I’m so super excited for today’s Real Organized post! I have wanted to organize my kitchen pantry since we moved into this house 9 years ago. I finally got to turn my dream into a reality and I’ve got some tips, ideas and plenty of pictures that I hope will help you with ideas for your pantry as well.
So, in July of 2007, I paid $10 for Closetmaid to draw up plans with their design software for my pantry and linen closet. I don’t know why we didn’t do the projects then. Maybe it was because we had already painted every surface in our house, changed every light fixture, electrical outlet, light switch, done new appliances, new counters, and new sinks through most of the house AND I had a baby in October of 2006. Yeah, that is probably why. 🙂
As life goes, we got going with other things. Then the economy hit and my husband was unemployed for 9 months. Following that he took a job with a 20k+ pay cut. Things got really tight financially, yeah that would be an understatement. We are just now almost out of debt and close to what he used to make. Those would be more reasons why we waited.
Needless to say, when I decided to do this Real Organized series and focus on things that make our daily lives more smooth as moms, I knew that I wanted to include the pantry because whether you are the primary cook or not, having an organized kitchen pantry totally makes a difference in meals running smoothly as well as in knowing what you need when you plan meals and plan grocery shopping.
It also put a deadline on my desired project. I work SO much better with deadlines, so thank you all for continuing to show up and read my blog. It gets my butt moving and I get things done. I love that! 🙂 So, let’s get to the point now and talk about organizing your kitchen pantry.
Of course, I have to show you the before of my pantry. I honestly didn’t think it was that bad and it seemed fairly organized to me at the time. I had added some wire shelving to the shelves to make more space for the smaller items. I also had added some collapsable shelves to the floor. As you can see the shelving ended a bit above the floor. I didn’t want to store food on the floor but needed more space.
If you are going for a full makeover, like I did, you will want to take everything out of your pantry. In my case, the shelves were going and I needed to put on a fresh coat of paint. I went with a white in a semi-gloss. That way it will clean up easily.
I’ve told you about the Closetmaid closet systems (affiliate link) in other posts (like my daughter’s recent closet makeover). I love them. I love that as my needs change I can easily change things with the track system. It is fairly easy to install.
To install the track system, you first install the Hang Track. If possible, you want to go into studs. That wasn’t possible for us this time, but they have mounting hardware that is designed to be used if you are going into studs as well as if no studs are available. When installing the hang track, check and double check that it is level. That is the most important part.
After installing the hang track, you will install the standards or the part the shelf brackets will clip into. Once again it isn’t that hard. We had to use the mounting hardware for when you don’t have studs available. It was a bit harder than when you can just go right into a stud. I had a hard time getting the molly bolts through the holes I had pre-drilled, but eventually, I got everything in correctly and I was good to go to get things organized.
Ahhhh!!!! Don’t you just love it! I literally hear angels sing when I open my pantry now…literally!! 😀 I just need to get an electrician to come add a light and then the effect will be complete…lol! I wish an electrician was in the budget, but not right now.
I also may have turned into someone obsessed with making sure people put things away where they go. I’m not letting anyone mess this up, yet. I LOVE it!
It took me a few days to get everything organized in my kitchen pantry. It isn’t that it took that much time. It was just that when I’m working on a project like this, I kind of need to start and try things. Then I need to wait and see if I like it or it works before I move on and add more. The shelves did get rearranged some, but I think they are how I like them now. If they aren’t it is no big deal to change them around some more.
I want to show you what I did, so hopefully it can spark some ideas on how to gain extra space as well as organize your pantry.
My first genius idea, if I do say so myself, was with regard to shelving width. Our pantry measures slightly deeper than 16″. I selected the close mesh Closetmaid shelving (which is meant for pantries) that is 16″ deep for almost all of the shelving, but as you can see above I used some 12″ deep shelving as well.
I wanted to tweak out as much space as I could from my pantry and it goes the full ceiling height, so to make use of that space, I switched to 12″ wide shelving at the top heights and was able to add two shelves up there. By switching to 12″, it allows me the room to reach the shelves (the 16″ would hit the wall and not allow room to actually put anything on the shelf at the top, but rather block that space off). The top shelf that you can see is just extra stuff that we used to have to keep in our laundry room cabinets. I have to use a stool to reach it, but I will totally take that for the space it frees up and the fact that now everything is together and I know if we have an extra box of cereal, etc.
You may also notice that I put down a shelf liner on all of the shelves, except that top one with the extras. I did that so I could easily see through the shelving to see what extras I have. This is the shelf liner I used (affiliate link).
You can more clearly see the difference in the shelf width here. It works really well for this 12″ shelf to hold our bags of chips and such. My youngest daughter can’t reach it, but everyone else can, so it works.
The shelf below is the only shelf I’m not super happy with and thinking of changing up somehow, but currently, it has our pasta, bread mixes and croutons on one side. The other side is our candy/ dessert area. We tend to end up with Girl Scout cookies and the kids seem to always have candy from somewhere.
A tip for corraling these types of things is to have containers to hold the loose items. If you look at the right of the picture above, you can see a little blue container. It holds open bags of M&M’s, Kisses, and Gummy Worms, but they stay neat because I have them in that container. I also have containers (that are not pictured), one for each of my daughters, to hold their candy. They can keep whatever fits in their container and no more.
Another tip – keep like items together in your pantry.
The next shelf in my pantry is my breakfast shelf
It has all our cereals and granolas. We used to have a cereal problem…meaning that we would end up with 6 boxes of cereal. Our pantry isn’t big enough to sustain that. It is a small pantry. Now, with the containers I bought, we can have 3 cereals at a time. That is it. We can get a different kind when one of these is gone. Since the labels are editable and come off and on simply, I can change the label as we change cereal.
