When we moved into our forever home in August, I finally had a dream kitchen with space for everything. But that can be a double-edge sword. Space to store and stockpile, if not well-organized, can lead to lots of waste. We had also reconfigured our kitchen to eliminate a walk-in pantry in favor of a mudroom off our garage and a cabinet pantry. I needed a solution to make efficient use of pantry space without food getting shoved to the back and disappearing forever. Find my solution to aesthetically organize your pantry, maximizing space, keeping it useful and looking great!
Organizing Our New Home
My goal for our new home was to start organized and keep it that way! I also planned to purge A LOT before we moved. But by the time the moving truck pulled up, I was 36 weeks pregnant and with a then 3 and barely 2 year old under foot, we were lucky just to have everything in a box and on the truck!
A few months later, we have all but 4 office boxes unpacked, and I’m making good on my organization promise. Over the next few weeks, in addition to my cabinet pantry organization, I will share how we organized the girls’ playroom, Baby M’s new nursery, our attic, the ever-necessary junk drawer and even our daily and weekly routine. Find all our family organization posts here.
Organize Your Pantry
When we reconfigured our home’s floor plan to take out the walk-in pantry in favor of a cabinet pantry, we actually created more food storage space. The key was optimizing it. While you can opt for super expensive cabinet built-ins, including drawers and turn-tables, it’s hard to know exactly how you plan to use a space before you are actually living in it. So we opted to install just the standard shelves, and figure out the organization later. Four months in, I am loving the solution I created!
Basic Supplies to Organize Your Pantry
I used a few simple supplies to organize my cabinet pantry: bins and baskets, glass jars for bulk dry goods, and mini chalk boards, chalkboard tape and chalk markers for labeling. I love chalk markers because you can wipe them off with a wet towel and re-label your storage any time you need to… plus the chalkboards look super cute! Click on any of the images below to order your own.
Large Storage Tote
Dry Goods and Cans
In our old house, we were severely lacking in kitchen cabinet storage and had no pantry. My dry goods were stored in the paper bags I bought them in, wrapped in plastic grocery bags or ziplocs, and kept on the very top shelf of a corner cabinet. Not pretty, not easily accessible and messy.
New home solution? These beautiful glass jars, in gallon and half-gallon sizes. I use a gallon sized one for flour, and half-gallon sized ones for sugar and brown sugar. They are affordable, while also keeping your cabinet clean and free of opened, leaking flour and sugar bags. They are also much cleaner when I’m actually baking – no spilling from bags. I just scoop what I need from the jar with measuring cups. Please disregard my overflowing Baking Supplies basket – we just finished our holiday baking marathon!
I also love this can organizer and dispenser. It makes it very easy to rotate cans, adding your new purchases to the back, and using the oldest cans first. And it is super easy to assess inventory with a quick glance. The dispenser itself was easy to set up, and works great.
My bulk goods (10 lb bags of potatoes, onions) were dumped and combined in a plastic bin in a back hall closet we had turned into a makeshift pantry, and often left to rot… and turns out you shouldn’t store potatoes and onions together!
In my new cabinet pantry I’ve solved this by using two large, storage totes. I love these faux wicker totes – they are made of plastic, making them super durable and easy to clean, with the aesthetic look of wicker. They come in lots of different colors, and often, some colors sell for less than others – so if you don’t care or the baskets will be behind closed doors, you can get a bargain.
I keep the potatoes in one and the onions in another on separate shelves.
And in the adjacent space, I store paper and plastic grocery bags next to the onions and my bought in bulk paper plates and plastic cups next to the potatoes.
We do A LOT of baking. Especially cookies! And with that comes a lot of baking supplies – from chocolate morsels and nuts, to sprinkles, cookie cutters, icing bags and more. I store all the edible supplies (morsels, nuts, dried fruits, etc.) in a shelf tote, adjacent to my glass jars.
In my old back closet converted to a pantry, I had no built-in storage. I used these plastic drawers stacked on top of each other to create storage. I have repurposed them in my new cabinet pantry for all my baking supplies: one each for cookie cutters, decorating supplies and icing supplies.
Family Food Staples: Cereal, Pasta & Snacks
The rest of the pantry has shelves dedicated to each of our family food staples (which I’m sure aren’t dissimilar from yours): cereal, snacks and rice & pasta. I use a labeled shelf tote on each shelf to store smaller loose boxes, bars and bags, with larger boxes standing on their own.
I love the shelf totes because they easily slide out of the cabinet so you can see and access everything you have. No food gets shoved to the back only to reappear a decade later, expired and destined for the garbage.
So while these technically don’t store food, I do use them in te upper reaches of my cabinet pantry. And I do use platters they store for serving food. At our old house, all my platters were shoved in a corner of a long cabinet, totally inaccessible and a complete pain to ever retrieve, all stacked on top of each other.
This might be my favorite organizational tool in the kitchen – I use this simple rack in multiple places in the kitchen. Here, to organize serving platters.
And in my pots and pan drawer to hold all the pot lids. I also use them in a third cabinet to hold all my cupcake and baking sheets.
It is far from Martha Stewart perfection, but it is functional, organized and four months into our new home, is working great! What are your favorite kitchen pantry organizing and storage tips?
If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for next week’s reveal of the girls’ playroom and our toy and book storage solutions! Follow the series on our Family Organization landing page. You can also find this post, as well as my favorite organizing tips and tricks from around the web on my Organize Me! board on Pinterest.