Over the last month or so, I’ve finally finished organising my pantry and when I asked on Instagram Stories if you wanted me to share the results when it was completed, it was a resounding 95% who said yes…
I admit I go a little weak-kneed when I see a beautifully organised anything. Whether it’s a beautifully laid out sock drawer or a wall of craft supplies, if it looks super neat and tidy and aesthetically pleasing, I’m all over it. It seems many of you are the same!
Did y’all watch The Home Edit on Netflix? Aside from all the screeching (honestly, I had to turn the volume down, it was all so high-pitched I’m sure my dog understood what was going on), I was most impressed by the kitchen organisation ones. The timing for me was good too.
I was actually already in the process of organising everything going back into my office and decided as well to turn my attention to my little makeup/vanity space when I decided I really needed to finish organising the pantry too. Then The Home Edit came on and that just made me so much more motivated to get it all done.
So I’m finally finished with it and to me, it’s a thing of beauty! LOL! I literally keep walking over to it and opening the door and just gazing at how pretty it looks. I know, this is how I get my kicks these days – welcome to 2020.
Before I get into exactly how I’ve organised it and what I’ve used, I feel that I need to start with a few disclaimers, just in case.
First, I describe my pantry as ‘tiny’ but it’s all relative, really isn’t it? So while I look at the huge walk-in pantries which are the size of my kitchen like they show in The Home Edit with enough food to feed a small country, in comparison, this is basically one single full-height cupboard and I don’t even use every shelf for food storage so it’s a lot smaller than those larger ones. (The full height unit to the left of this is our fridge/freezer!)
On the other hand, you might just have a single cupboard where all your food is stored and so mine looks enormous in comparison and you’re probably sat there thinking, “Why is she saying that’s tiny? I wish mine was that big!” So yeah, let’s get that out of the way now. I recognise mine is bigger than a cupboard, smaller than a walk-in and it’s all relative!
The second disclaimer is that there are only 2 adults living in our house. We have slightly different breakfasts and lunches but we eat the same thing for dinner. There are no children’s foods to worry about, no one with special dietary needs (although I do like to avoid gluten, Wayne will happily eat gluten-free pasta etc) and most importantly, we shop for what we need on a weekly basis to reduce waste. So you won’t see a huge supply of food in this cupboard and as a result, we don’t actually need that much storage.
The third disclaimer is that my ‘before’ photo isn’t really a true before in that it didn’t actually look that bad. I’ve actually been trying to get my pantry organised since we had the kitchen put in just over a year ago (you can see the reveal post here if you missed it). Before it was totally finished, I purchased a lot of the glass jars as well as the spice jars knowing I was getting a pantry to store it all. So really, this organising was all done over quite a long period of time, just bits and pieces purchased as and when. It’s only the last month or so that I decided to push to really finish the whole thing.
Despite all these disclaimers, I do think that the general principles of what I’ve done can be scaled up or down depending on your requirements. You certainly don’t need a huge space – in fact, if you have a small one, it’s probably even more important to be as organised as you can. If you have a much bigger space (lucky you!) then it’s just a matter of having a few more categories for food and thinking about how best to get use of the entire space.
This post may contain some affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission from the brand for the referral. I am not paid or asked to use these links. You’ll never pay more for clicking on these links.
How I’ve Organised My Pantry
The first thing I did was remove absolutely everything from the cupboard. Again, we tend to shop weekly so there wasn’t really much in the way of expired food but there were a few spices that had been hanging around for far too long and I think there was a couple of baking items that had gone past their use-by date. So make sure you edit out anything that’s definitely gone off! Make a note of whatever is running low or that needs to be purchased.
I then started grouping items together – tea, pasta, rice, cereals, spices, dinner stuff, canned goods etc to see how much space each of those categories required. I also looked to see if there were any more items that needed decanting into jars. I think I ended up purchasing 2 or 3 more of the glass jars with bamboo lids and I also ended up purchasing a few clear boxes and containers in different sizes to corral similar items together.
I ordered all my labels at the same time so wrote a huge list of every label I currently needed or what we bought regularly/occasionally that would require a label. Grouping them into 2 lists – small labels and large labels – meant I could have them all done at once so it was more cost-effective than just ordering a few at a time. As an aside, you can probably do this yourself but I wanted labels that were wipeable which these are and a bit more durable if they ever get messy whilst cooking! I know everyone is going to ask where the labels are from – I got them from Etsy!
I also decided where each of the categories would be best placed. So the items we used the most (dinner and cooking items) are on the bottom shelf for easy access, on the middle shelf are the dry goods I use most days and on the top shelf are the items we don’t really dip into as often like baking products or extra tea bags (I have tea caddies on the worktops so I refill them from this shelf).
I even organised my spices so I can quickly find what I need based on the kinds of meals we make most often! So the top row is Moroccan spices, the second is Italian, the third is Indian, the fourth is spice blends and the last row is just miscellaneous. It means I can quickly find all the spices that go into a chicken curry or a Moroccan lamb dish because they are all together.
I haven’t changed the bottom drawers since we started using the kitchen but just in case you were curious, in the drawers, we have bread products, then snacks/crisps and in the bottom drawer, I store my clean tea towels.
Again, I did this all slowly. So I got a few of the jars, then I got some of the plastic clear containers, a few more jars, reassessed to see what else I might need and just did it slowly so I was only purchasing exactly what I needed.
The Organisation Products I Used
Here’s a list of the products that I used in my pantry – you’ll note some of the links will lead to multiple options in terms of sizes etc so the best way to decide what you might need is to check your cupboards and see what you have and how many of each of the products and what sizes you’ll need as everyone’s pantry will be different!
1 – Spice Jars with Cork Lids / 2 – Pantry Labels (I ordered both sizes) / 3 – 500ml Storage Jars with Bamboo Lids / 4 – Set of 4 Storage Jars with Bamboo Lids / 5 – 1.8 Litre Storage Jar with Bamboo Lid / 6 – Stainless Steel Shaker (for spices/salt) / 7 – Medium & Deep Clear Storage Container / 8 – Small Square Clear Storage Container / 9 – Clear Pouch Storage Container
I’m genuinely in love with how my pantry finally came out. I feel like I’m going shopping in a tiny posh Farmer’s Market every time I open that door (which of course, is multiple times a day)! Ha!
I will say right now, even buying all the supplies for this small cupboard wasn’t cheap. You’d need to set aside quite a good chunk of change if you have a really large pantry but I do think just buying a few pieces over a period of time is going to make the whole thing more affordable. So perhaps this month you buy the spice jars, the following, a set of 4 of the larger jars, maybe in another month buy a couple of the clear bins, etc. It will definitely feel less painful that way!
As I said, it’s taken me over a year now to get to this point but I can finally say it’s finished – well, relatively speaking! I expect over time, our needs may change or we may have a different variety of food or extra bits here and there that don’t necessarily fit neatly into this cupboard and honestly, that’s fine and I can always reassess or change up any labels as required as and when. For now, I’m really enjoying having such an organised space and I hope you’ve enjoyed having a peek into my pantry today too!
How about you? Is your pantry/food cupboard/larder (whatever you call it!) nice and tidy and organised and if so, what products are you using to keep the clutter at bay? If not, is this something you would try? Or do you fear it would only get messed up by everyone else in your household? And yes, I give Wayne the stink eye every time he puts a jar in the wrong spot! ;)