A few years back a reader of my blog asked for tips on organizing her kitchen pantry. I am finally ready to share, as I have some great tips thanks to my friend Holly! I saw the basket method she used at her home and I immediately feel in love with her pantry organization system. I implemented the same system in our kitchen pantry this past spring. I now have all the baskets labeled so I can share my photos with you all. I am thrilled with this system. I wanted to try it out for several months before sharing to ensure the system worked for our family. I don’t want to share info that isn’t practical or is hard to maintain. We found that this system of organization is easy to maintain and it is so practical!! Nothing too fancy or difficult. It makes finding food items super easy now. I am also loving the way it cleaned up the look of cluttered shelves. All our food items now have a home!
I picked up these blue plastic weave-look baskets at Hobby Lobby. They were a seasonal item for Spring and I ended up going to three stores for more baskets, as they aren’t sold online. Now you can easily find them at both Target and Walmart. They are large rectangles bins/baskets that are very thick plastic. I wanted quality and thick plastic to ensure they could endure the wear and tear they will get with daily use and heavy items being contained within them.
I have been very happy with this system! I put like items in the bins and labeled them on the outside. For example, one bin is for peanut butter, honey, and unopened containers of Jelly. Another bin is for oils (olive oils, vegetable oils, and coconut oil). You can zoom in on my photos to see all the names. I am sure you probably stock your pantry different than mine, so your containers would be filled with different items.
I leave canned goods on one open shelf space. They would make the bins too heavy to manage. I wouldn’t want one of the kids to pull it out and drop the bin on their foot. Therefore, canned goods did not get a bin.
I use every square inch of my pantry space. On the very upper shelves I store boxes of mugs, wine glasses, and martini glasses (I use those to make fancy desserts). I have 24 of each of these items for parties. Keeping them stored in the pantry makes good use of those upper shelves that I need a step stool to reach.
The far back wall of my pantry contains our bins. These are filled with anything from party silverware, to kabob sticks, to labeling stickers.
This stack of bins gets daily use, so I have a step stool permanently located in front of these shelves. You can read more about this method of organization I coined “The Bin Method” by checking out these previous postings:
Another organizational habit I wanted to share was our “Hair Bin” in the pantry. That sounds like an odd name, but it is hair brushes, sprays, ponytail holders, toothbrushes, and toothpaste all in a shower caddy bin. This bin from Walmart was a Dollar. It has been very helpful for making getting kids ready in the morning much easier. I lay out my kids clothes on the desk on the kitchen every evening before school the next day. When the kids wake up they know to come downstairs, grab their pile of clothes, and they go to the guest bathroom to dress themselves. Once they are dressed and have their shoes and socks on I will ask one of them to fetch “The Hair Bin” from the pantry. Everything we need to get their teeth clean and hair done is found in this little bin. We don’t store it next to any food products. That would be weird. But it’s on shelves on the opposite wall of the food.
We can’t forget about valuable floor space. Pantry space is valuable, so I use every shelf including the floor space. On the far back wall of our pantry floor space I have 3 large open-top bins. One is for tape (shipping tape and duct tape). Another one is for used Amazon envelopes. I save them and reuse them. They are worth money! Why spend money on a supply I get sent to me from Amazon every time I order something from them. The third bin contains gift bags and tissue paper. They are stored stacked on their sides so that I can easily breeze through them when I need to grab a bag for a gift. I stock up on gift bags from the Dollar Tree. I never have to make a store run just for gift wrapping or gift bags. I always have them on hand to make my life a little easier.
Another handy storage container is the tall gift wrap bin. It is next to the step stool in the corner of the pantry. Rolls of gift wrap store nicely in here and are out of the way, yet easy to grab when needed.
On the left floor space of the pantry I have more bins, a milk crate that stores extra bags (cooler bags for shopping, cloth shopping bags, beach bags, etc). I fold paper shopping bags and squeeze them between the wall and the milk crate. I use the paper bags when I sell items on Facebook buy, sell, trade pages.
The other bins on the floor are larger and contain lightbulbs, wine gift bags, gift boxes, extra frames, and rolls of ribbon.
On the far back wall of the pantry I keep a tool kit. I use my tools on a regular basis and I get annoyed having to get a screwdriver from the garage just to open a toy to replace a battery. Having my own small tool bag filled with the essentials: hammer, nails, screwdrivers of various sizes, tape measure, and a level makes my life easier. Next to the tool bag on that back wall is our snack bin. If my kids are hungry between meals and they ask for a snack, my response is to get something from the snack bin. Usually it is filled with Belvita breakfast bars and a variety of granola bars. There is another container in the pantry with fruit packs (these are the squeeze pouches filled with fruits and veggies). Those are the other snack that they can easily grab.
Your pantry should be organized so it helps your life run more smoothly. Having tools handy, a specific area for healthy snacks that kids can eat anytime, and food within labeled bins makes my life easier. I like walking into my pantry and being able to find things with ease. Labels help a great deal with that. Below is a link to the sticky labels I like to use. For the open weave baskets they did not like to fully stick- I kept finding them on the floor. My solution was to punch holes in the top corners and use small zip ties fastened onto the bin weave.
I like these labels though and use them on solid bins without any issues of them sticking. I purchase the kind that can hold small index cards. That way I can write the bin contents on a standard index card and insert it into the pouch of the label. Here is the link for these labels on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0739JRZ5L?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title
Whatever you do for your pantry, whether it is a big pantry or a small one can help you lead a less stressed life. When you can find your daily use items easily, your life becomes less complicated and more fluid. We use so many products in one day it is nice to have a system in place that makes it easy to find them. Especially when you are dealing with multiple people in the household. When shelves and bins are labeled, people know where to return items. Thus making it easier for you to find them when you want them. If you have ever yelled at your spouse “where are the batteries!”, you need to read my previous postings about the Bin Method. A home that is organized helps you live life more fluidly, with less chaos and strife from always having to search for whatever it is you are looking for in your home. An organized pantry can provide you with that calming feeling every time you look at the organized, neat, and orderly space and know that everything is where it needs to be, so you can find it in the future. It has a naturally calming effect on our souls. Organization in the home is more than just putting things in places. It is about creating an atmosphere that soothes your being because it is all where needs to be and you know where to find it without having to think twice about it.