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How to Organize Your Pantry: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

This post takes you inside my pantry. I hope to help you tackle pantry problem areas including spices, round containers, and anything small and give you some ideas on how to organize your pantry.

The Pantry is One of the Most Used Rooms in Your House

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my pantry may be one of the most used rooms in the house. It’s definitely more used than our guest bedrooms or our air hockey room (yes, we are living the bachelor lifestyle and have an air hockey table in the room that was clearly designed to be a dining room).

It May Be Time to Organize Your Pantry Again

When my husband and I moved into our house 2 years ago, my mom and her boyfriend (now fiancé) came out to St. Louis to help us unpack and get settled. The boyfriend was billed by my mom as a master pantry organizer so we let him go to town figuring out how to store all of our food stuffs. He did a fabulous job and his storage system lasted us two years. Clearly, he was a keeper! However, with more and more obscure items being added to the pantry every week, it had become as any other well used room becomes.. a mess. I decided it was time to take some major action.

My husband and I have said the same thing about our living room that features a couch with a big rip in it, but as I learned, it is easier to shell out hundreds of dollars a few Tupperware pieces at a time than to make a decision to invest one lump sum in a new couch.

How to Organize Spices

The first problem we faced was our spices. We have over 70 spices. They were previously stored on a lazy susan. I do not like lazy susans. They do not allow you to be lazy. Seeing everything all at once and being able to just reach for the item you want is lazy, while having to spin something around and try to figure out what has gotten lost in the middle is hard work.

organized pantryOur new system is so easy. Everything is right there in plain sight. We also now have an extra spices section (the big bottles on the right) to use to refill some of the small bottles as we use them up. I’ve been told that spices go bad and you really should just dump anything that is old (namely all of our really large extra spice containers) but I have yet to experience any major problem with old spices and isn’t that just a little bit ageist?

How to Organize Round Containers in Your Pantry

square containersProblem area two was anything round. I love round things! Duh, cupcakes are round. However, for organization round does not work well. You want things to be able to line up neatly next to each other. Round wastes space. To resolve this problem, I bought (correction: my husband bought over many trips to Target) about 60 pieces of matching Sterilite brand stackable square and rectangular containers. Also, as you may have noticed, I labelled each one so we know what’s in it. Can you say anal retentive?

Creating a Baking Section in Your Pantry

pantry baking sectionSmall things were some of my biggest problems in my old system. Sprinkles and toothpicks were forever getting lost as were assorted baking chocolate bars. Since I use these items most often, I now have a handy baking section that features all of my little baking items that I use regularly.

I’ve yet to put my remodeled pantry through a solid series of usability tests so I can’t say for sure how it will work. However, I have high hopes.

After reading this post you may think I am a neat and orderly person or you may just think, “wow, this person has a lot of time on her hands.” One of those statements is true, the other is not. I will leave you to figure that out.

Blog About Your Organized Pantry and Let Me Know About It

In the mean time, if anyone else wants to share pictures of their pantries or cupboards or wherever their food is stored, I think that would be fun to see. I know it’s not quite fair because I just cleaned mine, but who says I play fair?

UPDATE: I recently discovered the blog The Perfect Pantry. Each week it features Other People’s Pantries. Check it out for peaks inside all kinds of pantries. This pantry will be featured on May 10th!

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