One thing I did not think about when we decided to purchase this house over 8 years ago was the size of the pantry. At the time we only had 3 small children and no plans to add any more. The small pantry was not a concern, heck we were coming from a house without any pantry at all so we felt lucky to have one in our new home. Fast forward 8 years and this pantry is the source of many frustrations for me- especially on grocery day. There is just not enough room to fit everything I need for a family of our size. I had to come up with some creative organizational solutions in order to not have random boxes of food cluttering up my counters.
When I began the process of tackling the pantry redo I started from scratch. I took every single thing out of the pantry, painted it the same pretty aqua as my kitchen walls, and lined the shelves with pretty liner. I figure if it’s pretty then I will be more motivated to keep it pretty and neat. Mind games, y’all- it’s all about the mind games. As I looked at the piles of food that came out of my pantry I realized there was no way to fit it all in the pantry and still maintain some order. So I began looking for other options, which ended up being the 2 cabinets in between my fridge and pantry. They were pretty empty anyway after I completed the huge clean out of every cabinet and drawer in the kitchen. I was able to use the top cabinet to store can goods, bread & tortillas, pastas & sauces, boxed foods, extra condiments, etc. I used the bottom cabinet to store extra unopened items like cereal, chips, snacks, etc. Sorting and making sections for like items is what saves me so much time when I’m making my grocery list each week. It takes me just a minute to see what needs to be refilled and what I’m totally out of by grocery day.
Inside the pantry I gathered baskets and bins from around the house to help create sections on each shelf. I bought 3 large plastic containers from Wal*Mart for $4.97 each to hold our cereals. I stored them on the top shelf along with a bin that holds all the cupcake/cake supplies.
On the second shelf I used a small white basket to hold the packets of oatmeal & grits, extra breakfast bars, fiber bars, poptarts….pretty much the breakfast items. Next to the basket are 6 clear smaller containers for snacks. I didn’t label them because the snacks I buy rotate depending on what is on sale or what I have coupons for that week. Typically these containers hold graham crackers, animal crackers, wheat thins, veggie straws, chex mix, and cookies. When I come home from the grocery store each week I refill the empty containers immediately and store the unopened snacks in the bottom cabinet I told you about above.
On the third shelf I found these great small metal pails from the Target $1 section. I bought four and they hold breakfast bars, granola bars, fruit leather, and trail mix packs. Next to the pails I have another small white basket that holds popcorn and fruit snacks. We go through a lot of fruit snacks in our house. Next to the basket I have 4 small plastic containers from IKEA that hold dried fruit, snap peas, soy crackers, and sweet potato crisps. These are mainly my snacks but the kids enjoy the snap peas sometimes.
On the fourth shelf I have a small basket that holds things like salad toppings, packets of soup and packaged side dishes. Next to that I have 4 large plastic containers for snacks I buy in large quantities- goldfish, cheese crackers, pringles, and pretzels. I buy large packages of these and fill up the containers as they empty.
On the last shelf I have a small bin that holds things like taco seasonings, chili seasoning packets, ranch dressing mix packets, etc. I also keep a basket that holds Matt’s tuna packs for lunch and a few boxed dinner items such as biscuit mix or cornbread mix.
It’s so nice to have an organized pantry where I can find what I need immediately without searching for it. The pictures above were taken right after a large grocery trip! That’s how my pantry looks all the time now. For me, the key was being purposeful in what I buy at the store. Don’t buy random things, stick to my list and to what we eat on a regular basis. I plan meals by the month and only buy the ingredients I need.
You can see all the posts in my 31 Day Series HERE. New posts are added daily.