Organizing your Pantry

These days our kitchens are getting tons of use as we are cooking at home more than ever.  Limited trips to the market have changed the way we think when it comes to stocking up, and we find ourselves shopping in “bulk,” versus “everyday.” Yikes!

A few weeks ago if you had asked anyone of us if our pantry was in good order, we would have answered with a resounding YES!  However, as we have stocked up on essentials, and maybe even overdone it, our pantries are now too full and messy!

Can you answer “what is in your pantry”? Take a look and you may find items that are half-open, expired, or just plain empty.  As we prepare to stay at home for an extended time, we really need to have staples that will get us through this!  Now it is the optimal time to get organized. 😉

In the last few weeks, we have really come to appreciate pantry space. However, “pantries” come in all shapes and sizes, and can be carved out of many different spaces. We want to share with you some ideas for efficient and organized storage for your food items, as well as the extra supplies you have on hand now.

A secret pantry – It may look like standard doors, but there is hidden space inside when you open the doors. The perfect combination of functional and good-looking, this pantry puts to use space behind the kitchen for extra storage. A secret in itself, this pantry is a treasure trove of storage shelves, gracefully hidden behind a pair of elegant cabinet doors.  This type of pantry allows for both everyday and bulk items to be stored together and be easily accessible to the kitchen.

The clean sweep – Organizing experts recommend taking everything out ( 😳 ) of your pantry, checking dates, and editing out what is expired or unused to create space for the “essentials” (there’s that word again).

Take inventory – Knowing what you have on hand cuts down on unnecessary duplicates. Try to group all items that belong together. Reassemble and stack with labels in full view for easy grab and go, based on the priority of usage. For example, salad dressing would be eye level at my house (…okay maybe it would be snacks).

Jars, bins and baskets – It’s much easier to STAY organized when everything has it’s place. Baskets, wire bins and various sized jars are the way to go for “bulking up.” Buying bulk items like rice, beans, nuts and dried fruit that can be filled in paper bags is far mare sustainable than plastic containers, shrink wrap and baggies. Labeling the “bulk bins” would make the perfect creative craft project to share with your kids. 😉

Small Space – Have limited space and no room for a walk in? No problem. Part of this kitchen renovation included a pantry made from a converted window in the hallway adjacent to the main kitchen. This afforded much needed, cleverly hidden food storage.  We bet you can find small hideaways in your home as well! Think outside the norm.

Limited Pantry – or no pantry at all? Make use of all that wall space. A rail that runs along a backsplash is ideal for hanging utensils, pots, aprons, and anything else you might need to have ready at your fingertips when cooking or entertaining.  This will open up space in your cabinets for food items.

Cabinet drawers – Use the new real-estate previously occupied by pots and pans in under-counter drawers for labeled jars with bulk food items. Since the contents won’t be visible, label the jars with neat handwriting or create printouts for cute peel-and-stick labels. These 2-1/2″ circle labels are a perfect fit for Mason jar lids.

Upper cabients – Or, if you have more space in the upper cabinets, just label the jars on the side instead of the top. To be extra green, clean and re-use old jars (think pasta sauce-size) for your new storage.

Bulk storage – We understand that storage for a big family has become a BIG challenge. If you have over-stuffed your pantry like we have, you may suddenly have to make more space.  One solution is to find space for an overflow pantry. Organize a wall in your basement or garage and order shelving and bins online for a makeshift “storage station” to get you through this period. The Container Store is one of our favorites for shelving and bin options and is now offering curbside pickup. And who knows? Maybe it will be so convenient that it becomes a permanent solution.

We hope you are staying safe and healthy. These are unusual times and we are all just doing the best we can. Maybe some of this organization will help clear our minds as well as our pantry.

Thank you for reading! As always, thanks to Jeff Herr for the beautiful images, and special thanks to Anna Alexa and Lonny for images and inspiration. We would love to see any progress made on your storage solutions. Share with us on Instagram!


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