DIY Tuesday: Pantry Organization!

I’m about to share something with you that is S-C-A-R-Y. Like, I should have shared it for Halloween, but it’s too late. Are you ready???

This was my kitchen pantry last night. I know, it’s bad, I warned you. I especially love how the flash from my crappy camera phone makes it look even more terrifying. We were constantly shuffling around for things, bags of chips were falling out, we could hardly put groceries away when we did our 2 week shopping trips. I am an organizer, ashamed.

It’s not that I hadn’t tried. It’s just that with only two very shallow cabinets to store everything in, it took a dose of organizing magic. The hardest part about a small space is maintaining the organization – that will be my, and my husband’s, biggest challenge.

Now for the big reveal! Drumroll, please…

Cabinet 1

beforeandafter4b

Cabinet 2

beforeandafter3b

It’s amazing what a little clean out can do! In twenty minutes, I had it looking a billion times more inviting, more spacious, and much easier to access.

Here’s how I did it (and you can too!):

  1. As always, pull everything out! You’ve got to start with a clean slate.
  2. Purge – throw out what has expired, what you will never use, and what needs to be stored elsewhere.
  3. Sort – put like with like: baking supplies together, cereal together, snacks together, etc.
  4. Think about the best storage solution for each category, based on what you already have. I was seriously lacking in the container department, because I preach about not buying organizational tools until you know what you need. Once I thought about it, I realized I needed bins to hold the snacks, granola bars, dry goods, and microwave popcorn because these were the items that were either always falling out or whose boxes were too bulky. Unbox what you can – make sure you recycle! ūüėČ
  5. Find storage equipment you already have or make or purchase what you need, buying being the last resort. I had heard other organizers rave about these simple multipurpose bins from the Container Store, and now I see why! They can be used like drawers, file holders, fridge bins, and you can clearly see their contents. I also purchased Tellfresh containers, because they were the cheapest, air-tight boxes sold at the Container Store. You can see how I used them below.
  6. Label bins and shelves so you know where to put things when you come home from the grocery store, rather than trying to fit items in like a game of Tetris. I used my label maker, but you can use your printer and packing tape to make it prettier. Use something that will come up easily in case you need to switch around bins in the future. The best organizing methods are somewhere between temporary and permanent, and the most organized people are always thinking about new and better ways to improve on their current system.
  7. Make it pretty! This is a step I realize I am lacking. I plan to DIY some more cabinet shelf liners in the future, like I made for our dish cupboard here. We are mere renters, so anything that is temporary and pretty is a winner in my book.

Here’s a shelf-by-shelf look inside:

On the top shelf of the first cabinet, I put popcorn, granola bars, desserts, and drink mixes. I used a 1.2 quart Tellfresh container for granola bars, and a 27 oz. one for microwave popcorn, and I used a tupperware container I already had for powdered drink mixes.

The middle shelf holds canned goods, broth, and nut butters. I made this the most narrow shelf because I needed vital space for the bottom shelf – gotta love adjustable shelving! I hate wasted space.

The bottom shelf stores the tallest items – dry goods, coconut water (it’s so tall!), snacks, and cereal.¬†I used a large Container Store multipurpose bin for all of our dry goods – rice, couscous, quinoa,¬†oatmeal, and pasta. I had to turn it on its side because our shelves are so shallow, but I think it is well worth it.¬†I used a 5 quart Tellfresh container for our snack storage – I left the chips and pretzels in their bags and cereal in their boxes because we are always buying different brands and go through them quickly. If I had more space, I would take them out of their bags to preserve freshness, but for now, it works.

Onto the second cabinet…

On the top shelf, I re-purposed¬†a wire basket I already had to corral coffee equipment (french press, espresso, and coffee beans). Then I used¬†the lid to one of the containers I purchased as a cat food tray¬†for easy access. Finally, I left room for our tupperware that either is being used or needs to be washed. We don’t have much, but it seems to take up quite a bit of space. Someday, I would like to have all glass tupperware that is stackable, for now #WWWYH¬†(Work With What You Have) #madeupacronyms.

The middle shelf holds tea, cocoa, and Christmas mug storage (we only have two – LOL) –¬†I used a pretty mini loaf pan I’ve never used to hold tea bags and cocoa is stored in a Trader Joe’s tin. On the right is our cheese grater, flour, and sugar. I used¬†a 3.2 quart Tellfresh container for flour, a 1.9 quart one for sugar. You can add scoops if you wish, I usually just use my measuring cup.

The bottom shelf houses our nesting mixing bowls, and bake ware I rarely use holds baking supplies (chocolate chips, extracts, sprinkles, baking powder and soda, pastry bags, cookie cutters, active yeast).

And that’s it! We are already immensely benefitting from this DIY. The simple joy of opening your cabinets and not having an avalanche of food fall out. The wonder of knowing exactly what you have and where it is. This could even be a money-saving DIY, because less food will expire or go stale due to our ignorance of its existence.

Did you like this post? What time-tested kitchen organization ideas would you like to share? Post pics of your pantry organization with the hashtag #GetOrganizedWithEllen and #DIYTuesday! XO!

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