Pantry Organization…without all those pretty containers

Don’t you just admire those pantries with beautiful organization? Clean, labeled, spacious, organized and so on. Anyone else feel like that’s unattainable? For me, it could be attainable, but unrealistic for me to actually maintain it in this household. So give yourself a little grace. My pantry isn’t picture perfect, but it is organized. Here’s how I did it and some tips for you.

When you walk in our kitchen from the garage, we have a wall of cabinets and for the most part, I’ve got them all organized appropriately. Because we don’ t have a mudroom or a good drop zone, I’ve dedicated one cabinet to be that for me. When I walk in the door, I put my purse here. I also keep my clear bag for football games here, too. It makes it easy to transfer my items prior to leaving the house for gameday. The bottom storage containers hold household items. My little tool box for quick fixes; command strips; nails and screws; velcro; etc.

purse cabinet

Since this area was organized, I needed to shift my focus to the left and take care of the pantry. I did this yesterday and it didn’t take too long. I needed something to do in the house while riding out Hurricane Irma. Here are my before pics. I let it get really bad. If you followed my instagram stories, you saw all the food pulled out and spread all over the counter.

before photo

Yes, that is one shelf that totally collapsed and squished another shelf. In clearing everything out, I learned these lazy susan shelves are adjustable. Which is great!

before top

That’s the top cabinet. I can barely reach stuff up there. So disorganized with no order. It was all of our chips and snacks.

Tip #1 — pull everything out. Get your pantry empty.

Tip #2 — you don’t have to use bins, containers, etc. I only used some that I had on hand.

Tip #3 — think about what you use more often. Put those at eye level. If someone in your family opens the pantry and always stands there trying to find their snack, make it easier for them by putting it right in front of their face. Kind of like selective hearing. selective seeing, LOL!

Here’s an overall after photo of the bottom pantry.

after bottom

The top shelf are items we use occasionally–PB & J, some other jars. Not daily items.

after shelf 1

The second shelf are bread items. My husband make s sandwich, a burger, a hot dog, quesadilla, etc. on a regular basis. I was previously storing these item on the top shelf. They would often go stale because I could barely see them up, there would get pushed to the back, and then go stale. I’m hopeful that since they are closer to eye level that I will see them and dispose of them sooner when they go stale and that my husband will see them and use them more often before they go stale.

after shelf 3

The third and fourth shelf are snack items. I rolled all our chip bags and closed them with a clothespin. The third shelf are items my husband can eat. That fourth shelf got cut off, but it’s my gluten free snacks.

Tip #4 — If certain members of your family have dietary restrictions, give them their own shelf. It just makes it easier!

Tip #5 — Make your pins easily accessible. I was originally planning to use a small basket or jar to hold all these clothespins, but I knew they would never stay there. So I clipped them to the shelf. It’s a win-win because it’s takes up less space than a container and it’s more accessible this way.

after shelf 4

And the bottom shelf are snacks and items we barely use and/or we shouldn’t use. There’s jello boxes, candies, little debbies, etc. My husband bought so many honey buns to be his non-perishable items during the hurricane. He ate half of them two days before the storm hit and had to go to the store again. He’s so funny.

Tip #6 — put the unhealthy items out of sight. I’m all for sweets in moderation, so to help with that, I put them in the bottom shelf. So when I run to the pantry for a snack, it’s not the first thing I see.

And then on to the upper cabinet. I put what was left up here: pastas, quinoa, etc. These are cooking items for meals, but items I don’t use regularly. I also put my “refill” items up here–the extra bottle of ketchup, the gatorade mix, etc.

after top cabinet

Tip #7–put your refills in an accessible location but not somewhere you go to daily. You’re storing them for future use, so make them accessible and visible so you remember you have them, but not right in front of your face like the items you go to daily.

Tip #8–you don’t need fancy containers to organize. The only containers I used were small shallow baskets that I already had on hand. I think they came from the Dollar Tree. Use what you have. Also, if something is in a basket or container, sometimes you don’t know what it is. It’s easier to keep the cheez-its and lays chips in the packaging they come in so you know what they are and their expiration date.

Tip #9 – bring everything forward. I have a lot of empty space on the back of the shelves. But it doesn’t matter because if something is back there, it might as well be lost and non-existent. Put what you have up front and visible so you’ll use it.

I hope these help and inspire you to organize a little.

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