Today, my friend Becky and I have teamed-up to share some inspiration for those interested in tackling a little pantry make-over project that can really help to improve efficiency in the kitchen.
That’s because having a well-organized pantry enables you to not only quickly locate items needed for a recipe, but also ensures that you’re better able to track what’s in your pantry. Being able to better monitor your food inventory allows you to avoid buying in excess, which not only wastes space, but usually results in having to toss out items that expire due to them getting “lost in the disorganized crowd.”
Another great thing about reorganizing your pantry is, it can be easily accomplished with even the smallest of budgets!
A Peek into Becky’s Pantry!
Hello! I’m Becky from Organizing Made Fun and I know firsthand how inefficient it can be to have a disorganized pantry. As you can see below, our kitchen has a nice size pantry, but it looked pretty shabby when we first moved into our home.
Becky’s Pantry BEFORE:
As shown above, it didn’t really even look like a pantry, but more like a storage closet. (The former owner used it for storing dishes.) So once we moved in, we took a little time to reconfigure the space by utilizing some very inexpensive storage systems. Here’s what my pantry looks like today …
Becky’s Pantry AFTER:
As you can see, with just a few simple and inexpensive changes, my family now has a well-organized pantry that we love! One our favorite additions was a new vertical storage rack on the back of the pantry door. We also purchased some stackable food storage containers, which really helps to save space and keep food easily in view. And, I used an old flat wooden turntable, as well as lots of repurposed baskets and bins to group together smaller food items by categories.
Of course, I’d like to point out that my pantry may not hold the same food items that yours does. After all, we’re fairly new to the real food lifestyle. But as Kelly is always quick to point out – eating healthy is a journey and we all have to start somewhere!
A Peek into Kelly’s Pantry!
So true, Becky! It’s slow, steady progress that leads to healthy changes that last a lifetime! And a great way to keep your family on track with your healthy eating goals and budget is to get your pantry whipped into shape!
Here’s a peek at how we reorganized our pantry so my family and I can easily locate whatever we’re looking for and also maximize the available space we have in our traditional cabinet-style pantry.
Kelly’s Pantry Make Over:
Like Becky, we installed a rack system on the inside doors of our pantry to increase our storage capacity. We also have several raised shelves that also help to increase our storage capacity by making use of available vertical space. And my food storage system of choice is simply repurposed glass jars of all shapes and sizes. Although I also have several BPA-free Snapware containers that I really like for storing certain dry goods.
And, if you’re curious about my favorite real food staples for a well-stocked pantry, then I invite you to check out “Stocking Your Pantry with Real Food Cooking Essentials.”
Tips for Organizing Your Pantry!
There are many different systems, gadgets and ideas for organizing a kitchen pantry. The following are just a few ways that Becky and I have found to better maximize pantry space, as well as better organize how pantry items are arranged for increased efficiency.
• Pantry Door Rack – Adding a vertical pantry door rack is an economical way to really increase storage space and provide easy access to frequently used items. It’s definitely a favorite addition to both of our pantry make-overs, as shown in the photos above.
• Raised Shelves – Raised shelves are a terrific way to not only make use of vertical space, thereby increasing your storage capacity, but they’re also great for keeping food items in sight and easy to reach. Raised shelves are especially great for deep pantries because they eliminate the need to continually pull things off the shelves in order to get to the items in the very back, which in turn helps you to avoid food getting lost and forgotten in the back of the pantry.
• Baskets & Bins – Recycling old baskets and bins for use as storage containers is a simple and cost-effective method for organizing food and other pantry items. There are also stacking bins available that enable you to better utilize vertical space in your pantry. You can find all kinds of options online at Amazon. However, you can also find various types of inexpensive baskets and bins at places like Target, Ikea and many 99¢ stores.
• Food Storage Containers – There are so many options for storing food from snap-top BPA-free plastic storage containers and canisters to old-fashioned glass jars and terrines. The key is to make sure to use the right type of container for the food being stored. For example, foods with natural oils, such as nuts, seeds and certain grains, as well as all liquid-type foods such as oils and vinegars should be stored in glass rather than plastic. While dry foods such as pastas, oats and beans do fine when stored in either plastic or glass.
• Recycled Jars – When it comes to storing food, you can really save money by repurposing various sized jars to store food in your pantry (and in your fridge too). Using recycled jars as storage containers is a particular favorite of Kelly’s, as shown in her pantry make over photo above.
• Trays – Becky has many uses for trays in her kitchen. In her pantry, she uses a simple wooden tray to hold all of her baking supplies (as shown at right). That way, she can just grab the whole tray and take it over to where she’s mixing up a batch of something yummy!
• Turntables – Using a simple flat or two-tiered pantry turntable is a great way to gain quick-n-easy access to frequently used items like spices and baking supplies. Just turn it until you locate what you need. Again, these types of time-saving organization devices eliminate the need to have to pull things out from behind one another to get to what you’re looking for.
• Homemade Labels – Labeling food bins, containers and jars really helps you (or even more important, the kids and hubby) to quickly identify what’s what. Labels can be as simple or ornate as you please – anything from writing on the lid of a jar (Kelly’s method) to creating homemade laminated tags adhered with a binder clip (Becky’s method, shown at left). Whatever works to help you easily identity what’s in the container or bin, that’s really all that’s needed.
Getting Started …
Thanks again to Becky for teaming-up with me to share some helpful pantry make-over recommendations! We hope we’ve helped ya’ll to see that there are lots of options out there for affordably reorganizing a pantry of any size or shape. (For more ideas, just pop over to Organizing Made Fun to see how Becky helped one of her readers reorganize her troubled pantry.)
Of course, the best way to get started is to simply take a look at your own pantry and determine what you’d like to change about it? Then, set a budget and shop around to find the most cost-effective ways to make the best use of your pantry space. Remember, recycling is a great way to save money. So don’t be shy about repurposing old baskets, bins and jars as you consider affordable ways to tackle your own pantry make over.
What are your favorite ways to keep your pantry well organized? We’d love to hear your recommendations and ideas … so please share in the comments below!
Becky has been married to her college sweetheart for 18 years, and is the mother of two children, a blogger and piano teacher. She has one child with autism that God has graciously transformed into an amazing, independent teenager. Becky organizes just about everything and she enjoys motivating other women to learn to organize, schedule, and run their home imperfectly, but efficiently. You can find Becky at Organizing Made Fun, as well as on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.