Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kitchen Pantry Organization

Everyone has their weaknesses and strengths and let's just say that cleaning and organizing are not my strengths =) In fact, sometimes I read various design and home blogs and get little pangs of envy just seeing how clean some of those houses look!

For the most part I keep my house fairly clean, but I'm definitely guilty of letting things get disorganized over time. A few months ago I reorganized my kitchen pantry and it stayed that way for a few weeks. However, last week I got quite frustrated when it took me awhile to find something I was looking for in the pantry. I had one of those "Whoa, how did it get this bad" moments. Not good!

I knew it was time to organize again. I wanted to do it right this time and knew just cleaning out the pantry shelves and putting everything back neatly wouldn't work long-term. I had to actually organize the stuff in there, which was no small task for me!

Take a look at what I started with:
Embarrassing, I know. 

Just to give myself some credit, though - that Pringles can on the 2nd to top shelf isn't actually chips - it holds all my straws! Just clean out an empty can, let it dry overnight, and stash all your straws in there for easy use.

Ok, back to the pantry organization. I knew I wanted to do this project on the cheap side. I found these baskets for $1 each at our local dollar store. I found them at the Dollar Tree, so if you have one near you, hurry and buy some fast, because I've never seen them there before. I bought 12. They only had three colors, these two and a bright red, so my options were limited. No complaints though, the price was great.


I'll spare you the pictures of my kitchen counter tops covered with ALL the pantry items. Yep, I emptied the entire pantry, saved what I wanted and got rid of expired food (ew, I know, but hey, it's life, sometimes I forget to use up stuff I've already bought). After that, I laid out all the baskets and started organizing. Once they were filled up, I put them back in the pantry. Now when I need something, I can easily spot it and the baskets slide out so nothing gets lost in the back.

Tip #1) Organize by type of food. Put all drink related items in one basket, pasta in another, etc

Tip #2) Don't overfill the baskets. The goal is to be able to see everything inside each basket so it's easier to remember what you have on hand for meals and snacks.

Tip #3) Pick baskets that will slide easily on the shelf. Make sure there isn't a non-slip surface on the bottom, like some office organization baskets may have.

Again, keep baskets organized by type of food


Use empty space for bigger items like cereal boxes. If you buy in bulk, keep the bulk items organized elsewhere, so the pantry isn't overwhelmed with stuff. For example, we order cereal in bulk on Amazon (it's really cheap, about $1/box cheaper + free shipping). Instead of stacking all the boxes in a small pantry, I keep the extra boxes in the cupboard under our kitchen island and pull out a new one when the current box is used up. It keeps the main pantry more simple and efficient for locating what you need

The baskets are great for stashing loose items in, such as bulk items and random snack bars.

After about 1 1/2 hours of work and only $12 spent on the baskets, here is my organized pantry!



Much better! 

Someday I'll get around to adding a label to the front of each basket, but like I said earlier, organization isn't one of my strengths, so this task alone was enough for me for one day =) 
Have you conquered a pantry organization project lately? If so, post a link to your blog post in the comment section. 

Happy Thursday!

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