Saturday, August 10, 2013

{An Organized Kitchen} Top Five Tips For Organizing A Pantry

Surprise!  A little bonus post for you this Saturday morning!  I usually don't post on the weekends, but I wanted to sum up my Pantry Tour with my own abbreviated version of the famous David Letterman Top 10 List.  (If you missed any parts of the Pantry Tour, you can catch up here:  Part I, Part IIPart III)

"The category tonight is the 
Top Five Tips for an Organized Pantry!"

Number 5:  Create Zones

Grouping similar items together is a must for a functional pantry.  Zones will help keep the contents of your pantry organized, as well as make it easier for you to find a specific item.  Zones also save you time when cooking and menu planning.  Keeping the pasta grouped together lets you know exactly what you have on-hand when planning tonight's dinner.  Likewise, grouping together all the baking supplies makes baking cookies a breeze.  

Number 4:  Think Outside The Pantry

Most of us think of pantries as place for food storage and that's it.  But it is YOUR pantry and can be used however it works best for YOU.  

I needed a place to store my bakeware vertically and wanted it in close proximity to my baking supplies, so keeping it in the pantry made the most sense for me.  

The pantry door is another place to get creative when organizing your space.  I use a Command hook inside our pantry to hold my apron.  

I also love this idea of using chalkboard paint on the pantry door to keep a menu or grocery list for the week.  Hmmm...this may be my next kitchen project...

Number 3:  Bins, Bins and More Bins

I am pretty sure I have enough bins, canisters, containers and boxes in my house to open my own Container Store.  I use them everywhere I possibly can.  

Bins are great for keeping smaller pantry items grouped together.  For those of us with deep pantry shelves, bins also function like a pull-out drawer.  By pulling out the entire bin you can easily find what you are looking for, rather than navigating around boxes and cans to locate something at the back of a shelf.

Number 2:  Contain It!

I am a big believer in transferring pastas, cereals, and dry snacks into clear, stay-fresh, containers.  

For one, they look good.

For two, they keep air (and bugs!) from accessing your dried goods, keeping them fresher longer.  

And, for three, you can easily see how much you have left in each container; no more thinking you have a full box of pasta only to learn that there are really just a few spirals left.   

And the Number One Tip for Organizing a Pantry is...LABELS!

I can't say it enough: labels are the key to getting organized and staying organized!  Labels help everyone in the family know where to put items away.  It's no use spending time cleaning out the pantry if you can't remember where you decided to put things.  

In my own pantry, I use several different labeling methods.  A strip of washi tape on the front of each shelf, covered with a clear label from my label-maker, identifies each of my pantry zones.

A sheet of vinyl bought at my local craft store and a chalkboard marker make the perfect labels for our snack containers.  When we change the contents of the container, we simply wipe the label clean with a wet rag and re-label it. 

Amazon also sells a selection of vinyl chalkboard labels that would be great to use in a pantry.  Here are a few of my favorites:

There are also lots of free label downloads available on the World Wide Web.  I use these labels from Better Homes and Gardens in several different places in my pantry.

A quick search on Pinterest for "free pantry labels" will bring up a variety of other options to choose from:


kitchen labels

Chalkboard Vintage Pantry Labels

So, there you  have it:  everything you need to know about organizing your pantry all summed up in one easy post.  Now if only I had Paul Schaffer and the CBS Orchestra to play me out to commercial I'd be all set.

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