want bins that you can see through? Do you want solid ones? Natural baskets? Labels? Lighter or darker? Don’t get overwhelmed, check out some options on Pinterest or The Home Edit’s Instagram page.
Now, time to shop! I have included some of my picks below: items I’ve used and ones that are on my wishlist. But don’t miss out on some other great stores. Surprisingly, IKEA has some great organization pieces: awesome baskets, some useful boxes too. Now as much as you want to go crazy, trust me, I’ve been there. Don’t buy enough to fill your ENTIRE space. Maybe just buy enough to fill the categories, and then work on the misc. stuff later? We definitely have a shelf or two that has a bin with some extra’s on the edge. There will always be extra’s. If you have a weird space that wouldn’t fit a box/bin/basket well find some food storage solutions for often-used items. For me those are: almonds, grains, oats, flours. If you have kids that could be a spot to pour their bulk snacks into.
BINS + BOXES