organize the pantry

 

It is no surprise, if you’ve been here for any amount of time, that I am OCD. I’m slowly (very slowly) attempting to let some things go. However, when I am stressed, overwhelmed, or just plain ol’ procrastinating, I organize. There is just something about organizing a cabinet, drawer, or the entire garage (whatever) that makes me feel relieved and like I at least have something together… It’s a breath of fresh air opening up an organized cabinet to me. And lately we’ve had a lot going on, which stresses me out, which made me finally organize some things and put some rooms together since we moved in, you know, 5 months ago!

So today I want to share with you how I organize our pantry. This is the first pantry we’ve ever really had. Our house in Connecticut has a teeny tiny little closet thing, that works great, but it’s dark, and not really part of the kitchen. In the house we just moved from, there was no pantry at all, just cabinets. And I’ll be honest, this is not at all the pantry I had dreamed of, when looking for houses, and I didn’t think it was very functional, but finally, I kind of really like it.

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Being organized is one way that truly does save me time and money (which will be included in my series coming later this month). Having an organized pantry definitely saves me money on our food budget. I always know exactly what I have so that I don’t buy unnecessary things, and I only have limited space, which prevents me from overbuying. AND, I only buy what we actually use / eat. I don’t buy crap just because I have a coupon, or because the internet says I need it. I only buy what I know we will use, and what fits in our “clean eating” home.

You can see our whole kitchen tour here, but for a quick reference, our pantry is to the right of our kitchen, beside the fridge.  (I’m gonna keep it real with these foggy pictures… and that bag of returns on the floor)

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When you open the doors, there are pull out drawers.

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To get organized, I made a quick assessment of everything I had, and what I normally buy. Then I arranged the drawers/shelves accordingly.

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Here is a closer look:

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On the top shelves, I have stuff we don’t use as often – our water pitcher (that we use when we travel, since we have filtered water in our home now), our dehydrator, and a couple of extra party supplies. The next shelf, is a few baking supplies (I’ll take you on a tour of my other baking cabinet soon), special snacks, and where I put the lunch boxes on the weekends.

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The next shelf holds our dry goods – beans, pastas, grains, and a couple of soups.

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Next down, holds our breakfast goods – cereal (my husband is suddenly obsessed with frosted shredded wheat, which is about the only non-gluten free food in our house), granola, fruit stuff, almonds, etc.

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And then, it’s our drink drawer! Full of teas (some just for leisure, some medicinal), coffee, and also our protein and sports/hydration drinks.

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The last, bottom drawer, which is maybe our least used (for food), holds our root veggies and canned goods.

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My tip for any organized space, is keep it simple!!! Sure, those amazingly staged pantries and spaces look fabulous on Pinterest, but if they’re not realistic for your space, then they’re not realistic! Use what you have on hand, without spending mega bucks (which I admit, I have to convince myself not to do). You can see, that even my teas are stored in a cardboard shoe box . I use a lot of the $1.00 plastic “shoe boxes” for things, and I find a lot of my baskets and organizing tools at thrift stores or the Dollar Tree. It doesn’t have to be perfect and expensive to be amazing and functional! Would I like to print labels for the drawers? YES! Would I like to add some color and paint or line those drawers? YES! And eventually, I may do that, but for now, this works. It’s still organized, it still makes me giddy, and it still saves me time and money!

Soon, I will take you on a tour of the rest of the kitchen cabinets! It is where I spend most of my time, and where I need the most organization! So stay tuned!

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What is the best organizing advice you’ve received and utilize?!? I’d love to hear it and share it, in hopes of helping others! Just leave it in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Hey Jaima! Great tips! My potatoes and onions seem to go bad quickly when they are stored together. Do you have the same problem?

  2. Best organization advice: minimize!! I remember you posting about your minimal kid toys. Now I keep all toys put away (donated SO MANY!) and rotate two, like puzzles and cars then a few days later change them for something else (Play kitchen is always out)

  3. Hi Jaima:

    I am a professional organizer and I couldn’t agree more. All the fancy/expensive containers are great, but so much can be done with dollar store and repurposed finds. I tell my clients frequently that you do not have to spend a ton of money to get organized and you will save money once you are!!

    Great job on your pantry!!
    Vicki Gretsky
    Busy Bee Organizing

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