It only took me 6 years to get this pantry done…Ha! Before we moved in, my dad and I installed the shelving, but I wasn’t able to complete the finish work before move in day.
Before pic supplied from builder before we moved in and where I left off with my dad.
Then you know how it goes…once you move it, you have to put your food somewhere. Then the pantry is full and it is going to take removing every single thing and making a huge mess to complete. And this is how to you get to year 6 before you’re willing to do what’s needed.
But I finally completed it. And it was indeed a big project. But now it is done and organized and all I have to do is keep it that way (which I try to do every time I go to the grocery store…or have groceries delivered these days). I completed this project about a year ago and it is still working out very well. Very little has changed. Mostly just rearranging when I have too much food in there!
So let’s take a look at what went down in here to make it finally work efficiently.
These are basic tips and notes for organizing a space like this. You can use these tips for really anything you are trying to organize.
FIRST, ANALYZE THE SITUATION
Before you start, take a good long look at your space and note what is working, but mostly what is NOT working. Because those things are what you are going to fix.
You know how the basics go. Clean out, purge and start over from scratch. I actually took every single thing out of the pantry because I had the finish work to complete. So I needed to fix a sagging shelf, caulk everything and paint. My kitchen was an absolute disaster. But I do recommend taking everything out before you start putting things back in regardless.
Side note: This is not an Insta-worthy kind of pantry post. While I try to make things look nice, this is a family of five workhorse kind of pantry post, you know – real life. So it’s function over anything else.
THIRD, HIT THE PAIN POINTS
Here’s where you are going to have to do some thinking…I know, sometimes it hurts. But hopefully some of these tips will help you not have to think so muchJ. This is where you address the issues you noted in your analysis of the situation.
Once you do these steps you are well on your way to nicely organized pantry.
MY BEST TIPS FOR AN ORGANIZED PANTRY
Now let’s move on to the solutions I used to create an organized and functional pantry.
ZONES FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS
I separated my pantry into the zones outlined below. This is pretty self-explanatory. If you have a reach in pantry, your zones could be one shelf or half a shelf.
I also tried to include the items around the corner for you.
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BASKETS AND BINS
My biggest tip here is to make sure your baskets or bins are either see through or shallow. I have had large baskets in my pantry before, they look really pretty, but when you can’t see what you have, you end up buying things you really don’t need.
I do a lot of bulk shopping. I prefer to have a well-stocked pantry so I can be lazy about my meal planning…HA! But I’m not going to dump a Costco size bag of brown rice in a giant bin on my shelf. So I have small containers and then all the excess stuff was piling up on the floor. I dislike piles. My solution was to add two crates on casters for all those big items. Now they are out of sight but still there when I need them. I probably need to add a third.
If you want a truly organized space, you need to take most everything out of its original packaging. I try to use glass containers, but I do have some plastic containers that I love and I’m not really about changing things when they are working. When they go kaput, I will likely replace with glass.
Labels are very helpful. But I don’t recommend anything permanent, so you can change things up as needed. I ended up using a paint pen to write directly on my containers. BUT don’t be like me and use it on plastic containers, it doesn’t come off without damage…you’re welcome. Anywho…a paint pen on glass is great. It stays put with hand washing and scrubs off easily with my metal scrub pads.
OVERSIZED LAZY SUSANS
These are so great! My pantry setup left me with those big, semi-annoying wasteland corners. To get around that, I added these oversized lazy Susans and voila! the space is now usable. You can put so many little things on them and have them within reach with a simple spin. Love.
POTATO AND ONION STORAGE
Storage for these little guys has been a struggle over the years. I used to put them in these big mesh bins, but they got too crowded and things would go bad. So I searched high and low for a solution to this problem. It wasn’t all that easy, but I did find some products that I loved. I ended up with the hanging baskets because I just didn’t have enough shelf space for another large basket or two and I did not want them to be on the floor.
I was going to put my old utilitarian storage back up, but once the rest of the pantry looked so nice, I just couldn’t do it. So I repurposed a picture ledge I made years ago into a peg shelf and now I have overly pretty storage for the daily cleaning supplies! Big cleaning tools are hung on the back of the door.
PHEW! Did you hang in there with me? That was a lot, but I feel like more is better for these kinds of things. Me just saying do this, do that isn’t all that helpful. However, I find laying out the why behind the what helps give greater understanding.
If you tackle your pantry, please let me know how it goes in the comments below. Also, if you have found solutions to your storage problems, please share.