How to: Organize Your Pantry (...and Make It Look Pretty)

Organized pantry with labeled bins.

Because you can close the door to the pantry, it's easy to ignore it. But there's something very satisfying about organized food (for me anyways). So today I'm going to pass along my tips and tricks for giving your pantry a stylish makeover.   


Before starting your pantry makeover, you'll want to buy new containers for your dry goods. Make sure to buy clear stackable ones, and do consider what you'll be putting in them... if you eat a lot of rice, buy a large container so you can buy it in bulk. Do you tend to buy fettuccine instead of a smaller pasta like penne? Then make sure you buy a container that's tall enough to accommodate it. And these containers don't have to be expensive - Jen from The Social Home, the mastermind behind the beautiful pantry in the title image, bought hers at the dollar store.

Now, let's get started!

A clean, empty pantry.

1. Remove everything. Begin by taking everything off of the shelves (by the way, you can check out the details of the makeover above right here). Separate the contents into piles - one for items that should be transferred into the new storage containers, and one for items that will stay in their own packaging. 

2. Grab a garbage bag. Toss anything that is stale or outdated, and donate any canned goods that you don't plan to use. And keep the bag close by, you'll need it again in step 4. 

Sticky spill on a pantry shelf.

3. Clean. Next, spray the surface of the shelves with a disinfecting solution and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Wipe clean with a paper towel. Now attack any stubborn, sticky spills by spraying with hot water and scraping gently with a putty knife or an old credit card (find more tips on cleaning up sticky messes like the one above here). Let the shelves dry thoroughly before restocking them. 

4. Use those new containers. It's time to put all those storage containers you bought to good use. Do remember to label your containers (step 5) as you're doing this step. Start transferring your dry goods over, taking care to pick appropriately sized containers. Throw away (or recycle) all of the old bags and boxes. 

Labeled pantry containers.

5. Label, label, label. This step should be done simultaneously with step 4 so you don't forget what you're putting into each container. Also, be sure to add the date from the original package onto the new label. Download the labels shown above for free here... they come in different shapes and sizes, and they also offer blank ones if you prefer to fill them in yourself. Or for more flexibility, you could order these reusable chalkboard labels from Amazon.

6. Divide into categories. Now that everything is transferred and labeled, you'll want to restock your shelves strategically. Put all of your baking ingredients in one pile, and all your snack items in another. You should customize the space according to your habits, too... if you're a big coffee fan, group things like coffee beans, a coffee grinder, and sugar together in a bin or basket.

Organized pantry with great use of vertical space.

7. Stock your shelves. Now it's time to put everything back. As shown above, make sure to use vertical space to your advantage, filling all available shelving (even if it's too high to reach... that's what step stools are for). Place items that you use most right at eye level. [Photo: Luxe Finds]

And that's it! Now you have a pretty new pantry that you won't be embarrassed to open at your next dinner party. And if you have any other helpful pantry organizing tips, be sure to share them in the comments section below!

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NachSchaten on Jan 04, 2016:

Spices should always be stored in airtight and opaque containers. Especially if you buy them in large batches. They lose their potency quickly when exposed to those two elements if they're not used quickly. Just food for thought (money saving as well)

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