SHOP OUR PANTRY ORGANIZATION
2019 will be the year of organization! Rather than set up a bunch of goals, I’m giving myself two words to focus on: fitness and organization.
S and I are pretty organized to begin with and without it I lose my mind, but I more-so want to really optimize the organization is all areas of our home! I think when organizing anything from a pantry to your linen closet, being “over organized” can make it unlivable and not realistic and no organization at all can make daily life a stress. There is a healthy mix between the two!
What better area to start for organization than with our pantry?!
We purchased our home a couple months ago and you can read about our house buying journey here and see our home tour here. When we first looked at our home, I jumped for joy when I saw a pantry and I’ve been thankful every day since that we have one because many other homes in the area we saw didn’t have one.
Our pantry is very quaint, but with strategically organizing it – we often find that it is more than enough space for two people and our family in the future.
You’ll see that it has five levels and is just over two feet in width. I knew that utilizing the door was a must.
Our builder put in standard wired shelving, but we plan to replace them with wooden shelves ourselves sometime this year. My dad gifted us this amazing tablesaw and this chop saw on this stand for Christmas so we are READY!
If you are looking to bring some organization into your small kitchen pantry, today’s post is for you!
HOW TO ORGANIZE A SMALL PANTRY
Before we jump into organization, the first step is to EMPTY and PURGE!
Remove everything from your pantry. Organize food into a trash, donate, consolidation and keep piles.
- Trash anything expired or that’s been open for too long.
- Create a donate pile with nonperishables that you haven’t touched and don’t foresee yourself cooking up. You can bring them to your local food pantry or save them for when your church does a collection around the holidays!
- For the consolidation pile, I like to group any foods that are open and not yet finished. Vet through them and you’ll see many may be stale or almost empty and end up in the trash pile anyway.
We did this first step when moving from our apartment to our new home, so I don’t have any before or afters.
Now that everything is out, you want to focus on your organizational system for your pantry. Whether it’s new shelving or using organizational tools like risers or baskets, the right system will help you stay organized in the long run.
When we closed on our home in August, I went to the Container Store the same month. Our pantry was my first project! Before pumping out a blog post, I wanted to test and tweak and wait to share until it was efficient and really worked. Well three months later and many tweaks – our small pantry is optimized!
On a piece of paper, sketch out the structural outline of your pantry. Don’t over think this. Just light heartedly sketch out the shelves you have and any other important characteristics to keep in mind. For example, I made sure to sketch in my door because I knew with the size of our pantry, I needed to utilize it.
Next, list out your categories of food and products that will live in your pantry. Don’t overthink this either. You don’t need to list every type of canned goods you’ll have. Just keep it high level for now!
For example, here’s the categories of products I listed out for us:
- Health food
- Baking supplies
- Granola bars
- Canned goods
- Cat treats
- Paper towels
- Seltzer waters
Now that you have your pantry sketch and the categories of things that must live inside it – assign each category to a shelf. You’ll want to keep three things in mind:
- Frequency of use: It makes more sense to have high frequency items smack dab on the two prime shelves when you open the door. This way, they are easy to grab and you can easily see your inventory daily.
- Shelf height: if you have shelves that are taller than others, think through that when assigning your products to them!
- Volume of items: I knew my baking supplies would have a dedicated shelf because I bake from scratch and have a bunch of supplies. If you don’t bake from scratch and just have a few bakery box mixes, know that you may not need a whole shelf dedicated to it. Think through what else could live on that shelf that makes sense and provides ease of use.
Right off, I knew I’d optimize our pantry door for additional storage so we went to the Container Store. S and I bought our Elfa door system in store and three months later are still very pleased with it!
You’re able to customize which storage bins you want, their location and how many you have. We purchased a mix of the shallow and deep bins.
I was ready to try it out and return this honestly because I didn’t want something that would damage the door, be clunky or wobble a lot. It doesn’t do any! The installation is super easy and makes it so that the whole door system stays put.
There are lots of options you can choose from when building it from the type of door installation to the material for the bins. We chose wired bins, over the door and a mix of two different bin sizes.
I really enjoy this pantry door system and cannot suggest it enough for extra storage in a small pantry!
On our top shelf, I use two. One for our back stock snacks like RX Bars, coffee beans and zip lock baggies. Then the second is for our health foods like Vital Proteins collagen peptides, green superfood and extra Tone It Up protein powder.
For our snack shelf, I used this ‘jumbo pantry bin’ again for our bagged snacks. I at first tried a weaved basket thinking it’d mask the cluttery feeling of half eaten snack bags, but of course that make no sense since we couldn’t see anything in them. We don’t have too many processed snacks in our home so these are primarily Krave Jerky, Boom Chicka and pretzels for S’ lunches.
To store our protein bars, this lazy susan is so key! I highly suggest it. I also store my Justin’s almond butter and peanut butter packets there.
And then for almonds, trail mix, dried banana chips .. basically snacks we eat more frequently, we use the glass containers from this brand! We got this set as a wedding fit and love them because they seal really well.
For our cans, I knew I needed to try our a tiered shelf because seeing what you have for inventory when they are all the same height is annoying. We bought this one and really like it because the shelf haas a grip which keeps the cans in place and it’s expands to the exact width of your pantry. I think for a small pantry, this is key because it allows you to quickly see what you have on your can shelf which digging and knocking things over.
For my baking shelf, I used a mix of glass jars. The worst thing for a pantry is to have flour and sugar in the original bag and not sealed.. I have a horror story from our apartment that I won’t get into, but I learned to always always always lock up your baking supplies in containers and now I’m so scared, I do it for most our snacks too.
For four, sugar and oats – I used these one gallon glass jars. For everything else, I used these. They are affordable and sizes that really worked for us!
I keep my health foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds and cacao nibs in these OXO containers we got as wedding gifts. These are a great option for baking too if you broke out a set and then purchased individually for each size you needed more of.
For our bottom shelf, we have a stock of paper towels and of course.. La Croix! I stored the La Croix in this weaved basket which is a really nice quality.
One thing I’ve heard my dad say and seen him do all my life – stock up our pantry!
He doesn’t buy two tomato soups while at the store, he buys 12 lol. He’s always said that you should always have non perishable basics stocked up on because it makes throwing together meals during the week much easier and it’s just realistic with living in New England. Anytime a blizzard hits, store shelves become scarce, but if ya got your pantry stocked you only need to throw elbows for bread and milk, right?!
Filling up your pantry strategically each week via your grocery trips is just as important for organization as it is the system itself! Before heading to the grocery store, I make sure to include beyond what we are eating this week and grab back stock items we need for our pantry. This allows us to be able to eat out less since we have the foundations for quick meals.
Overall, I feel like I learned a lot in the process of organizing our pantry and I hop it in turn, helps you organize yours! My next organizational adventure will surely be my CLOFFICE!!
Leave me your tips for organizing a small pantry below! Xo Mindy
SHOP OUR PANTRY ORGANIZATION