Pantry Organization – Conquering Small Spaces & Money Saving Tips
March 9, 2019
Pantries can be so much fun to organize, but also a little tricky depending on the space you have to work with. Today I’ll show you how I organized my small, but functional pantry. Plus a mini DIY project too!
We have reached the finale of our Kitchen Organization Series – Part 6: Pantry Organization. I wanted to save the best for last.
I think when it comes to organization, the pantry can be a challenging space. They come in so many different sizes and shapes a lot like kitchen cabinets.
I don’t know about you but I like a challenge…well in terms of organization. I like it because once I’ve organized the space and my vision has come to life I feel accomplished.
Then, I get on this determination horse and start wanting to go crazy in other areas of my house. But that’s a whole other story.
The point is pantry organization is possible, I believe, in any kitchen.
So these are the shelves before.
My pantry wasn’t that bad, things just kind of got away from me in terms of food storage.
When I looked at it, I felt it could use a little rearranging.
And brightening up.
There isn’t a window directly in our kitchen which makes our pantry a bit dark.
So, let me take you on my journey of organizing the pantry. And share some tips with you along the way, as well as my mini DIY project!
An Empty Pantry
The is the whole setup before. See, not too bad it just needed a little help.
Since I knew I wanted to tackle the pantry organization, I did hold off on buying and refilling things. This way it would be easier for me to move stuff around, so that’s why it looks a little empty. It definitely was!
Therefore, the first thing I did was empty out the whole pantry.
I wanted to start from scratch to give myself a good visual and blank canvas to work with.
Once I did that, I wiped down each shelf and swept the floor.
Aside from that, I came up with the idea to paint the wire baskets white. I thought it would help to brighten up the space a little bit more. Plus I’ve been into white baskets these days.
Another reason I wanted to paint them is because I thought it’d be a good way of saving some money. These baskets aren’t always cheap, so it’s nice to get them when there’s a sale. But these are in good shape and I didn’t see the point in getting rid of them just because I wanted a different color.
I do like to do some canvas painting every now and then so I had some paint on hand. I get my paints from Hobby Lobby or Target.
This is the white paint that I used for the baskets. This one is from Target and I like these paints because they are non-toxic. They’re about $2 and you can find them here.
It did take me a few hours to paint all 3 baskets so if you decide to repaint any of your organizing baskets, I would recommend planning for a couple hours if you can.
It was kind of nice, I took an afternoon to paint. I hadn’t been able to pull out my art stuff in a while so I was happy I decided to brighten up the pantry by changing up my baskets. I’m also really happy with how they came out.
It was one of those ideas, you know where it could work out or it could go wrong and look totally bad. Luckily, this idea worked out. Some risks are worth taking, even in the pantry! Haha.
I let the baskets dry and they were good to go.
I re-worked things multiple times in the pantry.
But that’s usually my process, I’ll move things around, switch sides, moves baskets, change shelves. I suppose that’s how my vision all comes together. It takes some time, but it works out because I’m always happy with the end result.
Poor Eric, I must drive him crazy. I’ll ask him a few times to come check it out and to get his opinion. I usually change it a few times after that too. That’s probably why he just leaves me alone and lets me do my thing. Thankfully he puts up with my organizing madness hehe.
So, once I was certain where I wanted things to go I started putting it all back together.
At this point, you can also draw a picture if that’s helpful for you. I’ve done this in a few spaces like our closets. This helped me to get more of a visual and what type of baskets I would need for the space.
An Organized Pantry
I started at the top shelf and worked my way down. The top shelf I kept the same. It’s the hardest for me to reach and I liked what we store up there.
One basket holds our table linens.
And the other holds our lunch pails. I purchased this cute eco-friendly one a while back.
The only thing I did do was rearrange the baskets, so I moved the smaller one to the shelf below.
I wanted to group similar items together, just how I do in my refrigerator. Therefore, the second shelf from the top is now the “breakfast shelf.”
On the left are some sweeteners and things I use to make granola. We like to add granola in our oatmeal or yogurt sometimes.
In the middle, in my newly painted basket is tea and coffee.
We get our organic tea and coffee from Whole Foods. Stevia is what we usually use to sweeten our drinks, it’s our way of trying to cut back on sugar. And the coffee in the blue bag we received as a Christmas gift, it’s really good too!
On the right side is our oats, granola, and toppings for breakfast.
The third shelf is the “cans and bulk food shelf.”
