How to organize the pantry

If you need to learn how to organize the pantry you have found the right place. For a lot of us organizing the pantry is a big task as there is so much in it.

For an organizer a pantry is pretty straight forward. Normally I start with a fairly easy thing to do and I suggest you eat your way through it.

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere or have fears about impending doom (the end of the world is near) you do not need five bottles of tomato sauce and six types of pasta in your pantry.

If you are like most of us and live in close proximity to a super market. It means a small pantry that is lightly stocked is generally good for your sanity, it is beneficial for your wallet and visually more appealing.

Now we are in the right frame of mind to organize the pantry, let’s start!

• Firstly take stock of what you have. 
• Group items together; sauce, pasta, rice, spices etc.

To reduce the items in your pantry:

  • Make meal plan(s) based on what you have. 
  • Always check your stock in the pantry before you buy more. 
  • Stick to a handful of sauces, types of rice and types of pasta, more is not always better.
  • Throw out open or unused items that you will not use or have expired. Sometimes exotic foods seem like a great idea in the supermarket, until you get home and do not know how on earth you are supposed to cook with it. Throw all these items out and move on.

Use containers to organize the pantry

Once you have decluttered your pantry, it is time to organize it.

• Use see-through square containers. See-through containers make it easier to decipher the content and are therefore quicker in their use. It is also fairly easy to label them quickly.

• The shape matters; square containers save allot on space, opposed to round canisters. Square or rectangular containers also have the benefit that they can easily stack on top of each other.

• If possible keep most of your containers in a number of standard sizes and all from the same brand. Make sure you can easily find them in your local supermarket or household store, if you don’t, you will end up with a mismatch of containers over time. Also having the same or very similar containers make the pantry appear more organized in a short space of time.

• Group smaller items in baskets, use open baskets to put your oils and sauces together. I also use it to keep the potatoes airy and together. It is easy to see and access items when they are grouped.

Label items when you organize the pantry

It is important when you organize the pantry to label items

You can of course take the label maker out and label all containers. The easiest and fastest way I label is by cutting a part of the packaging and then attaching this with some sticky tape on both the top and the side of a see-through rectangular container. If you use a good quality matt sticky tape, it is easy to remove afterwards as well.

What if I have a small kitchen and no dedicated pantry?

You can use two of the cupboards in your kitchen that are dedicated to pantry items. In my kitchen I have a higher pantry shelve for less often used items. This means that the flour, icing sugar and items which are fully stocked, all live here on the higher shelve.

On one of the bottom shelves, I have created another pantry spot with more cooking items like; pasta, potatoes, some oils and sauces. It is easy to follow for me and we don’t really miss a walk in pantry.

If you still struggle for space I have seen several people use a part of their laundry to store say bags of rice and flour in. It is not a suggestion that I personally use or something which will come back in vogue living magazine, but being organized is not all about how it looks. Having an organized pantry or any other area for that matter means it makes sense and functions well for you.

When you do have a specific pantry

Although a walk-in party is good, it is easy to buy way too much food and then it is a big job to organize it and reduce the amount of food in it. If you have a walk in pantry and need to organize it, it is a great space to start practicing your newly developing organizing skills.

Keep these things in mind when you organize the pantry:

  • Really dedicate areas to groupings 
  • Use baskets and containers
  • Clear the floor (this makes a huge psychological difference)
  • Assess after a while what is working and what is not

Having an organized pantry is a great feeling and both organizing the pantry as well as maintaining it, can reduce your grocery bill immensely.


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