These are the containers I used here: cereal, larger granola, smaller granola (affiliate links). The prices of these vary a ton on Amazon. I’m not sure they are the best deal, but at least you can see what they look like.
Also on my breakfast shelf, I have this fantastic tea caddy. I got it at The Container Store. I love it! I love that it saves me space as well as makes it really easy to see what tea I have and what I need.
Oh, and by the way, I got all of my containers at The Container Store. I did spend about $150+ on them all, which to me is a splurge, but a splurge well worth it. Almost all of the containers I used (except the tea caddy and blue ones) are Sistema and I’m quite happy with them.
Tip – think through what gets used the most in your pantry, place those items on the easiest to reach shelves(especially for those who need to reach). If you have younger kids and want them to be independent, put snack items a bit lower so they can help themselves.
Trying to keep things together, the middle shelf is our snack shelf with some chocolate on the side. The chocolate belongs with the baking things, but even though it is now in containers, our dog ate a bag of chocolate chips when we used to keep them lower with the baking items. One $400 trip to the emergency vet is enough for me to NEVER have chocolate within reach of our dog again.
Ahh! Do you hear those angels singing again? I do! I love that all of our dried fruits and nuts are out of those plastic bags. They are super easy to find and use as well as know when we need more now. Plus, the labels are just so cute! AND I have them that you can buy them as well! Yay!
I decided that the next shelf would be for our canned goods as well as rice and beans. Oh and you can see the holy grail of my pantry…the baking shelf. That is coming up…wait for it. 🙂
As you can see this is just canned goods with my rice in lovely new containers. To the right, you can see another little blue container. I love that I could find a blue container(I got these at Target) that matched my labels! That container holds Cous Cous and an open bag of beans. I didn’t want to have containers for those, but I wanted to keep them neat and that was my solution.
The containers for the rice are actually considered to be part of the Sistema baking line and they are labeled as being for icing (affiliate link). They work perfectly for the rice, powdered sugar, and my cornmeal.
I know you hear them, too….the angels singing! Look at my baking shelf! Could it be any more awesome? If you go back and look at the before picture, most of these items were on those collapsible shelves on the floor. I tend to have at least 3 kinds of flour on hand as well as 3 kinds of sugar, etc. It gets messy. This is not. 🙂
It honestly makes it so much easier when I go to cook. With things in containers and the space more light and bright, I can easily see what I have as well as what I need.
Oh My Cuteness! I seem to have a thing for cupcake liners. I put the cuteness into a bin to keep them neat and tidy and let me see the cuteness.
This is the same container (affiliate link) I used for the granola as well as bread crumbs and chocolate chips.
I know you guys are getting a taste of my weirdness today, but I just love the containers as well as the adorable labels. I may possible just go by the pantry and open the door, take a look, and say “Ahhhh” (which must be said as though you hear angels singing).
I feel like a total dork to admit it, but I’ve always dreamed of having a pantry like this. Though I usually dreamed it was a walk in pantry…but whatever.
My sugar and brown sugar are contained in the Sistema Bakery Sugar container (affiliate link).
Why hello flours! Nice to meet you. 🙂 They are just sitting there inspiring me to make something.
I know this will be shocking, but the flours are in the Sistema flour container (affiliate link).
The bottom shelf has all of the bottles that are needed for cooking as well as oats, cornmeal, and bread crumbs. Probably more of a cooking shelf where the shelf above is a baking shelf.
Tip – See how our bottle of syrup is in a little plastic bin (one that is meant for storing food)? That keeps the syrup from getting on the shelf. I don’t remember where I saw that idea, but I thought it was a genius idea and have been doing that for quite a while now. Works great!
I use cornmeal each week when I make homemade pizza. I love that the Sistema containers came with measuring cups in them. It makes it so easy to scoop out a small bit of cornmeal for the pizza peel. Though I will say, don’t use them to measure for accuracy. I compared and their one cup measurement was not actually one cup.
The labels make it so easy to know what is in each container. They are also adorable and add a little bit of joy to my day when I see them…yep, I told you that you are seeing my dorky side today. I also have them for sale so you can use them and add a little joy to your day! There are three sizes of labels. They should work for most any size container. Yay!
Now my kitchen has a lot more organization. This whole area looks amazing now! Between organizing my recipes as well as the pantry and just doing a quick tidy of the counter, I have a fresh looking space (if you ignore the ugly cabinets).
While I realize that organizing your kitchen pantry is NOT a 30-minute project like I have tried to keep most of these Real Organized project to, it is one that will make a difference on a weekly if not daily basis in your life. It will make planning meals easier because you will know what you have that you can use up. It will also make planning your grocery list easier because you can easily see what you have and what you need. It makes meal prep easier because you can find what you need and get in and out of the kitchen more efficiently. It will also add some happiness and angels singing to your day…well if you are dorky like me. 😉
To inspire you to hear those angels sing when you open your pantry, I’ve got two different label sets for you. They are fully editable so you can print labels for anything and anywhere in your house…not just your pantry. You can also pick the color of your font as well as the size and the actual font. That allows you to match your style. Then the angels will be singing in your style. 😀
Hey, I’d love to see before and after (or just after if that is all you have) pics of your organized kitchen pantry. You can add them to my facebook page or you can share them on Instagram and tag me (@realcoake) as well as use the hashtag #RealOrganized. As long as your account is a public account, I will see them. I’m super excited to see your organized pantries!
What additional tips do you have to organize a kitchen pantry? Leave a comment below. I love organizing tips and can’t wait to hear more!
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