In the mason jars is where I store quinoa.
And beans and rice. I put them in order by what we use most often.
Vinegars, oils and veggie stock are also stored on this shelf.
I use the organic vinegar to wash my fruits and veggies. The apple cider vinegar I use in some recipes.
The fourth shelf is now “snacks and pasta.”
On the left side we keep some trail mix and pretzel mix that I get from Sprout’s. These are perfect for on-the-go snacks.
And since I rearranged some baskets, I needed a few extras. So I pulled some wicker baskets that I had in our linen closet. They weren’t working in that space anyway so it was perfect I was able to move them to the pantry.
When you’re organizing or rearranging see if there are any baskets that you already have that can be used in another space. This can help save money too.
I’ve had these wicker baskets for a while but I usually find them for a decent price at HomeGoods, sometimes they have them at Ross too.
So in the middle, in my newly used wicker basket is where we keep bagged snacks like chips.
On the right is the pasta.
We like to use many different types of noodles, plus we cook a few Asian dishes. So for us it was better to designate a spot for a variety of pastas that we keep on hand.
Along with the top shelf, this one stayed the same. I like how things were stored here too. I simply switched out the baskets.
One the left is a basket for over flow items. Sometimes when I refill the mason jars there’s some leftover. So I put them in this basket until I can refill the jar again.
This is also a great way to store bulk spices. I keep my nutritional yeast in this basket and refill the smaller spice jar in my spice drawer when I need to.
In the middle is some water.
And because I wanted a fresh new look for the pantry I got rid of the orange potato bin on the right and replaced it with another wicker basket.
On the pantry floor is where I keep our Trader Joe’s bag for recycle throughout the week, along with our water supply.
This is one section I’m not particularly proud of. This definitely brings down my points in trying to use less plastic.
I have a few reasons why we buy water in jugs. I can write a separate post about this later but, the short version is that I saw an allergist when I was having severe health issues. She did some testing and told me I was allergic to the water I was drinking.
Trust me it’s a thing.
After trying a few types of water, the Target distilled and drinking water have been the best for me.
We would like to get a water filter, but a really good one that we like has to be installed under the sink. That’s something we can’t really do living in an apartment. I would also like to try a Berkey water filter, which I heard are pretty good too but they’re a little pricey. So, until we can come up with another solution it’s the water jugs for now.
I don’t buy any water bottles, just the jugs this way it’s at least a little less plastic that we’re using. I’m working on it though.
On the side of the pantry is where I store my cute little apron.
I have a few things on the pantry door as well.
At the top is a dry erase calendar. We use this for important dates that we need to remember such as appointments or birthdays. I bought this and the dry erase markers at Walmart a few years ago.
I like the dry erase markers because they have the eraser caps and a magnet on them that allows them to easily stick. You can find some similar markers here.
Underneath the calendar is where we write our grocery list and meals for the week.
This is actually a picture frame that I repurposed. It’s 8×10 and I simply put a white piece of paper in the background. It works perfect as a dry erase board.
I also added magnetic strips along the edges to hold some dry erase markers.
The blue list are groceries that we need, while the green list are other items we need for the house.
I started writing our weekly meals down because I would go to the store on Fridays and come the next week I would sometimes forget why I bought certain ingredients and what I wanted to make. I would be like, uh what did I buy this for again?
This helps to keep me from having to remember so much stuff. It’s much easier to just write it all down.
Bottom shelf. Wow what a difference a little paint, few extra baskets, and moving items around can make!
So that’s the pantry all organized and complete! I’m so happy with how it looks and feel like it’s a little brighter and functional for our needs.
As you can see our pantry isn’t too big, but when things are in place we can actually fit a lot in there.
I almost forgot to mention that to label things in my pantry and kitchen I use this white pen that I bought on Amazon. I got the idea from this post and the labels I bought from Hobby Lobby.
This pen is awesome! It really comes in handy and helps to save on labels. When I want to switch out a jar of food, I just wipe off the writing with a wet rag and can start over. No waste or extra money spent.
Ahhh we’ve reached the end. We made it through every inch of the kitchen and I feel so accomplished!
I hope you enjoyed this series and organizing as much as I did. And hopefully got some helpful tips out of it.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Do you use baskets to organize in your pantry?
Thank you for coming on this journey with me, happy organizing!
If you’d like to catch up on any posts in the Kitchen Organization Series you can find Parts 1-6 here!
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