Pantry Perfection

Tips for Tackling the Task of Organizing

By Christi Blevins

There are many reasons to strive for an organized pantry. You may be so overwhelmed by the contents of your cupboard that you open the door and hope that the movement doesn’t trigger an avalanche of boxes and bags. It’s time to reclaim your pantry and your sanity.

First Things First

Empty your pantry of everything. Yes, everything. Get rid of things you will never use, including stale and out-of-date items.

While the cupboard is bare, go in for the deep clean. If you’re going for a designer look, now is your chance to paint the walls and shelves.

Get in the Zone

While everything is out of the pantry, take a moment to consider your needs. Mentally divide the space into different sections.

Some possible sections might be:

  • Baking goods
  • Breakfast foods
  • Condiments
  • Canned goods
  • Snack foods
  • Paper products
  • Small appliances


The Lazy Susan should get a new branding agent. Ingenious, Space-Saving Susan would be a more fitting name. These versatile turntables allow you to make use of awkward corners in your pantry. They are great for bottles, spices, and much more.

Cans of a Feather Flock Together

Tomatoes go with tomatoes. Beans go with beans. You see where this is going, right? Channel your inner preschooler and practice your sorting skills.

While you’re putting things in place, remember to put the newest items in the back. This will ensure that items close to their expiration dates are used first. Utilize this product placement technique each time you put away your groceries.

I Can See Clearly Now the Grain is Gone

Use clear storage containers for things like flour, rice, quinoa, oatmeal, coffee, tea, and dried legumes. Glass jars look nice, and they allow you to see when it’s time to add an item to your shopping list. The greatest benefit of decanting dry goods is it prevents mice and other pests from getting into your food.

If your budget allows for it and you would like to purchase matching containers, go for it. Otherwise, you can use basic canning jars and repurposed glass jars.

A Tisket a Tasket, Store Some Things in Baskets

Baskets and bins are perfect for deep shelves. Items like potatoes can be stored in large baskets under the bottom shelf to utilize floor space. Remember that while onions and potatoes taste delicious when cooked together, they need to be kept apart in your pantry to prevent your potatoes from sprouting quickly. 

If you have small children, snack baskets stored at child level are an excellent way to foster some independence and healthy choices. Stock a basket with granola bars, bags containing child-size portions of low sugar cereal, applesauce, etc. When it’s snack time, your child will enjoy selecting an item. Unhealthier snacks can be hidden away, out of reach, and out of view.

Great but Realistic Expectations

Real-life isn’t like an animated movie with enchanted forest animals pitching in to make your life easier while they regale you with a tune. To make matters worse, there’s a good chance that not every person in your household will place a high priority on pantry organization. That’s okay.

Relationships are more important than a beautifully decanted jar of cereal placed on its designated shelf. In short, don’t expect your beautiful pantry to stay organized without ongoing maintenance. Strive for progress rather than perfection and plan on tidying and reorganizing your pantry every few months.

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